the long cut

February 23, 2010

when i was still pregnant i wrote sort of halfheartedly about whether or not we would circumcise the jude.  it can be a polarizing issue and i didn't really take much of a stand on it then, though i certainly have an opinion.  so i wanted to give it a whirl again, this time a little more honestly.  code name: mama is working on a natural parenting series on circumcision which is very insightful, though of course from a natural parenting perspective.

after all the research we did on it jon and i still came down hard on opposite sides of the fence.  i'm against it and he's for it.  it's been our first true parenting debate.  a few reasons why i'm against doing it:  it's medically unnecessary, possibly painful, removes a part of his anatomy that is helpful and natural, and it's not "the norm" anymore.  anyone ever heard of, uh, europe? because circumcision is pretty rare there and everything seems to be working just fine.  it's a leftover from a victorian era when people thought that circumcision would prevent mental defect and curb masturbation.

a few reasons why jon is for it: the recent studies published that cite it as a huge deterrent for STD's  especially AIDS and even for his future partners in preventing cervical cancer.  and he has one and doesn't feel like it's "scarred him forever" as some guys seem to feel.  though the percentages have changed of boys being circumcised vs. being intact from when we were young it just wasn't something we grew up with in our age group.  it was "the thing to do".  most people didn't even question it.

. . . . . .

i thought it would only be fair if i asked jon to weigh in here, to make sure i'm representing his position fairly, so:

Hi, it's Jon guest posting on this oh so dangerous a topic.  My reason for doing it was my own, which I feel is important to delineate because I do not believe it should be compulsory or standard.  I feel people should make informed decisions across the board and this is certainly no exception.  I felt the pros outweighed the cons.  However, that will not hold true for all people.  I do think that the option to cut should remain, but informed consent should be required.  Not simply "Do you want it or not?", as we were asked.  Rather, let's take the time, doctor to parent, to discuss the facts about it.  The numbers no longer support circumcision as an everybody-is-doing-it type of thing.  There are studies on both sides that support or go against it and it should be left up to each family's informed consent. Now, back to your regularly scheduled blogger.

. . . . . .

hi there, it's me again.  that's a big part the crux of my beef with the whole thing too.  don't do it just because it's what everyone does or because you want your kid to "look like you".  they aren't going to look like you anyway, all a little kid is going to see is hair versus no hair down there.  learn about it before you do it or don't do it.  like anything, don't make your decisions blindly.  please, oh please, edumacation!  get out there and educate yourself.

in parenting there are going to be quite a few situations where we are going to have to come together and make tough choices.  and when we make different decisions we're going to have to work it out and find a way to compromise.  so, what did we do?  we ended up having him circumcised at the hospital.  neither one of us was willing the budge on our beliefs.  but, i conceded the outcome based on the fact that jon, you know, has one of those things and i, you know, don't.  if he says he's perfectly happy with his post-cut item then hell, i'll go with it.  and honestly in the hospital it wasn't a big ordeal.  they whisked him off the to the nursery for a bath and his heel prick test, gave him some anesthesia, and our doctor did the deed.  it healed super fast and didn't seem to cause jude any additional discomfort or troubles.

a few days after we had been home i mentioned to jon that his cut looked a bit, well... long.  and jon said, oh no, it's fine, it's probably just healing or something.  but a few days after that we both noticed that yes, he definitely has the long cut.  after all that debate, we got our compromise after all.  it seems silly that we even had to pay our doctor for it since now you can't even tell.  it makes me laugh how hard we debated and fought and worried... just to end up with mr. long cut- the best of both worlds.  i can honestly say that even though i would consider myself a "natural parent" or at least definitely an "attachment parent" i'm not sorry at all about the way things turned out.  well, that's not entirely true- when i read articles about it i still think, man, i just really don't agree with routine circumcision and yes, the decision chafes a bit.  but i think things turned out just right.  hopefully there's still room for me in the natural parenting pantheon.

dare i leave comments open on his bad boy?  I DARE.  i am hipster mama, hear me ROAR! or well... type. tap-a tap a-tap tap-a.

so, would you? could you? did you? was it a big deal to you or no big thing? i want to hear about it.




Oh boy, Girl you are BRAVE....I applaud you and I think it's something we all think about and go through. Hopefully someone will read this and get some clarity on the subject whether it be through your post or someone's comment.

That said, my boy is snipped. I wrestled with it, but not for long. I DID sit down with my doctor, MONTHS before The Wiz was born and had a long conversation with her about it. She was more than accomodating and answered every single question I had. I was definitely concerned about infections and the long-term effects...but in the end I felt that I made the right choice FOR ME AND MY SON. It's not the same for everyone though, and this is a sensitive issue, literally.

I wish I could have asked for his opinion, but alas, the dang kid wouldn't say a word. After the "surgery" he seemed fine, wasn't emotionally scarred from what I could tell, and it didn't seem to bother him one bit. I just shallacked that puppy with A&D until it healed (a matter of days) and we went about our normal routine.

As parents, all we can do is hope that we are making the right choices for our children until they have the voice to do so themselves. It did give me chest pains though, for a bit.

Dionna @Code Name: Mama

You know I respect you for researching the decision. There are a lot of hot topic issues that may not seem black and white anymore. I agree with your husband that doctors should force parents to educate themselves. It shouldn't just be "hey so are you ready to send your son with us?"
I also believe that parents should see the procedure before doing it, and that they should *demand* their sons are numbed. To tear and cut the foreskin away from the penis without medication is torture, plain and simple.

Thanks for taking this subject on, it is definitely uncomfortable to write about but we owe it to our sons to get the word out there.


I let my husband decide this one as I saw both sides and could probably be convinced either way. He wanted to, and I respected that. Sometimes there is more than one way to make the right decision, and I feel this issue fit that (although, I know, not everyone does). You have to parent with your gut. Sometimes even that will be wrong, but if you doubt every choice you make out of love, you'll never get anything done.

(Also, what a great husband you have for offering his own thoughts on this.)


We chose not to circumcise our son, mainly for not wanting to have our son have what we felt was an unnecessary "surgery." I am circumcised and I don't feel scarred for life, but I do know that my mom felt awful when it happened. I was born at home, so no hospital nurse to whisk me away, I guess. I apparently screamed for a whole day after it happened. Not that I remember, I was only days old.

He's eight now, and we've had a couple of discussions about care and maintenance and that not everyone still has their foreskin. And I hope that there is some more time before there is evidentiary discussion with other boys.

But, like everything, he accepts it as fact, because that is the way it has always been. Though I will have to tell you one day about the time he found out that his daddy used to date guys....

Ky (Two Pretzels)

As the mommy of a baby girl, I think I need to go google, "the long cut". Though I'm somewhat nervous about the search results...


For me, I never really thought much about it. I'm Jewish and boys get circumcised. For me it was more of a religious issue than an "everyone else is doing it" kind of thing. If I practiced another faith, I'm not sure I would have done it. There is a reason boys are cut in the Jewish faith and I don't think that is something that should be done willy-nilly by others.

Jude is lucky to have parents who can debate the issues and compromise, it will serve you guys well as you make bigger parenting decisions in the future. And you are very brave for blogging about circumcision, I hope you don't get any nasty comments!

the grumbles

very interesting comments so far today! and so.... not angry! (i said *so far*) it's nice to have some sharing of different perspectives on this because i was, as you can tell, totally torn.

-Gid, I love you.

-Ky- please, don't google long cut!!! we made that term up and I'm terrified of what you might find if you turn off the safe search, eeee!

the grumbles

and Rachel- thanks for bringing that up, i didn't address it because we are not Jewish. religious reasoning takes the discussion in a whole other direction.


we have a boy and we didn't go for the cut. as others have mentioned, this was something that ultimately I looked to my husband for the final say, and once he decided, i was very comfortable with our choice. i'm a brit though and my husband is australian - circumcision isn't routine in either of our home countries - so perhaps that made this decision a little easier for us.


This is a great topic and I'm glad people are talking about it more. We chose not to do the cut after a lot of research, some discussion and some serious backlash from Adam's mom. I couldn't reconcile the unnecessary surgery thing and it really wasn't a difficult decision between us. However, Adam's mom went crazy and got all upset about how boys should look like their fathers(seriously?) and ultimately, even though they are not a religious Jewish family in any way, essentially tried to guilt Adam into changing his mind by insinuating he would be a traitor to his heritage (wow!, seriously, again?). Gideon's son had the best response to all of this and wondered why she was so worried about a boys privates, anyway. She got over it and we have no regrets so far.

Lacie Irish Oatmeal

We made the decision not to find out the sex of the baby, so our early discussions about circumcision were very theoretical. I didn't have an impassioned opinion, but my husband did. If it was a boy, he wanted to leave him intact. The research I did made me feel very comfortable with the decision not to circumcise. When the time came and he was born, it was nice that we already had our decision made. I also felt relieved that I never felt that anyone at the hospital questioned or tried to undermine our decision. Family? Well, that's always different, isn't it...


This is seriously one of the main things that had me TERRIFIED I was pregnant with a boy. As the mom of a girl and pregnant with another girl, I don't feel like I can give an opinion because I just plain don't know.

So what's my purpose here? I don't know. I just like to hear myself talk.

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Ky (Two Pretzels)

(grumbles, I decided against looking up, "the long cut". Just wasn't too sure what I was going to find... :) I heeded your warning.)


My husband (also Jon) had the same opinion that yours did. I had the same opinion that you do. We discussed it in detail with our first child and didn't reach any consensus. Eventually, I decided to leave the ball in my husband's court, but I let him know that (1) I was not going to participate in the circumcision, so he would have to find the doctor (we were using a midwife) and (2) we would have to pay for it.

We're Canadian, so having to pay hundreds of dollars out of pocket for a medical procedure is highly unusual, and I think that ended up sealing the deal for him. Coupled with the knowledge that a majority of people aren't circumcising and there's nothing in particular required in the way of special care, he decided against it. I am obviously glad.

Interestingly, our families were very supportive of our decision. Like all men his age my husband is cut, but I was surprised to hear from my mother-in-law that she wasn't happy about it. They didn't routinely use anesthesia in the 70s ago, and she regrets subjecting her kids to that. It really ended up being a total non-issue in the end, and I think everyone is happy with how it turned out.


God this has been on my brain since I commented yesterday....

I meant to add that I polled my guy friends and asked them how they felt about being circumcised and what-not. Every single one said they were glad it was done and they preferred it even though they didn't know what it was like without. My boy also got the long cut, if you will, just giving his guy a little breathing room. In hindsight, I wonder why I did it all since I have to pull it back to clean it anyways....

Regardless my kid is fine! Someone sent me a snarky tweet about this I guess after reading your blog and seeing my comment.



i like your comment: 'i conceded the outcome based on the fact that jon, you know, has one of those things and i, you know, don't.' couldn't have said it better. our son was circumsized. my husband said it's easier to clean.

also, though an unusual case, my son has a duplicated system in one of his kidneys. if uncircumsized he would have a much greater risk of a UTI and potential kidney infection.

should have researched our options more thoroughly, however. would have rather done the procedure where it falls off like the umbilical cord.

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