Are You There, Moms? It’s Me, Idiot is an ongoing series dedicated to helping one very well-intentioned and dumb future-parent learn about the world of childrearing. Click here to see past columns.
In this week’s edition of Are You There Moms? It’s Me, Idiot, I want to talk about penises. Well, less about penises on the whole, but about circumcision. What did you do when faced with your kids’ penises? That made more sense in my head.
I understand that many people circumcise according to religious doctrine. While I have a cultural affiliation with Judaism, I don’t plan to raise my children with any religion, so I have no faith-based reason to have my sons circumcised. Others simply have accepted circumcision as the norm when it fact it isn’t, and opt for the procedure post delivery in the hospital. Try as I may to ignore this reality of my very limited worldview, I definitely have adopted the notion that circumcision is the normal way of going about things, and I spent much of my teen years terrified that I’d undo someone’s pants to find an uncircumcised penis that I wouldn’t know how to handle (not like I was particularly adept with the circumcised ones). Suffice it to say that I am not a penis expert. Never have been.
In college, I somehow found myself watching a Dutch documentary called “Mom, Why Did You Circumcise Me?” about a dude who was really upset that he was circumcised and was open to trying these contraptions that stretched his penis around until he had foreskin again, or something. He presented it as a violation and mutilation–all of which makes sense when presented in that light. The comparison to female circumcision seems like a stretch–but I can certainly understand why a man might find it odd that his parents decided to remove some of his genitals as a baby. On the other side, research that suggests that circumcision lowers the rate of HIV transfer makes me think that it’s a no brainer medical issue. But like I said, I’m not a penis expert.
Now, I’m a childless 20-something with no immediate plans to procreate, walking around with the crippling fear that I’ll make the wrong decision, circumcision-wise. At this point, I’m hoping that I’ll either become more decisive, focus my attention on the myriad other ways I could fail as a parent, or just end up with a slew of daughters.
Where do you all stand on this? Do you have strong feelings one way or the other? Anyone have a circumcised partner and uncircumcised kids, or the other way around?
Photo: Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret