I am not the norm when it comes to dads in my area. Being an atheistic, vegan who practices attachment parenting and baby wearing, who makes his own laundry detergent, among other household cleaners, uses cloth diapers and has a scent-free home does not fit in with the average Chattanoogan guy who loves football and beer and couldn’t give a crap about all that other stuff. I am so crunchy, you can practically smell the granola from here, can’t you?
But I wasn’t any of these things until my wife was pregnant with our first child. It all started with my wife deciding to have a natural home birth. Once you start down that road, you will end up eating tofu grinders at Sluggo’s eventually, just like we did. We began to question the way we look at most things, including our diet, the products we use in our home, how we want to relate to our kids, to spank or not to spank, etc. At first we thought our first child was a boy. (Turns out she was a wonderful and maddening little girl, who I can’t imagine life without.) So of course my wife began educating me about circumcision.
To me, circumcision had always been an elective surgery. I had never believed any of the false claims that it magically cures or prevents things like cervical cancer, HIV or masturbation. It was just a matter of how you want your junk to look. Turtleneck or crew. My dad was the only son of three who was left intact and he disliked the teasing and feeling of otherness so much that he determined to not pass that on to me, so I was circumcised.
Well, it didn’t turn out quite like he expected. I am still unclear to this day what exactly happened. Was it a botched surgery? Was my genital aftercare subpar? Why did it heal the way it did? As a result of my circumcision, I was left with some confusing scar tissue and I was never sure why my penis looked different from that of my peers. I mean, from the looks of things, I definitely wasn’t intact. But I didn’t really look circumcised either. I was far too embarrassed to ask about it when I was a teenager, so it wasn’t until I was an adult that I finally had the wherewithal to find out. It appears that it was, for whatever reason, the way that my circumcision was allowed to heal that left me looking a little different than the rest. I found this out around the time my wife was pregnant with our first child, so I soured immediately on the idea of circumcision before much reading or research was done. Since it is elective, there is no reason to risk it.
Of course, I have many reasons to choose to leave my son intact. Pain of the procedure, risk of surgical site infection or even death, deprivation of sexual pleasure and overall function, etc. But mainly, I find that now the most important reason I am against circumcision is that I don’t feel I have the right to deprive this little person of a choice. My dad has the option of altering himself if he so chooses. I do not. It feels very wrong to me to consider altering a baby’s sexual organs and not allowing him to come to his own conclusions about his body.
I have come a long way from where I was, but to me, all these decisions I have made and am making about my life and my family just seem right, good and true. There isn’t much more to say than that.