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To Circumcise or Not to Circumcise?

Circumcising a baby boy used to be a no-brainer -- there was no decision for parents to make because virtually everybody did it. But over the past couple of decades, as studies showed that circumcision may not be the best thing after all, it became an extremely difficult decision for the parents of newborn boys.

Check out the OpposingViews debate on circumcision

Lee Rose Emery, a Los Angeles mother who writes the award winning blog LACityMom, was one of millions of parents who had to make the decision for her son. In a column for, she writes:

The most vexing parenting decision my husband and I have faced thus far was whether to circumcise our son. mind flashed to my liberal arts college's Women's Studies classes' literature about female circumcision being used in some countries for the precise reason of decreasing sexual pleasure. We would never in a million years consider circumcising a girl, so why should we do so to our son? We chose not to.

She thought they did the right thing, until recently when she was bathing her son, who is now five years old:

I was thrown into a bubbly contemplative haze as he looked down at himself and shouted, "I hate my foreskin!" This was certainly not a sentence I ever imagined coming out of his mouth, but there it was. (And yes, he knows the actual word.)

He slid the skin on top of his penis to make himself appear circumcised. Had we made the wrong decision?

In rethinking her decision, Emery spoke with some of her friends who had to make the same decision. Some regretted circumcising their boys, others were happy with their decision.

Confronting our circumcision decision over and over has been humbling. My one conclusion: In parenting, and in life, there is never a clear answer. Most big decisions are based in faith, be it religious faith or faith in ourselves.

If we have either of those as parents, then no matter which way the trend swings, or what the studies prove over time, we can, at the very least, live with the knowledge that we did what we thought was the best for our children.


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