Preparing for the birth process is a tough thing for anyone. I should say “preparing for the MOTHERHOOD process…”
Knowing that every decision about my son’s health and wellness will be made by Mark and me until such time as the little man will be old enough to make his own choices is a dreadfully scary thing. I’m going to be RESPONSIBLE for someone else’s LIFE.
What if I do it wrong? What if a choice I make for him when he’s young turns out to be something he hates me for when he’s older?
My parents both hate the name we’ve picked out for him. They think that calling him Dexter will mean he gets beat up in school, as it’s a “nerdy” name. Mark and I both love it, though, and as neither of us has met a Dexter in real life, we’ve nothing bad to say about it. Besides which, the kid is getting TWO middle names, as well. So if he turns out to hate his own name, we’ll have given him a few more options.
Truthfully, with regard names, I’m happy to have found something more unique. I mean, I’m sure there are plenty of Dexters out there, but it’s not highly common. Unlike my name. In my high school class alone, I think there were 5 Katies. Plus several Kathies. And since teachers are stupid and think the two names are interchangable, none of us was ever sure who was being called on to answer a question.
I remember as a child asking my parents if I could use my middle name instead, but I was met with resistance. When I got older, I changed my name legally to Vyktoriah, and they STILL refused to respect my wishes.
It’s funny because of the hundreds of characters in my life, there are SO many different names I go by. I can’t even have a gathering of all my friends without absolute fear that all hell will break loose when certain people realise that the name they know me as isn’t the same name that my parents use or my fiance uses or my ex-husband uses.
The point is that names are hard. I want to give the baby something unique but flexible. I can only hope we’re doing right by him.
All that aside, though, there’s a bigger issue on my mind at the moment. It’s been a recurring theme in my pregnancy forums online, as well as something I’m seeing more and more of in the news and online these days.
Namely, the issue of circumcision.
Mark and I are both American. We’ve both been on the same page regarding our desire to have our son circumsized. After all, it’s pretty well standard in America. And we don’t want Dex coming to us at some point to ask why daddy’s todger doesn’t have a turtleneck like his does…
But here in the UK, circumcision is far from the norm. At least among caucasions. It is not offered as standard, and to have it done, we not only have to wait 2 – 6 weeks (at least), but we have to go to a specialist and pay money.
We live in an area with a high asian population, so even though our hospital doesn’t offer it, my midwife has told us there are plenty of private places we can go when we’re ready.
But now I’m wondering if I WILL be ready…
The debate regarding circumcision, with some dubbing it “barbaric” is starting to get to me. I read an article on Today’s Parent this afternoon which mentions a case of a boy who was raised as a girl due to losing his penis in a botched circumcision. It HORRIFIED me.
Adding onto it the video that one of the members of my forum posted showing an actual circumcision (WARNING: graphic and not for the faint-hearted), and I can’t honestly bring myself to feel quite so strongly about the idea…
One of the things that made me so pro-circumcision in the first place was the experience of my younger brother, who, for medical reasons (he was an ill baby) couldn’t be circumsized. He wound up getting it done when he was 19 or 20, off his own back, as he was tired of the stigma surrounding his foreskin. He told me that it was cruel to NOT do it and that he wishes my parents had done it when he was a kid rather than having to go through it as a grown up when it meant he’ll remember the pain forever.
Similarly, my ex-father-in-law had to get circumsized when he was in his 30s or 40s for medical reasons. His description of the experience (as was relayed to me by his son, my ex) was that he suddenly had “Richard Pryor penis… Big and black.” Ouch.
The only first hand experience I’ve had with foreskin is with my ex-husband. I admit that at first, I found it incredibly difficult to deal with, as both the look and the entire sexual experience were strange and foreign to me. I had to relearn any “skills” I might have had to suit this unfamiliar appendage. Over the years, it became the norm, and I now find nothing wrong with it. On the other hand, I have British friends who have NEVER seen a circumsized penis and believe strongly that it would gross them out…
So what do you do? If I was in America and the doctors offered to do it before we left the hospital, I’d probably not think twice about it. It would be (to me) like taking care of the umbilical cord until it falls off… it would just be part of taking care of a newborn baby. He’d be the same from then on out.
But knowing that I’ll have to bring him home, get used to changing him, washing him, loving him with foreskin still in tact and then make the decision to cut off part of his anatomy (even if it is a useless part)… how can I make that decision?
What if it hurts?
What if it gets infected?
What if he grows up and wishes he still had it?
What if Mark and I don’t end up moving back to the US before he starts school, and suddenly he’s surrounded by little boys who are all the same, and he’s the one who stands out as different?
I honestly don’t know what decision to make, as I can see both sides.