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I Buried My Son's Foreskin

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Momlogic's Jenny: For some, the idea that we buried our son's foreskin may seem tribal, archaic, and downright barbaric. But for us, it was a simple and beautiful ritual that I will cherish always.

baby and family

When my husband and I found out that we were going to have a son, it was without question that we would have him circumcised. As Jews, the tradition of Bris Mila, the ritual of circumcision, is considered the most important covenant in Judaism. The Bris Mila, which is only performed on boys and takes place on the eighth day after he is born, has been carried out faithfully from generation to generation. In Judaism, circumcising your son is seen as a promise to God that we as Jews will continue to exist and create future generations. On top of that, my husband is circumcised and wanted his son to "be like him." For me, it also comes down to aesthetics: I personally think uncircumcised penises are ugly. Should that be one other thing I have to worry about my (one day) teenage son getting taunted in the locker room for?

Before our son was born, we did an extensive amount of research on the ritual- from who we would want to conduct it to where to why to how... We talked to doctors, Mohels (observant Jews who are specially trained in the procedure- and in this day and age, are usually doctors or surgeons themselves), friends- anyone who had an opinion on how this might medically affect our son. We wanted the ceremony to be as "by the book" and traditional as it could be, but we also wanted to make sure it was as humane and painless as possible. Would he cry? Yes, but not mostly because they're exposed. (If you're a parent, then you know this is true. Infants hate having their diaper changed). Would he remember this experience? My husband is pretty sure he has no recollection of his. Would he still have the same sensitivity and enjoy sex as much as non-circumcised males? I think you can guess my husband's answer to this one.

Despite our strong belief in circumcision, many people, including family members, had strong opinions and were outraged by our decision to go ahead with the procedure. At a family gathering, when I was still pregnant, one cousin even told me what we were going to do was "barbaric" and "wrong." She told me that she had just read that "they" are now saying there is no medical evidence of circumcision reducing the risk of STDs or other hygenic issues and that she "urrrrrrrrges me to reconsider."

Of course we didn't reconsider -- we just didn't invite her to the bris. I won't lie: The day of my son's bris was a very tough and emotional one. But I don't think it was entirely due to the fact that my son was getting "his penis hacked off" as some non-believers think. I think the fact that I had nearly 75 people in my living room on a hot September day, 8 days after delivering a 7.5lb baby vaginally and having milk exploding from my boobs, and hormones raging like Niagara Falls is what made it hard. The act itself was beautiful, spiritual, and memorable in a way that I wish for all families considering this tradition.

Even more memorable was the moment that my husband, baby and I shared alone after the guests left and the bagels and lox were cleaned up.  We went out to the backyard and underneath our new plum tree, wrapped in gauze, buried our son's foreskin.  In Judaism, anything that comes from the earth, goes back to the earth. It's also customary to bury it near a young tree- as our son grows, so too shall the tree. We stood as a family and reflected on our day, reflected on my pregnancy, and marveled at our new son, never once casting a doubt that we had committed a horrible disservice to our child that we are so often criticized for.

Fourteen months later, I have more plums than I know what to do with....

next: Meet the Peetes: A Night to Benefit Autism
54 comments so far | Post a comment now
Robert November 22, 2008, 6:09 PM

The foreskin you and your husband buried contains at least two-thirds of your son’s erogenous nerves, the foreskin’s mucous membranes were meant to protect the glans, and the skin itself makes the mechanics of sex ecstatic for husband and wife. I’m sorry for your son’s loss. Robert

Andy November 23, 2008, 2:27 AM

This story made me nauseous. How anyone can publicly admit to doing something so horrible to their own baby is beyond me.

Hendrik November 23, 2008, 7:49 AM

Shame about the wasted plums. If you have more boys and harvest their foreskins, why don’t you use them for a few facials? Hope you only have girls though.

FredR November 23, 2008, 4:31 PM

The sacrifice of circumcision started as punishment to prove you worship a masculine creator, The Heavenly Father.

Your mother must be Jewish in order for you to be pure Jewish. This is because three or four generations after the ritual begins, the Y chromosome dies out ensuring the feminine X chromosome dominance and the ability to breed outside the genetic pool to ensure genetic diversity.

It started with the oldest religion, Cabala, a femininst creator based theology.It is now know that the masculine and feminine prepuce functions to enhance sexual desire. When the frenular delta nerves are severed at the masculine glans or the feminine glans clitoris, sexual dysfunctions will develope.
This is a sign from Mother Nature to teach us that the Y chromosome was originally created by the X chromosome.

Anonymous November 24, 2008, 4:54 PM

Let reason shine and let supersition die! No more sacrifices to the desert god! Circumcision will die someday.

Barb November 24, 2008, 4:56 PM

We circumsized our son. That said, the day it was done, and while it was healing, I screamed (in my head) over and over again, “What did we do to our perfect son?! Why would anyone do this to a baby?!”

I had left the decision more in my husband’s hands because I don’t know what it’s like to take care of a penis. My personal, womanly preference is a circumsized penis, but that didn’t seem like enough reason to mutilate our son. In the end, my husband felt like, since he was circumsized, it’s what he knew, and he felt more comfortable going that route. I couldn’t argue that reasoning.

But really, when you think about the outrage over female mutilation in some places around the world… how much different is this? Sure, it’s done by a doctor, but still… ouch!

Ellis November 24, 2008, 8:41 PM

Wow people! If you pulled down the pants of the average American male, it’s circumcised. Yet. this writer shares a story about what is done millions of times a year to Americans across the country, and she’s mutilating her kid? Funny how the “you did the kid wrong” type comments came from men… All I imagine very prideful of their foreskin. Congrats gentlemen, now make sure to wash under there.

FredR November 24, 2008, 9:42 PM

There are millions of unhappily circumcised men in America, Ellis, with your eyes wide closed. I am one of them.

flav November 25, 2008, 4:54 PM

Millions of unhappily circumcised men in America? There’s a nice made up statistic.

tommy124 November 26, 2008, 8:03 AM

Maybe it is a made up statistic. But, then again, when you do a search for “foreskin restoration”, why do 12 pages come up?
A little defensive, are we?
Guess why the you did your kid wrong comments come from intact men? Who else would know what the missing 2/3 of penile nerves feel like?
Ellis, do you think we are not washing down there, as you so tauntingly put it?
Surprise, Ellis. Women wash down there as well. Are they unclean? Do circumcised men not need to wash? I hear their women complaining about hygiene more than the women of uncircumcised men. It’s a matter of both self respect, and desire to be attractive to the opposite sex. Do you really think surgery is required to be clean? Think again. Then think some more, if you’re able.
It is not cool to insult people, just because they hold a different view than you, or have a different experience than you.

FredR November 27, 2008, 10:02 AM

NEWS FLASH: In Mumbai, the circumcising Islamic Extreamists are terrorizing the circumcising American Christians. Both nuclear powers, Pakistan’s and India’s tensions mount. More symptoms of forced infant sexual terrorism to follow.

Mike December 3, 2008, 7:30 PM

You all should really educate yourselves about the importance of the foreskin. The ignorance abounding on these posts are simply amazing considering it’s the 21st century.

Patrick December 11, 2008, 12:37 AM

Kate, Sara:
I couldn’t agree more! I’m going to circumcise my daughter, since it looks better. Uncircumcised ones are gross!

Tony December 11, 2008, 12:39 AM

Breastfeeding is a poor comparison to cutting off a part of the genitals.

Marc December 16, 2008, 9:22 AM

wow, genital mutilation is still acceptable in this day and age? Humans are not born defective, stop violating the rights of boys and stop mutilating their genitals.

Marc December 16, 2008, 9:28 AM

I cried reading these comments. I’ve been doing foreskin restoration for 1.5 years and I know the damage circumcision causes. My body is no longer in a state of constant pain/arousal due to chaffing of the exposed glans. The foreskin protects the glans and keeps it safe. The movement during sex is out of this world. You people are idiots for thinking genital mutilation is a good thing.

Anonymous January 28, 2009, 2:22 AM

I like how it was a decision *YOU* made, for *YOUR* child. Surely, HIS opinion meant nothing in the matter. It surely didn’t matter who’s body it was. Your religious beliefs and personal standard of beauty should be held high above ethics and his right to be the way he was born.

John February 26, 2009, 4:27 PM

This is child abuse. Plain and simple.

I don’t care what your religion says. As I remember the Torah says to do many other things that are not currently legal in the US, this should be no different.

What if your son doesn’t want to be Jewish? I really wish my parents would have left me the choice.

WTF October 1, 2009, 12:01 AM

go laura go!

Ian October 1, 2009, 12:06 AM

he was born that way for a reason. ask him how he feels about getting a part of his body chopped off when he’s old enough to talk because his parents felt the need to fulfill a misguided and outdated religious tradition without asking him how he felt about it. you should be ashamed of yourself. when are you going to have your clitoral hood hacked off? or would that be barbaric?

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