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CATCH : Manual Shift -

Exploring the gear-change of fatherhood //Joe Beckman

To Snip or not to Snip…that is the Question

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This is a post for dads “to be” as well as the wily vets as well.

It was about 2 1/2 years ago when my wife and I were told that our 2nd child was going to be a boy.

For about 6 months we talked intensely about having this shift and all of the nuances that go along with having a boy vs. having a girl.  However, we forgot to consider one minor detail (notice I didn’t say “small”)…his wiener…or to be more specific, the casing that surrounds it.

As we approached the 3rd trimester, our daughter’s Montessori teacher handed us some pamphlets on circumcision. The pamphlets backed the idea of keeping the penis intact, or not circumcising.  Not circumcising?   Honestly, it hadn’t even crossed my mind.  I don’t have an extensive background in penis viewing, but of  all of the ones that I had seen up to this point…they looked a lot like mine.   Skin off.

However, it got me thinking about it. Why would I allow anyone to perform minor surgery on my son’s penis without me even debating the pros and cons? So I went to the place that all of us need to go to when debating such a difficult decision…Facebook. After posting the question, I had over 45 responses in less then 24 hours.  Obviously people are WAY more excited to talk about this then I expected (or I just have weird friends).

Here’s what I found:

People said they circumcise because they think…
~ It’s cleaner
~ Their son will be ridiculed for looking different
~ Dad was snipped, and they want to have a matching set as to not confuse
~ Slightly higher risk of STD’s

People who have chosen to keep the penis intact argue…
~ It’s just as clean (albeit it takes a bit more work)
~ Even if it is a different looking penis then their dad’s, it’s a simple “everyone’s penises look different” conversation.
~ The real risk of STD’s is less about lack of foreskin and more about lack of planning
~ Kids can get this procedure done later in life if they choose.
~ It’s purely cosmetic, and the pain that goes along with it is way too intense to justify it.

I’m not going to lie, we were a little torn (horrible word choice), but in the end we decided to…keep the penis intact.   We ended up doing the same for our 2nd boy (3rd child) as well.

Jonah Beckman

By no means, am I saying that this is the right choice for everyone.  It was the right choice for us, but it may not be for you.  The point of this post is really to unpack the mental shift that occurs once parenting starts to become real.   We are forced to think about things that we may never have dreamed we would be thinking about.  From picking the right name, to how you discipline, to what you feed your kids, to circumcision and sooooo much more.  Conventions and traditions that you may be “shifting” out of as you start your own personal parenting journey.    These shifts may come with ridicule or judgement or tricky conversations down the road, but at the end of the day I think you can sleep better at night knowing that you put in the time and energy to think about doing things that make sense for you…not someone else.

Thoughts?  On the snip snip…or anything else.




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We decided to go uncircumcised, simply because we couldn’t come up with any legitimate medical reason to do it. Neither of us are religious, and who wants to add to the troubles of a kid still only a few hours old? We were also a little surprised how many medical folks in the hospital and afterwords supported our decision.

By cooperkidmatt on September 28, 2013 at 2:17 am
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