By Sabrina Cortes – Mom
My husband and I are in our second marriage. When we learned that we were expecting, we had mixed emotions because we are also an older couple which comes with additional concerns. At the time, I was 41 years old, and my husband is 12 years my senior. Although we knew pregnancy was a possibility, it was unexpected.
I can remember the day we found out we were having a boy. It was during one of my many routine ultrasounds early in the pregnancy. When my husband heard the words, “it’s a boy,” he squeezed my hand so hard I thought it was going to fall off. (smile) We’d both had girls from our previous marriages, and he had always wanted a boy. I was happy as long as the little one I was carrying was growing healthy.
As my pregnancy progressed, the subject of circumcision came up. My husband, who converted to liberal Judaism quite some time ago is not circumcised. However, we knew that we wanted to honor G-d and follow his commandment of circumcision when it came time for our son to be born.
Since my husband was not circumcised, I wanted to do my own research on the topic to see what others had to say about it, Jewish people, and Gentiles alike. What is the procedure all about anyway and how is it performed?
The main lesson I learned as with any procedure, is that there are some risks, but the benefits far outweigh the risks. For example, many of the health benefits my son will have from being circumcised are that he is less likely to have urinary tract infections and less likely to get a sexually transmitted disease such as herpes. Our son is also 60% less likely to get the human papillomavirus (HPV) later in life. The HPV leads to HIV. The American Academy of Pediatrics confirmed these benefits of circumcision in their report back in 2012. Doctor Neil Pollock explains it like this, “The inner lining of the foreskin acts as a portal of entry for pathogens, so when you remove the foreskin, you remove that significant doorway for those organisms to enter the body.” Along with our religious convictions, this additional information helped my husband, and I know that circumcision was still the right choice.
We asked our local Mohel to perform the sacred ceremony. A Mohel is a Rabbi who is specially trained in the circumcision procedure. He brings with him specialized knowledge of the sacred Brit Milah ceremony, not only the procedure itself but also the knowledge of the Jewish traditions that he is passing on to the newest member of the family.
Unfortunately, after 21 hours of labor, I had to have an emergency C-section. Even though I delivered my son in the hospital, it was still very important to me and my husband to have the ceremony conducted in the privacy of our home with my close family and friends surrounding my new family and me.
Our faith teaches us that when we carry out the commandment of circumcision, we are obeying G-d and we are cutting away the of the sinful nature that is in humanity. Circumcision, called Brit Milah in Hebrew, is a gesture which reflects a basic, yet very deep connection with G-d and the Jewish people. It signifies the importance of the child revealing the covenant he automatically has with G-d from the moment of his birth because circumcision reveals the head of the penis. Circumcision not only affirms the natural birth of the child, but it also confirms his birth as a follower of the Jewish faith. It also confirms the parents’ faithfulness in their own lives as Jewish people.
Today, my little boy is an active, happy, and healthy 3-year-old. He is an absolute joy and blessing. I wouldn’t change a thing about having him circumcised. It was the right decision for my family and me.out