In western countries, I’m told it is compulsory for people to get their male children circumcised at birth (please correct me if I’m wrong). However, that’s not the case in India, where it’s an optional thing. For practicing Muslims though, be they in India or any part of the world, circumcision is an absolute must for the male child—the earlier the better, because according to our beliefs a boy born to Muslim parents will not be a Muslim until he is circumcised.
Scientifically, of course, male circumcision has many benefits—lowering the chances of getting STDs or urinary infections and many others…but this is not a medical blog so you’ll just have to find out about the rest elsewhere.
Now, there are close to zero boys in my family. I have just one sibling, and that’s a girl. My father’s brother has two girls, and my father’s two sisters have two girls each. Only his third and youngest sister has two boys and a girl but they’ve lived in the US all their lives. So I have no experience whatsoever of how boys are brought up. Especially not how they are circumcised.
My mother’s only brother does have a boy but he was circumcised in a hospital. My boy wasn’t. If I had my way, he’d have been operated upon at a hospital, too. But you can’t always have your way, can you?
I suppose most of you are gonna freak out coz I sure did. But this is how it all happened:
The local jarrah who is a semi-doctor plus circumcision specialist comes to your house and performs the whole process without any anesthesia. I think I’d have died if I knew beforehand what it really entails. I actually thought that it’d be like his vaccination—he’d cry of course but I’d soothe him and everything would be fine. On hindsight, this would sound funny if it weren’t so … scary…
Afterwards, my aunt narrated her son’s experience and said that even if you get it done at the hospital, the pain is all the same once the anesthesia wears out. And, as she verified, the younger the baby, the faster the healing. The pain was certainly gone after the first day, but if I ever decided to have another baby, and if it happens to be a son again, I’m certainly putting my foot down about the at-home procedure…and here’s why:
I’ll never forget my tiny son’s scream from the other room… and I’ll never forget bursting into tears at that sound…. I’ll never forget that day when I cried whenever he cried… and not because I was angry or frustrated… I just wanted his pain to end.
And I’ll never forget weeping in the bathroom while taking a bath … listening to his wails outside… and making an earnest prayer to the Lord… “Please, please, dear God… just take away his pain and give it to me instead. I’ll take it. I will.”
That’s when, I think, I understood what a mother’s love is all about.