By nature, I’m a touchy person. My family, we are affectionate. It’s still a running joke in our family that my mom likes to torture Dave with mother in law hugs every chance she gets. I hug my friends. I shake hands. Touchy.
What you won’t see me doing ever is uninvitingly touching a pregnant woman’s belly whether she’s a friend or a stranger. Hey, don’t worry, you won’t ever see me touching a non-pregnant woman’s belly. And dudes, rest easy, I won’t be reaching for yours either.
In turn, don’t expect to touch mine. That’s right. If you don’t fall into one of these categories, keep your hands off… you are my husband, your name is Finnegan and I gave birth to you, you are my very close family member, or my very close friend. Allow me to clarify, if you aren’t sure about your category or you found out on Facebook that we were having this baby, you can bet your ass you’re not in the aforementioned, don’t take it personally, just keep your hands off.
It’s a phenomenon that I wasn’t even aware of until I had Finn four years ago.
An old lady accosted me in the store with hands on the belly and questions of the gender. I was so shocked that I was rendered speechless. Co-workers that I wasn’t even social with outside of work would come up and pat my stomach. Friends thought they had free reign to belly touch away until I as politely as I could told them how uncomfortable it made me. I even had my mom and sisters telling family friends that it freaked me out so my baby shower wasn’t one big belly touching fest, though there at least it was a little more natural that someone would reach out and touch. The grocery store or a restaurant or the post office waiting in line by a stranger though? It was enough to send me over the edge.
I’m not quite sure when it became ok for acquaintances, friends of friends, or complete strangers to lay their hands on a pregnant woman’s belly but really, I’d like it to stop. My stomach is not public domain. I am not Buddha, you don’t rub me for luck.
Now that I know, this time I’m much more aware of tactics to keep your hands off my belly. I’ll turn away or take a step back if I see you wiggling your fingers like you want to touch. Little old ladies be damned, if you don’t know me and go in for the pat, I’ll just start screaming “STRANGER DANGER!” until you back off the belly. There are still occasional sneak attacks, but I’ll remove your hand and tell you not to touch me if it happens. If you’re super annoying I may even just grab your belly too, but I’d rather we just all keep our hands to ourselves.
Spill it, what are your best belly protecting secrets? Are you a belly toucher? Did you like having your pregnant belly touched or did it creep you out?