Pregnant Bellies Are NOT Public Domain.

12 May 2011

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? 


Samantha said...

I think it would've creeped me out if I had gotten the same kind of attention.

My mom still freaks Russ out with the MIL hugs :)

Misc Momma said...

I was adamant my first/only pregnancy that no one touch my belly without permission - and if I don't know you, please don't even bother asking! But that I've been pregant and see the allure of touching a pregnant belly (I have never touched one w/o asking and only ask of my friends/family), I think I wouldn't be so bothered by it if/when I am pregnant again.

When I was not even showing, I went to get a pedicure. The lady there asked me if I had kids and I told her I was pregnant. She reached across the counter and patted my almost entirely flat belly. That set the tone for my "no touch" pregnancy.

tiffany said...

I never really had strangers rubbing my belly but I didn't mind friends, family touching. My issue was a co-worker who continually asked me how much weight I had put on during my first pregnancy. I wasn't worried about what I weighted but I thought it was completely rude that she thought she could even ask. Would she ask me if I wasn't preggo?!

People lack a lot of common sense when it comes to pregnant women. It as though a belly means all of your boundaries have disappeared.

...Perhaps it's because it's clear we've gotten laid.


Meg said...

I have to admit that when I was younger (11 or 12?), I think I may have touched a pregnant belly without even thinking about it...of course it was a big pregnant belly and not one where you couldn't tell the girl was even pregnant...because that, I agree, is totally creepy.

I think the reason why I did it so naturally without even thinking was because my attention was so drawn to the belly. Just being totally mesmerized and absorbed by the thought of a baby being in there and the miracle that it was, I instinctively wanted to touch it and feel what was going on.

Then I snapped out of it and realized that it was actually a woman's belly and she might not be OK with that. I don't think people are trying to be rude or invasive. It's just a weird natural pull.

I apologize for my 12 year old behavior. Thankfully I know now and won't be making that mistake. I hope you have a much less handsier go around this time!

Jessica @ Wanting Adventure said...

I cannot even imagine what causes people to do that! I would NEVER walk up to a stranger and put my hand on their belly, pregnant or no, no matter where we were! What is wrong with people?! I think I'm going to be in the same boat as you, not wanting people to touch me. I had a good friend pregnant and most definitely asked before touching. It's just good manners.

Katie Olthoff said...

*hiding my head in shame* Not only am I a belly toucher, I enjoyed having my pregnant belly touched. I actually invited people to touch it. "Want to feel him move?"

Yostee said...

I never really thought about this whole subject until I had my second child. See when I was pregnant with my first, I was a non traditional college student, so it wasn't very normal for people to come up and touch me... but then with my second - BAM everything changed.

See, I really don't know that I would have cared so much about it, but I work in a hospital... mainly in an ER. What in the world made this sickly people think it was ok to touch my big fat belly seconds after explaining to me they had projectile vomiting and uncontrollable diarrhea?!?! Not only that, we see a lot and I mean A LOT of people who feel it necessary to only shower weekly maybe even monthly. Again, why in the hell do I want your scuzzy hands on my belly?!?! I finally had to tell one younger lady one time to remove her hands because "in all actuality, if my skin were removed, you'd be rubbing nothing more than my uterus, NOT THE BABY!!!"

So Michelle, I COMPLETELY agree with you on this one!!! Good luck in keeping the grubby fingers off your belly in the remaining months of this pregnancy ;o)

Michelle said...

OK... that is WAY worse than a random stranger here and there. ICK!

MommyLisa said...

What creeped me out MORE was the woman who came OUT OF A POTTY STALL saw Boo Boo laying on the changing table, actually SQUEALED, and made a beeline to TOUCHING HER!!! I blocked that hand post-quick and said, "Thank you, she is adorable. You need to wash your hands."

Anonymous said...

I have never been pregnant nor am I anywhere close to getting pregnant, but I can already tell you that anyone who thinks they can touch my belly might get a dirty look, and perhaps some amateur karate chops...
Seriously! Nobody would walk up to me and pat my belly any other time, and just because there's a baby in there doesn't really make it any different, in my opinion.

erika said...

I hated when people would do that to me. It's one thing if I know someone, but to have a total stranger do that is weird and annoying.

Sonya said...

I know I wouldn't like it if someone did it to me so I don't dare touch anyone else without asking! I even ask my good friend before I touch hers. Apparently personal space doesn't matter when you're pregnant:(

Dave said...

I will pay you $5 to put your hands on the belly of the next person that puts their hands on yours.

Five dollars. It's all about the Lincolns. Cash money. Dooooo it!

Just A Normal Mom said...

I agree with you 100%!! I hated it, too.

belles♥mom said...

I never really minded it, I had 100 kids @ the Y touching my stomach constantly so maybe I was just desensitized by it? And I totally agree with Dave, start making some bank out of people not respecting your space! lol

Anonymous said...

I didn't even look remotely pregnant til I was 6 or 7 months in (I carried really small) so I was actually OK with people wanting to touch my belly -- IF I KNEW THEM. I remember being a little off-put by a colleague who, upon finding out I was pregnant -- but not showing in the slightest -- went in for the rub. THAT was weird. I hadn't even gained any weight yet so she was rubbing a flat tummy. Definitely skeeved me out!

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