Adapted excerpt from Stuff I Wish I Knew…About Pregnancy.
During my first pregnancy I experienced a lot of random (without request) belly touching. This included a few friends (fine by me), many co-workers (hmm, okay), and a random sales assistant at Sunglasses Hut (whose manager I called later that day during what I can only describe as a pregnant hormonal emotional outburst, but fully justified of course).
Pregnant belly touching is a weird phenomenon that I have yet to see explained. It’s as if there is some kind of crazy magnetic force that draws certain people within a couple of feet of a pregnant woman to reach out and place their hand on – and sometimes rub – her belly. This may be accompanied by a nervously excited request, but often it just happens, as if by an involuntary impulse that can’t be controlled, as if the belly has special powers and must be touched to confer some of those powers to the “toucher”. What makes it so odd is that if it were to happen to anyone else, anyone not pregnant, it would be considered completely and utterly inappropriate, perhaps even criminal in certain cases.
Of course, most people are more than happy to have their partner’s hands on their belly, especially to share in feeling those precious kicks. But when it comes to everyone else, each women has different comfort levels and therefore has a different set of rules – in their head because unfortunately you can’t go around handing out a pamphlet – about who is allowed to touch their belly and whether they should ask or not. Some want at least two feet of space between anyone and their belly and at most may let their best friend have a quick touch when the baby is kicking. Others don’t mind other women that they know touching but would prefer if the guys didn’t or at least asked first. And at the other end of the spectrum, some women are quite fine with anyone, including random strangers having a quick rub of their bump, although I admit I have yet to meet one of those women.
Unfortunately, the “touchers” in question usually have no idea of your rules and so just go with what they feel comfortable with instead. If they ask, great, you have the opportunity to politely say “no thanks” in whichever form you’ve rehearsed by that point. If they don’t ask, it’s done, but you could always let them know they should have asked; that way at least they’re less likely to do it again, to you or someone else. One more option, although not recommended, but if you’re set on making a point: simply touch theirs back. I never actually did this but I was tempted on many occasions.
Thankfully during my second pregnancy I experienced a lot less belly touching. Perhaps second bumps are less appealing or perhaps I subconsciously greeted potential “touchers” with a death stare that did the trick!
I regularly post adapted excerpts from my “Stuff I Wish I Knew…” series of books. My goal is to help new and expectant parents feel a little more prepared for what to expect on the journey to parenthood.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this post from the first book in the series Stuff I Wish I Knew…About Pregnancy.
If you want to read more from me about pregnancy and beyond check out my books available on Amazon: