My pregnant belly is not your pregnant belly
In the last week I’ve had quite a few people tell me that now I look pregnant. There’s definitely no more hiding my little bean behind loose tops and long scarves. Every day it gets a little bit bigger, and those heartwarming baby kicks get a little stronger. And with this joy comes the unwarranted and unwelcome touching from other people.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m an affectionate person. I love giving hugs, holding hands, and general physical contact… with my good friends and family. Something strange happens when you’re pregnant and your belly starts growing. Somehow it gives random people the idea that it is okay for them to touch you. I have never been one to reach out and touch someone’s pregnant stomach. Even when my friends are carrying, if I feel the need to touch (which generally I don’t, I mean, it’s a belly, not a crystal ball), I ask first.
To all those who think it is okay to touch a woman’s pregnant belly, listen up: It’s not okay! If we remove the baby from the situation, you’re really just touching a stranger’s stomach. As tempting as it may be to touch another person’s stomach (especially if they have abs for days), it’s actually sexual harassment. Yet somehow, if you’re growing a human, everything is waived and it’s all hands on deck (…er, belly, in this case).
If that’s not enough to make you think twice about attacking some poor pregnant woman with all of the touching and feeling to satisfy your own needs, just remember that not every woman handles pregnancy well. Some of us feel like goddesses. We’re growing a brand new life inside our bodies! I mean, that’s worthy of feeling at least a little bit badass. But there are some of us who hate being pregnant. We feel out control with what’s going on inside us, we don’t feel attractive, and the last thing we want to do is draw attention to the matter. Also, pregnancy makes you kind of gassy. And if you startle-attack a woman with your touch and she’s not ready for it, it might make for an accidental fart slip. And that’s just going to make everyone uncomfortable. Jokes aside, let’s go back to kindergarten and recap what we learned about our own personal bubble. A baby belly doesn’t stick out past that bubble, the bubble just gets a little bigger.
If seeing a pregnant lady makes you react the same way as seeing a fuzzy, clumsy puppy walking down the street, and you simply must touch her, then at least have the decency to be polite and ask. There’s a 50/50 chance she’ll be ok with it, and if she isn’t, at the very least she will appreciate that you asked before trying. A prudent rule to follow is unless you made it, you don’t get to touch it.
The reason this really grinds my gears is because by feeling entitled to invade another person’s personal space, you’re basically stripping them of their autonomy, and that’s really not cool.