We live in an age of “10 Things all pregnant women hate,” which always includes something like: 1. Touching my stomach 2. Asking me if I’m carrying twins…
I’m totally there with the twins one, but honestly, I just don’t care if people touch my pregnant belly.
Look, I get it. It’s annoying to simply go out in public, hoping to pick up some bananas, toilet paper and some all-natural peanut butter at the grocery store and instead get assaulted by a complete stranger whose hands seem to contain a magnetic draw straight to your baby maker. Or, er, your baby gestator?
But I also think it’s not as horrible as we all make it sound. Allow me to explain. First of all, let’s consider what it actually means when someone is reaching out to touch our person inside our person: They are, in general, kind of in awe of us. They think that pregnancy is an incredible, amazing and beautiful thing, and they are drawn to our stomachs like we are drawn to anything chocolatey, extra cheesy or salty. To them, we are irresistible. And frankly, because I happen to be the variety of pregnant woman that is pukey, enormous, incredibly sweaty and forever miserable, the reminder that some people think the whole growing-a-person is actually pretty cool is, well, actually pretty cool.
Second of all, I think it bears mentioning to consider why the touchers are attracted to our tummies. Unlike in a lot of situations when it comes to pregnancy and parenting, for once we aren’t actually being judged negatively. No one is policing our weight or telling us we can’t drink coffee or grilling us on our family planning choices. No one is slapping away a wine glass or telling us we’re overpopulating the world or keeping us hostage to hear their horrific, gory and overly-dramatized birth story. So, in a way, the touches are rare moments in our lives as moms when family members and strangers are actually just passing on a bit of pregnancy goodwill to us.
Lastly, I also have to confess that I am a pregnancy belly toucher. Call it a carry-over from my days as a labor and delivery nurse, but I see a pregnant belly, and my fingers take on a life of their own. I want to touch that baby belly, especially when it’s not mine. I want to feel the kicks and the squirms and press my fingers in until I can determine if it’s a baby bum or baby head I’m feeling. It’s either totally creepy that I have these feelings or totally normal for someone who once made her bread and butter doing it on a daily basis, right?
So yeah, if we ever happen to meet IRL and if you ever happen to see me pregnant (again) and just think, “Man, I would just love to touch some of that,” I’d be totally down with that.
Just keep your hands off my stretch marks. Those are off-limits. —Chaunie Brusie