To Touch or Not to Touch Someone's Pregnant Belly: 32 Moms Get Real About This Pregnancy Hot Topic by Ann Marie Gardinier Halstead
I loved being pregnant. I marveled at the miracle of it, and laughed through the less miraculous bits. What I didn’t love, and what came as a total surprise to me, was the unsolicited advice that people offered about my pregnancy, from family members to complete strangers. What I was absolutely unprepared for was people touching my pregnant belly.
I didn’t mind so much when my family or close friends did this, but I was entirely uncomfortable with strangers touching me in the produce aisle of my local grocery store, and I couldn’t for the life of me understand what would possess someone to do so. I was curious about how other women felt about this, so I posed the question on social media. As you can see, moms feel very strongly about this issue. Perhaps the lesson here is that it’s best to ask a woman before you touch her pregnant belly.
- "I hated people wanting to touch my belly when I was pregnant. I simply made it clear that it was not OK."
- "I never minded when people wanted to touch my pregnant belly. There was something amazing that was going on in there and the thought of new life brought lots of joy to people."
- "It wasn’t an issue with me. No stranger approached me. That would have weirded me out."
- "I really didn’t mind! I was surprised by it sometimes but it didn’t bother me. I didn’t allow my students to touch it, though."
- "As long as they asked first I never minded."
- "I have a BIG personal bubble. I did OK if people I knew well approached from the front, but I had a few co-workers who would come at me from the side when I wasn't expecting it and it was really off-putting. I had to tell a few of them to stop because I almost elbowed one by accident because it startled me so bad!"
- "No way! Strangers, absolutely not. Close friends, if they felt the need. I have just never seen a pregnant belly that I had to get my hands on, so I don’t get it."
- "I didn't mind. I LOVED being pregnant. I felt beautiful. Like a beautiful hippo."
- "When I was about six months pregnant with my daughter, a lady at the DMV touched my belly out of the blue and I flinched."
- "NOPE for me. I had a cute smallish bump with all three of mine, but I love my personal space and even more those who respect it. So, very few got to touch."
- "It really didn’t bother me. It would never occur to me to reach out and touch someone else’s pregnant stomach, though!"
- "I have an anxiety disorder, so when a stranger touched my belly it was awful. I don’t typically have the ability to say no, so I’m just stuck in a very uncomfortable situation. People assume that asking makes it better, but it’s hard for some people to say no, so even asking is too much for me."
- "I did not mind a belly pat. My turn to be a lucky Buddha."
- "No! No physical contact! Just because a tiny human has invaded my space doesn’t mean you can!"
- "I liked the attention and conversation. Also I had an abnormally large belly (twins two times in a row) and any time someone would approach my husband and me in the store (especially toward the end) to remark, 'Oh look at you! You must be ready to pop!' My husband would reply with something terrible but funny like, 'Oh! Actually, no! She’s only four months along with octuplets! They’re going to do a TV special on us...' I just figure most folks like a sweet little pregnant lady and miss that part of their lives and want to stop and say a few nice words, share in the excitement and whatnot. Innocent curiosity."
- "I didn't really mind at all with my daughter because I was so very happy to be pregnant (it took us two years to conceive)."
- "I asked people if I could touch THEIR belly!"
- "With my pregnancies I was perfectly fine with my husband, close friends and family touching my belly. Random strangers? Absolutely not. I remember telling my husband afterwards, 'I’m not an animal in a petting zoo.' People should be more respectful of others’ bodies and space."
- "I would flinch and back away. My being pregnant wasn’t an open pass to touching my body without permission."
- "I didn't mind at all either time. I was fascinated by the fact that I had this little person growing inside me, and if people wanted to share in my joy I thought that was just fine."
- "I loved the attention. I didn't mind the comments because I am a sassy bitch, so I had fun with people, but I don't like people touching me unless they are my family or close friends. If someone just came up and tried to touch me I would karate chop their hand. So, to finalize: family and friends were fine, strangers would get a karate chop and a nasty look. Stranger danger!"
- "I never understood why people thought that it was appropriate."
- "I loved it. I was so proud and in awe of what I was creating. All those hands wanting to feel made the miracle feel magical."
- "I told any stranger who tried that I wasn’t pregnant."
- "It truly never bothered me! I really didn’t have any strangers ask me, or try to touch, so I don’t have an experience with that! But my friends and family who wanted to, I was always open about it. Especially once he started moving and I could feel him wiggling and kicking. I wanted to share that with everyone! I thought it was the most amazing thing in the world to feel that!"
- "Back off! Even if it was my mother or a good friend! Wait for an invitation. Funny thing is, I wanted my husband to touch my belly and he was just creeped out."
- "I was fine with it, but was surprised by how many people, complete strangers, just reached out and touched without even asking!"
- "Not sure why this is acceptable? If you wouldn’t touch my non-pregnant belly why would it be OK just because I’m pregnant?"
- "I hate being touched in general, so being touched while being pregnant was tough."
- "I never minded friends/family touching the belly. It was the random people that freaked me out."
- "I work in a hospital, and both pregnancies resulted in touching from nursing staff including people I didn't work with directly. I have a huge problem with people touching me (I shut down, get nervous and squirm away). I would politely take a step back, and give a dirty look. I would put my hands over my belly, and that would keep touching to a minimum but didn't prevent it. For those people I know, they asked. Once asked, I would OK or not. If OK, I would take their hand (not hands) and place it. I'd keep my hand over theirs, and then remove."
- "It made me feel happy! It was a miracle and I always felt that people were passing on love and blessings to me and my babies."
How do you feel about people touching your pregnant belly?