I can't tell you how many times I've heard stories about people, including strangers touching pregnant belly bumps! I'm not sure when it became socially acceptable to come up to a pregnant person in the grocery store and feel the belly bump but it's got to go. And it's not only strangers, it can be co-workers, acquaintances, family and even well meaning friends that are somehow attracted to your belly by some sort of centrifugal force.
Most people aren't typically reaching for your bump in a creepy way. Truth be told they are probably just really excited for you and your family but that still doesn't give any permission to touch your belly, especially if it's unwanted. It's important to set boundaries as a pregnant person but it's equally important to respect those boundaries set by the pregnant person. Unless you've asked and have explicit permission to touch that baby bump, keep your hands off!
There are so many other ways that someone can show their support and excitement towards a pregnant person besides coming up and rubbing their belly. A great way that you can genuinely show your support and excitement is to ask about the pregnancy! Most pregnant people will love the fact that you are interested in hearing all about their pregnancy and new baby on the way. Ask how they are feeling, how they found out they were pregnant, how they told their partner, do they know the sex of the baby, etc. But be sure to really listen to their responses and don't offer any advice unless they ask.
It always amazes me that people feel the need to touch belly bumps because as kids it's instilled into us that it's not okay for strangers to touch you. The fact that this goes out the door during pregnancy is so not cool! How would you feel if someone rubbed your (non-pregnant) belly? I don't think I would appreciate that at all.
As a pregnant person, don't feel obligated to put up with all the belly rubbing, especially if you're truly uncomfortable. You can always gently remind the person that while you appreciate their excitement in your pregnancy, you're not feeling up to being touched today. If they don't get the hint, you might need to come up with a witty saying like "look but don't touch" or "can I feel your belly first". If all else fails, wear a shirt like this which makes it pretty obvious that you'd appreciate it if they kept their hands to themselves.
I'd love to know your thoughts about this, leave your comments below! Do you have any crazy stories or ways to avoid people from touching your pregnant belly? Let's get the word out about this so that there is no more awkward moments in the middle of Target!
P.S. I had permission to touch her belly for the photo!