The bump touchers are everywhere

 

dont-touch-the-bumpI read about the bump touchers in very early pregnancy.  But I didn’t think these people really existed.  However, not long after we started telling people that I was pregnant, the bump touchers all started creeping out of their closets.

Even at less than 20 weeks, when I had no discernable bump whatsoever, a few friends, and one particular aunt, seemed to think it was necessary to give my tummy a rub whenever anything remotely baby related was mentioned.

Thankfully, it didn’t happen too frequently at first.  Probably because, until quite recently, my bump has been small.  And so only people who knew for certain that I was pregnant were copping a feel.

I know I should have nipped this behaviour in the bud to begin with, and I did with those I know well enough just to be grumpy with.  But I found it a bit more difficult to tell some of my husbands family that I’m extremely uncomfortable with their unwanted fondling of my belly.

And now that my bump has started to get bigger, it’s very obvious that I’m pregnant; quite heavily pregnant at that.  For some reason this has resulted in everyone thinking it’s ok to rub my belly, from the old faithful friend and family feelers, to neighbours that I only know to say hi to, and even a few complete strangers.

The bump touchers come in a few distinct forms.  Surprisingly, people I know have fallen into each of the groups, as have people I’ve never before met in my life.

The ‘please can I touch your bump’ers

At least these folk ask first.  I say no anyway, and most of them take that as my final response.  I suppose I’m thankful that they have the foresight to ask before they grope me.

The ‘sneaky feel’ers

These are the shifty ones.  They seem to think that you won’t notice if they sneak a quick feel on their way past.  They are the most difficult to deal with, because when your belly sticks out a lot more than usual it also tends to get in the way more than usual.  So someone could potentially be mistakenly accused, when they simply couldn’t get past the large bump without touching it.  But only in very few circumstances would that be the case.

The ‘bump rub’bers

I think the bump rubbers are the most disconcerting of all.  These people seem to think that a pregnant belly is akin to a genie in a bottle, and the longer they rub said pregnant belly for, the more wishes they’re going to get.  Any form of copping a feel at me is inappropriate.  But a lingering rub just comes across as pervy.  End of story.

No matter who does it though, it always takes me by surprise.  Especially the ones who are complete strangers.  I mean, I can sort of understand why family members and friends want to have a rub at my bump.  They feel involved in the pregnancy anyway, and so touching the bump seems perfectly normal to them, even if it doesn’t to me.

But distant acquaintances and complete strangers?  How is it possible that they can even think that it’s ok to have a feel at any part of my body?  No one ever had a feel at me before I was pregnant (with a few exceptions of very drunk people in pubs who removed their hands from me pretty quickly).  So what makes people think that my distended belly is now public property?

There aren’t many people who would just walk up to someone in a shop, in the park or on the street and have a feel at their bum or boobs.  Or even their non-pregnant belly.  So if that isn’t appropriate, why is it somehow ok to fondle a person’s pregnant belly?  The short answer is that it’s not.  Of course it’s not ok.  If I walked up to a stranger in the street and had a good rub at any part of them I think they might have a bit of a problem with it.

It seems that a pregnant belly has some sort of mystical quality to many people.  While out shopping one day recently I met a friend of a friend (a lady I don’t know particularly well) who informed me there and then that she loves to feel pregnant bellies and before I could react, proceeded to stick out both her hands and have a quick rub.  She has never had kids, and told me that she never wants any.  She just loves to feel bumps.  In an attempt to understand this, I asked her why.  She said that having a baby in your belly is just a weird concept to her – it’s like, almost magical.  Now that may be so.  But again, why does that make it ok to cop a feel?

I’m afraid I don’t have the answer.  The best I can come up with is that people seem to have a fascination with pregnant women.  Especially those who haven’t been pregnant, or who haven’t ever been around pregnant women or babies.  The strangers who love to have a feel don’t seem to realise that they aren’t actually patting a baby; they are feeling a grown woman’s belly.  For me, this doesn’t make it ok, but I do know that they don’t mean any harm.

As for friends and family, I think that having a quick rub at my belly perhaps lets them feel like they have more of a connection with the baby.  Maybe it does.  Again, I know that they don’t mean any harm by it at all.  And unless I tell them that it infuriates me they won’t know that.

But I would like everyone to spread the word that unwanted bump touching is not ok.  Bump touchers need to understand how rude they are, and should at least ask before having a pat or rub at a pregnant belly.  And don’t get offended when a pregnant woman says no – you can’t touch her bump.  Because it’s not yours to touch!

For me, the only person who I like touching my bump is my husband.  After all, he’s the reason my bump is there in the first place!