Honestly, this is one reaction from people to my pregnancy bump that I did not like at all. I just detested anyone trying to touch or pat my big tummy. My imagination was working in overdrive. What if they did me, or worse, my babies, harm by touching my bump?
It seems irrational now, but there was no way, you could have convinced my hormonal pregnant self to stand still while someone, other than myself or my husband, touched my tummy. Not even my mom touched, without first asking. Okay, she didn’t necessarily ask for permission, as I’d be the one to open the bump to her, whenever I was complaining about something, and she would look and touch. But generally, I’m not one for the touchy-feely kind of thing.
The only other persons who touched my bump were the doctors, and we all know it’s because they have to. They even touched more than the bump. The others were my older twins, when I was pregnant the second time.
However, for my younger sister, she is something of an exhibitionist sef. She doesn’t mind at all. She was the one that broke my mom’s myth of not wearing bump-hugging clothes. The tighter the better for her, until the heat became unbearable for her, and then she started to wear loose fitting clothes, but they were short, and her bump was a free zone. She did not have that fear that someone was going to harm or transfer anything evil to my nieces.
Ironically, I have found that I am …em…in that class of people, who like to touch bumps. Yes, have my head, and tell me, “You that did not allow anyone to touch your bump; you now want to touch someone’s else bump, unfair!” I know. I know. It is totally unfair, and I did not set out to be belly toucher…it just happened. Now, I understand the feeling someone who wants to touch a pregnant woman’s belly gets, just before they make the connection, and afterwards. Don’t worry, if I come in another world, I will allow you touch all you want, because another pregnancy aint happening in this century ☺.
So, obviously, there is a divide, those who don’t mind their belly being touched, and those who mind, like me. There are also the group of people who want to touch a preggy bump, even without asking for permission, and those who wouldn’t even give it a thought.
The Belly Touchers / Moms who don’t mind
For this group of people, excitement about the life brewing inside that bump is the major draw. It is infectious. I have had total strangers come ask me how far along I was when I was pregnant with my second twins, as I was as huge as a house. Some even predicted when I was going to have the babies, merely by scanning my bump and making attempts to feel it.
Have you met the moms who look at the shape of your bump, and tell you authoritatively that you are having a boy or girl, or even that your baby has turned in preparation for labour? Creepy right? But there are many of such moms around. They just know, perhaps from experience or something else, which I don’t really want to know about.
Another reason this group exists is because pregnancy is such a universal and uniting factor. Every race and tribe gets pregnant. It is such a basic human experience that everyone can connect to, and that alone brings about reactions in people, including belly touching. How can we be irritated when people love that you are pregnant and want to touch your growing belly to acknowledge this miraculous cycle of life?
Not likely, especially if you are in this group and don’t mind.
Do not touch my belly/ Moms, who won’t take it
Now, I can relate! It is pretty awkward for strangers to walk up to you and pat your bump. In my mind, I was definitely going, “Blood of Jesus.”
Interestingly, if you refuse to have your bump patted, you can be labeled a hormonal, fussy pregnant woman, who won’t allow people into her experience, or as people are likely to say now, “won’t let them tap in her blessings.” As a friend found out for herself, when she refused a random stranger she had been standing beside in the baby products aisle at the mall, touch her bump. The woman turned with a huge smile on her face and made to touch her bump, upon noticing it.
She had moved back just in time, and said with a smile on her face, “I hope you don’t mind, if I touch your stomach too.” She said the woman was shocked at her statement and had airbrushed her hair and moved on, all the while, muttering how some people were local people.
She got the idea from her husband to touch the stomach of who ever touched her bump, and that had made people step back a bit, not expecting that move. Being wicked, she found that telling belly touchers she wasn’t pregnant made people literally pick race and wipe their erring hand.
And turncoats like me totally get it. I know you are exhausted and swollen, and a thousand other things. I know, if you are like me, you don’t want your belly touched or to be annoyed by strangers like me. I get that. But I swear, all I want to do is touch your belly and tell you I AM SO EXCITED FOR YOU!!! Maybe, if I’m lucky, I might feel a kick or two.
You are in a season of your life that you will only experience once, (no two pregnancies are the same) but the memories of your pregnancy and birth will stay with you for the rest of your life.
If you are a primigravida, everything is about to change for you in ways you cannot understand. No matter how many books or blogs you have read, or the number of nieces and nephews you have, it doesn’t quite scratch the surface. Nothing can quite prepare you for the overwhelming emotions you have once your child is born. Nothing.
Your belly just reminds me of mine. I don’t want to invade your personal space, I just want to share in your joy, and, for a moment, remind myself of the good things of this life.
Hope you will indulge me.
Oluwakemi is a member of The Fertile Chick family, and she is a writer, dreamer and mother of two sets of twins. She is passionate about issues that concern women, and does not shy away from airing her views. And words are her weapon of choice! She is reachable on her handle @oluwakemine
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