Yes, you may touch my bump. I know, I know. I should be horrified. But I’m 100% okay with people touching my belly... even strangers.
This is a highly polarizing topic among expectant moms and people everywhere; Are you comfortable with people touching your belly when you are pregnant?
Many months before my husband and I became pregnant, anyone who who knew that we were trying to start a family would share stories all about the unavoidable horror of everyone–including strangers–wanting to touch the tummies of pregnant women. These stories were told with much disgust and warning that we should prepare for this inevitability of invasion of space, and that it's completely unavoidable and 100% guaranteed to happen.
To be honest, I really wasn’t sure how I felt about it. I would casually laugh about how absurd it would be for a stranger to openly touch me, but deep down i was a bit conflicted. Was it something sweet that I would enjoy, or something invasive and offensive? I more or less decided it was something I’d figure out when my time came. God knows hormones during pregnancy will give me some hearty opinions on pretty much everything, and this likely wont be an exception!
Well, now that my time is here, and I’ve had a few interactions with friends, family, and near strangers, I can firmly say that I am 100% comfortable with people touching my belly. Heres why.
5 reasons I'm 100% comfortable with people touching my bump
This is one of the only times in my life that I will receive a compassionate physical touch that is not sexualized and is purely positive. Thats a rarity, especially in the realm of strangers.
The human connection
Having your bump touched creates a true connection with people, especially when its a stranger. We should appreciate the immediate connection people are having with us when they want to approach us and touch our bumps and engage in conversation. We so rarely experience physical touch outside of the sexual or grief realm, that this can really be a gift if you look at it from this perspective. Positive physical touch releases oxytocin and enhances bonds between people, and having a baby bump is a really wonderful invitation or reason for someone to touch you with purest intentions.
I’ve always loved and lived by the saying “happiness shared is happiness doubled” and Pregnancy is a magical, beautiful, and powerful thing. But its also a very singular thing thats happening almost exclusively to me and my body. Allowing others to touch my belly is a way of sharing the happiness and the awe inspiring process of whats happening within me now. It makes me glow every time someone places a hand on the baby bump, and so far, it gives a smile to others, too. I’m more than willing to invite people into the experience ever so briefly to double that happiness! Its so amusing for us both!
Positive vibes only
The transfer of energy (if you believe in that sort of thing) is powerful. Can you imagine a hand reaching out to touch your bump and that person scowling or saying something really hurtful? For most of us, that sort of interaction doesn’t happen. A touch of the belly is typically accompanied by words of kindness, soft facial expressions, positive affirmations, compliments, hopeful remarks for the future and the baby, and a general feeling of positivity. This can be VERY impactful on your well being (and the well being of your baby!) if you let it! Especially during a time when remaining positive, optimistic and grateful is so important to the whole experience.
It's not that private
My bump feels in some ways apart from me. Okay so that probably sounds a bit strange, but hear me out. If I wasn't pregnant, and people touched my stomach (even with all the kindness and positive vibes mentioned above) It would feel weird. my mind would fill with concerns on body image and how flat/flabby my tummy feels. Am I feeling bloated that day? Maybe I just ate and I'm literally digesting food. Perhaps my cramps are causing me pain that day. Or depending on where they place their hand, it might feel sexual, or be reminded of a negative encounter from my past. For all those reasons, I would not be comfortable with someone touching my stomach. Those thoughts and reactions are deeply personal and private, and no one knows for sure whats going on with me on that level. Pregnancy, however, is a visually obvious and common human experience, that most of us have a basic understanding of whats going on. Couple that with no longer being concerned about my belly flab (cause there is none now that Im sporting a watermelon!), having a renewed sense of beauty and vitality, and literally having a new human being hanging out in my torso sort of makes it feel like that space is not just my own anymore. Its significantly less personal and private. So a hand to my bump doesn't not feel nearly as invasive as a hand to my stomach. They are two different things.
So yes, please, by all means... if you want to...touch my bump! I'll greet you with a smile and join in the joy of this special moment.
Changing your mind
Not all pregnant folks will share my views, and thats completely understandable. We are all entitled to our individual opinions and to have full agency over our bodies. However, If you are a mom-to-be who's having trouble with people touching your bump, and you’d like to make peace with it and adjust your perspective rather than struggle when people attempt to touch you, heres a few things to keep in mind that may help you adjust:
People are not doing it to freak you out. They have the best intentions. They just want to connect, and share in the happy moment. Those connections we make, no matter how fleeting, simply do not happen when you’re not pregnant, so we should honour those interactions.
The time in which this will happen to you is incredibly short. Most women are not 'showing' until about the 4th month, which means you're only susceptible to touches from that point on (roughly 5 months).
Once your baby comes, no one will even look at you. All attention goes to your beautiful bundle of joy, so absorb the love and positive vibes for yourself while you can!
After you deliver your baby, you might be house-bound for quite some time, and deprived of social interactions. You might long for the days when strangers spoke to you or friends gushed about your glow, all while handing over some loving body contact. You likely wont have that again unless you decide to have another baby, so observe it now with love and remember that feeling.
So how do you feel about having body contact on your bump? Are you on board or totally freaked out? Tell me how you feel in the comments.