5 reasons I am 100% comfortable with people touching my bump

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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

  1. It's Non-sexual
    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. 
     
  2. 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.  
     
  3. Spreading joy
    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!

  4. 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. 
     
  5. 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. 

 

Top 10 Reasons Why I Love Being Pregnant

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Being pregnant is not all fun and games. We are often extremely ill, unbelievably exhausted, bloated, gassy, swollen, sweaty, hungry and grumpy. And thats not even the gross stuff (if you don’t know already, i’m not telling you). But there are some seriously kick-ass things about being pregnant, too.  

Here are some of my top 10 reasons why pregnancy has been super awesome for me so far, and things for all pregnant women to rejoice about! 

 

1. Feeling extra curvaceous 

Nothing feels more feminine and sexy to me than being curvy, and now at 5 months, i’m nothing but round shapes, and soft jiggles and I am freakin’ owning it. My husband doesn’t mind either! Bingpot. 
 

2. Healthy eating = healthy momma

I had a bad habit of over indulging in bad food basically all the time. Now that I’m pregnant and eating for 1.5 (my Doc says ‘you are not eating for two!’) what I eat is paramount. Since being more strict about what I eat, I notice that I am feeling much better. Plus my sugar cravings are at an all time low (good news for my upcoming gestational diabetes test). Cant say the same for salty stuff though. Oh hai blood pressure spikes and incessant thirst!

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3. Sleeping whenever I want

Okay I admit it. Even though I got my energy back in the 2nd trimester (don’t even get me started on the exhaustion of the first trimester!) I still have a rubber arm for taking naps. If the opportunity is there,  you better believe I’m layin’ down. So far, no one has called me out on that. In fact, most people are pretty forgiving for my needing a rest. So, uhh… i’ll BRB I gotta take a nap. 
 

4. Built in reason to go home or stay home

Much in the same vein as taking naps, I also love the built-in reason to either leave events early, or not go at all. Out drinking with friends? 9pm rolls around and I’m gonna remind you that I’m pregnant and gotta go home. Formal function that I’m not feeling into? Yeah sorry about that…i’m just not feeling well. Don’t hate the player, hate the game. 

Bonus: this is also a great ‘out’ for your partner, too. My husband is now able to say ‘ahhh I better get home to the baby Mamma….’ 
 

5. Being more comfortable with gaining a few pounds

I never had unbearable struggles with my weight, but its still something I need to wrangle on a daily basis. It takes work. But now, its completely acceptable (and even encouraged!) for me to gain some extra pounds. Its really liberating to feel like I not only CAN have those extra calories, but its a damn good idea! Bring on the nachos!! 

Bonus: My body has a few new back rolls and a bigger muffin top and it straight up doesn’t matter. I’m pregnant and beautiful, bitches. Deal with it.

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6. The tenderness from my husband and family

My family and my husband are nothing short of amazing lights in my life. But now that we are expecting, they are even more attentive, compassionate, caring and protective. Theres more hugs, more teary moments, more hopeful and loving conversations, and more emotional support (and way more belly touching than any man would experience in his lifetime. I just one-up’d ya, dudes). There really is a feeling of community that comes about when you’re going to become a mom, even from the people who were already a part of your inner circle. It all gets augmented. 

Bonus/drawback: Loved ones, and sometimes strangers, will attempt to protect you like your a delicate flower, because for some reason, the amazing feat of growing a damn human makes me incapable of tasks like rolling your own damn suitcase through the airport, or carrying groceries to the car (even when i park so close…see below). This drives me nuts. I’m a freaking powerhouse right now, people! I can handle it.  But I have to admit that my husband not allowing me to help him paint (even with the safe stuff), my mom waiting on me hand-and-foot when I visit her, and complete strangers offering me help has been really touching. Thanks, y’all. You sure do know how to make a pregger feel special. 
 

7. Baby Kicks

It’s alive….ALIVE!! 
Seriously though, I was worried this would freak me out. I’m at 22 weeks now and i’m in that sweet zone where the baby’s not strong enough to bruise my ribs, but shows me in interpretive dance that s/he really loves bacon. It’s adorable, and makes me super excited to meet our little baconator. 
 

8. Nesting

I’ve always loved buying new things for the house, assembling furniture (want me to help you build your IKEA furniture?) and decorating. Now, I have a WAY less selfish reason than “because I want to” for filling the house with new important items and adding renovation chores (see above: painting) to my husbands ‘Honey-do’ list. 

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9. Pregnancy parking spots. 

Yeah those are just awesome. Only available for a limited time!! Get em while they’re hot!
 

10. The constant reminder that I am a Goddess who sustains life

Every time I look in the mirror, accidentally lean my belly on the counter when reaching for a treat, or catch a stranger steal a glance at my bump, I’m reminded that my body has changed so dramatically in the last 5 months and is actively creating and sustaining a human being. I am carrying LIFE. I am two people. I have a divine power to bring forth a child into the world, and that blows my mind over and over. I have never felt so powerful, so important, so gifted and so much self love in my entire life. Every minute of this miracle is a gift.  

 

Being pregnant is funny, beautiful and fun. There are many MANY more reasons why I love being pregnant. This just barely scrapes the surface. Perhaps I'll make part two in a few months.  What are or were your favourite parts of being pregnant? Did I miss any big ones? Let me know in the comments below. 
 

 

Art Battle

A lot of my work comes from Art Battle. If you have a piece of my art, chances are you've bought it at the silent auction at Art Battle Ottawa.  You might have also noticed that some of my paintings featured on this website are marked as 20-minute paintings. Those, too, have come from Art Battle.  

What is Art Battle anyway? Here's a great video to give you an idea of the event. If you look closely, you'll see me in the video a few times! 

Now you know. And now you should go check out an Art Battle event in your city! http://artbattle.com/

 

Finding a Tribe

I've been living in what I still refer to as a 'new city' for the last 7 years.

Ottawa was a very big and welcome change. It's a city with a busy nightlife, arts culture, and plenty to entertain yourself with, despite what many of it's locals have resigned to believe. What made me fall head-over-heels for this city was not all its lush life, but it's familiarity to a small town. It didn't shock me outside my comfort zone of eastern Canadian hospitality and kindness when I moved here. It simply added excitement and variety to my life in a way that only a countries' capital can.  

Something I wasn't able to maintain from home was the feeling of a tribe; My people, my chosen family, my community. I've been wading around in this pool of beautiful and vibrant people for more than half a decade, rubbing elbows and in some cases creating deep bonds with a chosen few. But somehow i'm still only just staying afloat in the social waters. While i've found everyone to be warm and welcoming, I still haven't found the people who make it feel like home no matter where we go. The large body of people who I want to move with... like the tide. 

This of course is not to be mistaken for having not made friends. In fact, it's been a point of conversation with our families in Nova Scotia that my husband and I have created a network of beautiful and caring people that we are lucky to spend our time with. And they are right. When I stand back and look at the friendships we've made, and count on my hands the people on whom we trust, the numbers are great. Perhaps even better than they were in the later years of living in Cape Breton, when so many of our friends had moved west. My heart glows when I think of the beautiful web of friendship we've weaved across the city. 

But thats just it; its a web. Every relationship cast out in a different direction, with only my husband and myself in common, at the centre of it all.

Our friends are all from so many different walks of life. The adventurous outdoorsy travellers, the young famalies with kids, the serial singles, the chosen DINKs (Dual income no kids), the music professionals, the government workers, the gamers, the tradesmen, the tech geeks, the athletes. We've made friends with a seriously wide variety of people. And although it can be incredibly entertaining and our social outings have a wonderful variety, it also means that our time is fractured among many. Our time with these people is often short, and it's become a challenge to find the bond before we end up hanging out with someone from the other side of the web. We are pulled in many directions at once. 

My first-level response is to bring my friends together. On the rare occasions of birthdays or holidays, we find ourselves surrounded by those lovely friends, but still divided. Theres too much lifestyle difference and personality clashes for the melting pot to happen. It's simply, and sadly, not the answer to whats been lost for these past 7 years. 

Where do I find it? Who is my tribe and where are they? What exactly is it that i'm looking for?These are the questions i've been asking myself for the last few weeks. 

In early January I did something outside my comfort zone. I attended an 'artist meetup' in the city. I'm not a true introvert; I love to socialize and sometimes even feel mentally and physically sick when I'm not socializing regularly. I'm more of the new definition of a Extroverted-Introvert. I'm shy around new people and find it incredibly difficult to step into unknown social realms. But i've come to a crossroads. I can either face my fears and put myself out there in new and terrifying places with beautiful people full of potential who may accept me or reject me (or worse, not notice me at all)...or stay within my comfort zone with the people I know, trust, and care about, but live with an emptiness and longing for a community of like-minded people. I took my first step down the scary road of unknown social interactions and attended the Artist Meetup in hopes of finding refuge and kindness among other artist. After all, there are yet to be any 'artists' who are a part of the web of people I have across the city. I owe it to myself to find the creatives and create that bond. 7 years is long enough. 

The artist meetup was a positive experience. I can't say I had an epiphany or any sort of social breakthrough, but the people were shy and kind and easy to be around. I wasn't necessarily welcomed with open arms (and didn't expect to be), but I did feel a sense of acceptance. And best of all, i didn't feel isolated away from these strangers. They allowed me into something that already exists. And thats a pretty lovely thing in itself. 

At the end of the meetup I had some great conversations with new people. It helped me a lot. It gave me a sense of 'possible belonging.' An opening of a door. Thats just enough for my first attempt. I plan on going back to the next meetup, to see where it will take me. Until then, i'm passively looking for other opportunities to find my tribe. 

I'll find you soon. 

 

T'is the season for custom artwork!

Each year I get the opportunity to help other people fulfill their christmas gift lists and wish lists with something hand made and personalized. It's a lovely thing to be part of; helping others give gifts with lots of meaning, while being given the chance to create something thats usually outside my wheelhouse. This year was no different. 

A week ago, a friend asked met to paint a portrait of her partners' dog. While i'm a confident painter, animals are not typically my chosen subject matter, and my training in being able to recreate the likeness of an animal usually falls under drawings rather than paintings.  I accepted the commission and got to work. 

I spent hours researching painting techniques and viewing the artwork of others to help gain my footing, and then dove straight in. Painting this sweet dog was even more enjoyable than I had expected. Her absolutely adorable face (coupled with my undying love for all dogs) allowed me to get absorbed in the process, and helped the painting happen naturally. To my surprise, I completed the portrait in one sitting. 

My friend was delighted with the result, and said it brought tears to her eyes! I'm so excited to see how her partner responds.

If you have a pet that you'd like to have a portrait of, reach out to me with your ideas and together we can create a beautiful portrait!

Happy Holidays! 

 

Inspiration at work

For as long as I can remember I've been fascinated with the female form. The curves and angles and a womans inherent ability to communicate with her body. It's been my wheelhouse for artwork for a very long time. Branching out is difficult when i enjoy the subject so much.

Recently I took a two-week trip around Ireland. The landscape enchanted me the way no other has. I saw things that I thought were only written in fairytales and experienced moments that brought me to tears as I felt like i was walking through a real life painting. Slowly something stirred in me... a desire to paint the landscapes that I've traveled in. 

My latest project is a 4.5 x 5 foot canvas painting of one of my most favorite places in Ireland. I'm excited and nervous about it... landscapes are not my strength, but it's nice to be outside my comfort zone. Here is a sneak peak... it soon will be available for purchase in my gallery.

 

Finding time & Dicipline

I'm sure most creatives face this issue.

We take on a multitude of projects for other people and dance daily with the balance of our freelance work and day jobs. That is if you're not one of the lucky ones making full time work out of your passion. 

This dance is a beautiful and tormented one. On one hand, we love being able to work at what we are gifted with. But on the other hand, we are often saddled with jobs and challenges that prevent us from the purely fun and creative endeavors. And worse, when we do have time to 'play' with our talents, we often neglect the projects we have set up for ourselves in the administrative department. 

At least that's how it's been for me for the last number of years. The rare moments I have to work on my own projects, I reach for my paint brushes, sculpting clay, or sketchbook, and my web presence has suffered.  

This fall I've decided to stop dilly-dallying and start disciplining myself. It's time to set up a true representation of myself and my work on the web, so that I can push forward with my creativity and let the world see. 

And so,  here we are.  Thanks for being an open audience.