What is it about pregnant women that makes most of us feel like we have the right to just come up to them and start rubbing on their bellies?
I saw something like that the other day and it got me started thinking about it. I was in the library when a very, very pregnant woman came inside near where I was sitting. She greeted another woman, but you could tell from their stances that they weren’t actually close friends. There was a definite, visible reserve there.
The non-pregnant woman then pulled her youngish dude (maybe six or seven years old) over to them and just thrust his hand onto the pregnant lady’s belly. She was shocked. Her eyes widened and her mouth fell open a bit, but the non-pregnant mom and her son were completely oblivious to the pregnant woman’s distress. They then said good-bye and moved on.
The pregnant woman just stood there for a little while before shaking her head and moving on.
From experience, being around a pregnant woman for a long, long time on three separate occasions, I’ve seen this happen again and again. People would walk up to She Who Must Be Given Her Space and, with the barest of pauses to get any kind of permission, start fondling her belly.
Is a pregnant woman’s belly community property or something?
I really don’t think so. But there’s something in our culture that says pregnant women get to endure this unique form of annoyance.
I know it’s a wonderful thing, a wanted pregnancy that’s going to produce a wanted, loved child. Many pregnant woman do have almost a glow about them from their healthy bodies and their excitement about the growing life (when they’re not suffering from hemorrhoids or swollen ankles) and most people do want to share in that kind of joy. It makes us feel good.
But, seriously, dudes and (mostly) dudettes. Don’t just automatically assume that a pregnant woman wants you to feel up her belly, just because she’s showing. And if you just can’t help yourself, ask for permission first and actually — I know this is a bit out there, but go with me here on this one — wait for permission before you get all touchy feely.
I know I’m not talking to the dudes out there all that much on this one, because we’ve been pretty much conditioned against just randomly touching people we meet in the street. Still, I’d like to see a little thought here, folks. It actually is her pregnancy, not ours.