Pat the Tummy
posted by: gretchen
It is enthralling, isn’t it?
I remember as a young woman shyly asking a cousin if I could touch her very pregnant belly. I was curious what it felt like. A waterbed? A balloon? A bowl full of jelly? A wildcat in a pillow case?
I was surprised her belly felt firm, never giving much thought to the strong muscles that cradle the womb. The best part was when she moved my hand to a spot where her son was kicking. Wow.
Despite being pregnant many times, I still find the belly amazing. It’s like a juicy gilded-peach disco ball—ripe, round, and eye-catching. That is why I am never surprised if someone reaches out to say hello to my bump.
Most pregnant women hate when strangers touch their bellies, charging it’s a violation of personal space and rude to intrude. They feel like a public spectacle, property of the prying masses. I nod when fellow moms express how frustrated they feel when accosted by outstretched hands.
I admit I’ve never fully understood these rants. The usual belly-touchers are older women or young children. I imagine they are either nostalgic or curious and have nothing but sweet intentions. When I am patted in line at the store or while waiting to be seated at a restaurant, I don’t recoil or feel violated. To me, it isn’t creepy when a person is cheered by the thought of a new baby and wants to say howdy to a little one via gentle touch.
What is the worst that can happen as the dinner theater waitress pat-pat-pats and asks when you are due? You might be expected to engage in warm conversation for 15 seconds? She’ll move on to forget your refill, you’ll wish you ordered the chicken, and harm? Not really done.
In the grand scope of pregnancy annoyances, frustrations, and even tragedies, the occasional belly pat isn’t ever something to get worked up over, in my opinion.