It can be an incredibly strange experience for pregnant women when, all of a sudden, everyone they meet seems to develop a bizarre fascination with their stomach. Whilst some may enjoy the attention, others will tire of it quickly. For some, sharing the experience with loved ones is understandable but it’s when that begins to spread through colleagues and strangers that something needs to be done about it. Social conventions usually stand in the way of the woman saying anything to prevent it happening but there are a few methods that one can try in order to successfully ward off prying hands.
One excellent way of effectively closing yourself off is to place your own hands on your bump. This reduces the space on your stomach, efficiently discouraging others from doing the same thing and acts as a form of protection for you and your baby bump. It also sets a ‘closed off’ appearance and tone which will hopefully get through to others, clearly stating that you do not wish to be touched, even when your hands are not protecting your bump.
A very obvious method of keeping wandering hands away from your stomach is to simply gather confidence and tell them straight. Most pregnant women will not be in the mood to be fondled by strangers and will usually snap, slap away hands and say exactly what they think. There’s nothing particularly wrong with this; it’s your body and strangers have no right to touch you. However, a little tact goes a long way in some cases so keep it as amicable as possible.
A great way to keep the conversation light without being too rude is to state your case by touching their stomach. This promotes a sense of equality, clearly pointing out the fact that it’s inappropriate and if they don’t like it, why would you like it? It’s an amusing taste of their own medicine and should keep the atmosphere light and friendly; if all goes to plan, they’ll see the funny side of things.
In keeping with the previous point, another way to prevent yourself from being rude whilst making your point is to tell a joke. This is a chance to be creative and whimsical and to come off in a good light, telling a stranger you don’t like to be touched but not shouting or yelling at them to leave you alone. Things are kept light and the injection of humour is good for the woman’s mental state.
Finally, perhaps it’s best not to display your bump too clearly when out and about by wearing baggy clothes. This will prevent strangers from coming up to you, invading your space, but won’t stop loved ones who will KNOW you’re pregnant.
Another fun clothes idea is to purchase a joke t-shirt with a ‘Don’t Touch The Bump’ caption on the front. Again, it’s a humorous way of making your point with minimal fuss.
About this article: This article has been written by Mary Murphy, the communications manager for Irish based website www.eumom.ie – Ireland’s largest online community website for mothers with over 100,000 members. The website publishes regular articles, advice and tips on pregnancy and articles about parenting. Feel free to visit the website and join our happy community – www.eumom.ie