Hands Off Please, Strangers!

Image via Flickr/OksMongoose
Image via Flickr/OksMongoose

 

If there’s one thing I don’t enjoy, it’s people touching my stomach — it just reminds me of the washboard abs I don’t have. Fortunately, as a non-pregnant person, occasions when that might occur are pretty limited. The people in my life are mostly normal, I’m rarely around touchy strangers, and since entering my 20s tickle fights have become almost obsolete. Were I ever to be in a situation where people felt it was perfectly acceptable to burst my personal space bubble with their unnecessarily eager hands, I’d probably be fairly irritated. Because of this, I have great sympathy for pregnant women everywhere who feel almost obliged to allow handsy strangers to touch their baby bump.

Luckily, the can't-say-no people pleasers of Pennsylvania no longer have to worry about this. The state recently renewed an expanded law, allowing pregnant women to press charges against strangers for touching their belly excessively, according to the Las Vegas Guardian Express.

So for those of us who don’t live in Pennsylvania, how should we best handle unwanted belly touching? I’ve carefully weighed up the pros and cons of a few options…

To be honest, I find it a little bizarre that this law even needed to be made. One might think our society’s general social norms would protect expectant mothers from situations involving strangers and touching. Nope—for a long time women have had to accept that getting pregnant is like signing yourself up for a kissing booth . . . except instead of kissing it’s touching . . . and instead of your lips it’s the skin protecting your unborn child.

This might just be a mild annoyance for some women, but for others, who have complicated or sensitive pregnancies, it can be really difficult to handle. Pregnancy doesn’t usually find you at your most peaceful, so telling uninvited hands to back off can be tough to do without offending someone.  

So for those of us who don’t live in Pennsylvania, how should we best handle unwanted belly touching? I’ve carefully weighed up the pros and cons of a few options, and come to the following conclusions:

  • Warning clothing (such as t-shirts that say “Please don’t touch my bump!”)

Pros: You won’t have to say anything, because your shirt speaks for itself, you, and your baby.

Cons: To make this an effective personal space bubble protector for, let’s say 6 months, you’d have to be either really committed to regular laundry, or willing to part with a fairly large sum of money to fund your social comfort.

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Conclusion: Potentially effective and endearing, but potentially cheesy and difficult to match with the rest of your stylish closet. 

  • The touch-for-touch method (they touch your belly, you touch theirs!)

Pros: Beat wandering hands at their own game! Enjoy watching others squirm and be confused as you catch them off-guard.

Cons: You risk of coming off as “that weird pregnant lady.” It also doesn’t actually stop the hands touching you in the first place.

Conclusion: It’s a little 6th grade.

  • Unleash your alpha female and tell touchy strangers what’s up

Pros: The hands will instantly return to their original owners, and other citizens won’t dare go in for a feel.
Cons:
It’s a little aggressive, and won’t portray you as the vision of  pregnant stability you may hope to be seen as.
Conclusion:
Only for the very strong-willed!

  • Stay silent and subject your bump to as much touching as others see fit to inflict upon you

Pros: You’ll be a peacemaker, and will cultivate a spirit of tolerance . . . maybe.

Cons: You’ll have to accept that anyone and his mother could touch your bump on any given day.

Conclusion: I’d probably just choose this option. Maybe it’s ok to be a pushover . . .?

  • Move to Pennsylvania

Pros: No more bump touching by strangers! Hooray!

Cons: Might not fit in with your current life circumstances.

Conclusion: If you’re looking to relocate, and are extremely passionate about this topic, I say go for it.

What has been your experience with strangers touching your baby bump? Are you completely fine with it, or does it get you a little riled at times?

What do you think?

Hands Off Please, Strangers!

Samantha Shelley is a student of Communication and Advertising at BYU-Idaho, who also works as a copywriter for Soapbox Agency. She is an avid promoter of happiness, being active, and Taylor Swift. In her spare time she enjoys singing, playing guitar, dancing, building ponds, and watching videos of kittens doing adorable things. Though currently 21 and unmarried, Samantha plans to one day have a family big enough to sing in at least 8-part harmonies. She would also like her children to continue ... More

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2 comments

  1. KEIYONDA says:

    USUALLY I ONLY HAVE FAMILY TOUCHING ME.

  2. Flo says:

    Luckily I haven’t experienced strangers trying to touch my stomach. I am quite sure that I would more than likely push their hands away and firmly tell them why they won’t be touching my belly. That is so RUDE!!!! If my husband is with me he would more than likely snap as he is very protective these days.

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