I’m not sure where people get the idea that a pregnant woman’s belly is an open access area. It’s almost as if they think that now that there’s a baby visibly in there, it’s no longer actually attached to rest of the body. My bump might as well have a “Touch me, love me, lick me” sign posted on it and marked spots for randomers to stick their territorial flags.
Whenever anyone startles me by touching my bump uninvited, I wonder if pregnancy has somehow desexualised me in their eyes. Because, if I wasn’t carrying and they touched me there without warning, it would be umm….a touch inappropriate?
Now, I’m not talking about girl friends I know fairly well having a playful pat. There’s something sweet about them acknowledging the creature and how she’s growing. My “beef” is with strangers and people I’ve just met, and anyone who thinks it’s OK to full-on grope or rub my belly. What. The. Chicken wings.
What they’re touching, whether they believe it or not, is not all baby. They’re touching me. That’s my skin. It’s sensitive. I can feel them.[To be fair, I’ve never really been down with the whole touching thing. Touching is peer pressure issue for me. The choice between shouting to you in a noisy room and drawing close depends heavily on how well I feel we know each other. Hugging, though something I enjoy, is a learned practice. I’ll revel in Carnival but endure the crowds. Wining* is something I did as a teen because I was supposed to. I would likely never do it now, mainly because a) I was never comfortable with it b) My British husband would never get how rubbing up on some guy friend was not necessarily sexual and c) I’m fast losing hope that my pelvis will ever again be that flexible or pain free. You get the gist. I’m not a toucher by nature.]
Sometimes belly-gropers have put a hand or head a little too close to my lady bits, though I know they didn’t mean to. Those are still there, somewhere… even if I can’t see them from my vantage point anymore. I promise I didn’t somehow lose them when I gained this protrusion.
Again, the point is not that people can’t touch. I’d love to share the kicks and movements – once we actually know each other. Though, even then, a little eye-contact couldn’t hurt. I’m just saying that if the gropers don’t start asking first, they should be prepared.
I am going to touching back.
*Wining is basically Trini gyrating. A travel author whose chapter on Trinidad I helped proof described it as “erotic” but I’ve never found it much of a turn-on.
Image: Henna by Heather