Rewind eight months and I’m at work, standing at the coffee machine getting my only caffeine fix of the day, my morning ritual. Suddenly I feel something on my very pregnant belly. I look down to see a hand… Not my hand.
I have never been the type of person who wants to touch a pregnant woman’s belly… especially the belly of someone I didn’t know. But I know there are those woman out there. When I was pregnant with my little girl, I met many of them. Well my belly did! I was continually amazed at how many people I didn’t know, would reach out for a feel. Perhaps I would’ve understood if they could feel something, or if I had commented that she was moving and invited them to feel – but no! No permission was sought. No invitation had been extended… Just hands placed where they were not wanted. They didn’t even know me!
However, knowing those people were out there – I half expected that to happen. What I wasn’t expecting was the unwanted attention towards my daughter. This compulsive need of some people to touch a stranger’s pregnant belly, extends to touching stranger’s babies. I have had perfect strangers stride across shopping aisles, parking lots and food courts to touch my daughter. Again, this attention is unwanted and uninvited. Now, I don’t mean to sound nasty or like I don’t want anyone to interact with my child… but I can’t understand how somebody thinks it’s appropriate to touch my daughter’s face, squeeze her cheeks, etc when they don’t know me or her. Especially when they haven’t even acknowledged me, or attempted to gain some kind of assurance that I would be welcoming of their advances, before reaching out for my daughter. I don’t know where their hands have been!
This unwanted touching could potentially cause real problems. My husband has a peanut allergy. To date, I don’t know if my daughter has inherited this allergy. The way to test this is to smear some peanut butter on her skin and see if she reacts. If someone was to touch her with hands that had recently been in contact with peanut butter or peanut oil – this could potentially cause a reaction.
I’ve just come to the conclusion that these must be the same people who feel the need to reach out and touch a stranger’s pregnant belly.
My husband feels I should confront these people, but I find that idea difficult because;
a. Their actions catch me by surprise and by the time I’ve come to terms with what’s happening, they’ve often moved on.
b. For some reason, I don’t want to offend these strangers. Especially as they are usually older women who seem harmless and they think my daughter is lovely – which is quite sweet really.
c. I can never think of what to say when it’s happening.
… It would also help if my daughter didn’t smile and laugh so much when given compliments by random strangers.