I have been reading your site for a couple of years now and I really enjoy it. I have learned so many great ways to handle awkward situations.
Quite a while ago, there was a post about people touching others without permission. One of the main points of discussion was how people seem to do this to pregnant women. Once you start showing, it’s like you are fair game for anyone who wants to touch your belly. I don’t know who started the idea that pregnant women enjoy this, but I hope that they get schooled on why that is not true.
I am pregnant with my third child. I experienced people touching or trying to touch me without permission during my first and second pregnancies and now that I am showing, it is happening again. This time however, it seems to be happening more frequently and it’s not just “little old ladies”, like it was before. I wanted to share two of the most recent encounters I had with “touchers” and get the Dame and the E-hellions opinions on how I handled them.
First encounter: I was out running errands and shopping. I had already told one person who asked to touch my belly no. They were ok with it. After that, I was thinking about how one of the commenters in the post I referred to earlier saying her sister started rubbing the bellies of people who would rub hers when she was pregnant. I thought how great an idea that was and that I would do that to next person who touched me, or tried to, to see how they would respond.
I had to go to Wal-Mart to pick up something I had ordered online. As I was standing in line at the pickup counter a woman, who appeared to be maybe in her early 40’s, walked up to me with her arms extended and I knew what she was going to do. When she stopped in front and just to the side of me and started reaching for my belly and asking how far along I was, I quickly raised and extended my arms and managed to rub her belly first. She gasped, stepped back and yelled, “What do you think you are doing?!” I calmly replied, “You were going to touch my belly without asking, so I decided to see how you would like it if a complete stranger just started touching you” She yelled, “No one has ever minded before!”, and a few other things I couldn’t quite hear as she was stomping off. I thought, “Good for her but I do mind and I don’t want to be touched.”
The second encounter happened just a few hours ago, as I was standing in the check-out line at the grocery store. I heard a child in the next line talking to someone who turned out to be his mother. It sounded like he was asking her something, but I couldn’t make out the words. I heard the mother say, “Sure honey, go ahead.” A split second later, a small boy appeared in front of me and started forcefully, painfully rubbing my belly. As I instinctively reached out to grasp his hands to stop him, I heard his mom telling another lady in line how little “Johnny” loved to feel babies kicking.
The instant she realized I had grasped his hands to make him stop she raced over saying, “What are you doing? Why are you holding his hands?” I replied, “I don’t like strangers touching me without permission and your son was hurting me.” She said, “He’s not a stranger, he’s a child! He was just trying to get the baby to kick! He’s not hurting you!” I said,”He is a stranger to me and he was hurting me. You really should not encourage or give him permission to touch strangers, pregnant or not, as some people might accidentally hurt him if he just walks up and puts his hands on people.” She sneered at me and said, “You think you are special because you’re pregnant? My husband is a police officer! I’m going to call him and tell him you threatened to hit our baby and he will have you arrested!” Her son said, “Daddy’s not a policeman.”
Then, the woman in line behind me said, “Maybe I should call my husband, County Sheriff “Smith” and tell him that your son is assaulting a pregnant woman and you are threatening her. Then both of you can get arrested.” She pulled out her cell phone and said, “Shall I?” The woman and her kid went back to their line, fast, and the woman never said another word. Her son kept asking her why she said daddy was a policeman, but she never answered him.
I profusely thanked the sheriff’s wife. She said she was glad to help because she got tired of hearing parents threaten to call the police on someone because people would not let others’ children “run over them.”
I don’t think I was wrong to stop the child from touching me or the woman at Wal-Mart. What does the E-Hell community think? 0110-15
I don’t think I would have touched Woman #1 first. If one believes touching by strangers is a violation of personal space, why compound the problem by doing the very thing to someone else? In other words, one loses credibility in regards to how offensive stranger touching is if you also engage in the same practice. If bellies are off limits, they are off limits to everyone. I much prefer the firm removal of the hand off my body accompanied with, “What do you think you are doing?”, in an appropriately indignant and stunned tone of voice.