I’m almost 14 weeks pregnant, and I’ve only really been showing for the past two. Already, there have been three accounts of people patting or rubbing my abdomen without asking. From what I hear, this is common. Strangers on the train will put their hands on my expanded middle.
For me, this is not a big deal. It’s not that I don’t have personal space, it’s that my bubble includes everyone else.
For others, I can imagine this would be startling at the very least, and bring on atavistic rage at the most.
I do find this incredibly interesting, from a sociological perspective. Our culture seems to celebrate pregnant women, which I assume is a celebration that we haven’t become inept at procreation. Pregnancy is also a temporary state, so unless you troll maternity wards, you don’t tend to have a steady stream of pregnant women in your life. It’s powerful that growing a baby is something gives everyone else the go-ahead to cross the don’t-touch-strangers-in-the-midsection boundary.
Just so you know, I’m totally willing to let anyone touch my belly. I wonder if that will change as the baby (and I) get larger, and I start to get that mama animal, primal thing. I’ll let you know.