Well before I became pregnant, I was aware of the "belly patting debate." For as long as I can remember, it seems like we've been a world divided. There are the pregnant women who don't mind friends, relatives, and complete strangers patting their protruding bellies with glee; and there are those who can't stand the idea and are shocked that evolved humans would even consider doing such a thing.
Despite my not being one of those people who recoils at others' touches (Hugs? Bring 'em on!), I thought I'd fall into the latter category once I got pregnant. Patting a woman's body part without permission (especially a body part that lies in between the boobs and vag) does seem pretty damn intrusive. So, I surprised myself when I learned that, actually, I didn't mind it at all. I even found it sort of sweet.
However, there was one thing people did that bothered the everliving shit out of me: Kissing my belly. Yes, kissing.
I'm not talking about perfect strangers here. Fortunately, I've never been subject to walking onto a crowded subway or into a Trader Joe's to be met with random people's lips pressed against my round belly, but I have had close friends and family do it to me. Without permission. (Sometimes with lipstick on!) And to be honest, I find it kind of disgusting.
I get what their intention is, and when you think about it in black and white terms, the gesture is rather sweet: They want to show your unborn baby just how much they love them by giving them a kiss! But the thing is, the unborn baby is still inside me. So, they're not giving the baby a kiss; they're giving me a kiss. And I didn't ask for one. Especially one that's on my midsection.
For as demonstrative and gregarious as I sometimes consider myself to be, kissing one's belly is just too much for me. It's where I draw the line. It makes me feel uncomfortable, kind of violated, and gives me a visceral reaction. In laymen's terms, it may or may not take everything inside of me to not swat the kissing person's head away from my stomach.
Other women may beg to differ, though. Just as I do with the belly patting thing. Guess it's what makes the (pregnant) world go round. But, seriously, unless you're my husband, don't ever kiss my belly.
Did you mind people patting (or kissing) your pregnant belly?
Image via emilianohorcado/Flickr