It has come to my attention recently that the general public has no idea how to act around pregnant women. I plan to elaborate on this in future posts, but the issue weighing heavily on my mind today is this: What are people thinking when they just assume they can touch a pregnant woman’s belly? If you ask me, there are certain criteria a potential belly toucher needs to meet–certain questions they should be sure they can answer ‘yes’ to–before extending that hand.
It seems that if most people do ask themselves any questions, they are assinine ones such as the following:
- Does she look like she could be pregnant?
- Do I like babies?
- Are we in a public place, where she is probably unlikely to slap me?
Then again, it isn’t always strangers who do this. Some people out there could be asking themselves slightly better questions, like:
- Am I 100% sure she’s pregnant?
- Am I related to this woman, or to her partner?
- Has she engaged me in conversation at any point in the past?
- Is she generally an easygoing person who probably won’t mind this at all?
Either way, I am here to tell you, General Public, those are not the questions you need to be asking yourself. If you see a pregnant woman and you find your hand is drawn to her midsection as if by magnetic force, get ahold of yourself and ponder these questions instead:
- Am I a trained physician or other healthcare professional, employed by this woman, and has she come to me today for an examination?
- Am I intimately involved with this woman, to the extent that I believe myself to be the father of her child?
- Has she invited me, specifically, to “feel the baby,” or to touch her stomach for any other reason today?
- Would I be comfortable with this person rubbing, patting or otherwise physically examining MY abdomen?
- Do I consider myself to be an equal opportunity belly toucher? After rubbing this pregnant woman, do I also intend to grab the belly of the next human being I come into contact with, even if that person happens to be a small child or an elderly man?
If you could not answer ‘yes’ to any of those last five questions, you are strongly advised to keep your hands to yourself in the presence of said pregnant woman. Alternatively, you may want to use both hands to sheild your face from an impending slap. Please do not try to circumvent these guidelines by asking the woman in question for permission to touch her belly. This is as awkward as being politely asked whether you’d mind if someone picked your nose. Of course you mind! But the entire exchange is now terribly awkward regardless of the answer you give.