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Advice on Keeping Tummy Rubbers at Bay

Mommy Dearest: Keeping Some Personal Space

Mommy Dearest,

I am pregnant for the first time and have found that I am not a fan of people rubbing my belly. Unfortunately, one of my cousins is a baby patter and chatter. Every time she sees me, she goes straight for my stomach, kisses it, and starts babytalking my tummy while she smooths her hand over it.

How can I tell her to back off my bump without hurting her feelings?

— Don't Pat the Bump

To see Mommy Dearest's response,


Don't Pat the Bump,

I can completely understand where you are coming from since I cannot stomach belly pats from anyone other than my daughter or hubby. Unfortunately, friends, family, and strangers often assume that an expectant mother welcomes the tummy rub.

As painful as it may be, honesty is the best policy. The next time you encounter your affectionate cousin, try to catch her eye before she goes down for the baby talk and have a frank discussion about your hesitation. I once told my friend, "I need my personal space — especially down below. But, as soon as our baby enters the world, you can kiss and snuggle it as much as you'd like. In the meantime, the bump is off limits!" She chuckled at my warning and never went near the belly again.

— Mommy Dearest

Submit a question for this feature at the Mommy Dearest Group on TeamSugar.


Join The Conversation
ellwhy ellwhy 9 years
I made myself a metrnity tee (cafe press or some other one-off place is great for stuff like this) with a pic of a monster on it that said "Touch the belly, lose a finger!" Lots of people laughed at it, and more than a few women told me they wished they'd had one when they were pregnant. I was also very, very nauseous with my first pregnancy, and found that if I told people that being touched made me feel like I was going to barf, they stayed pretty far away. :)
FrankiLee FrankiLee 9 years
LilRuck44...I do the same thing too! But sometimes people aren't as intelligent and don't catch on, unfortunately :( I was in Wal-Mart the other day, and a total stranger first put her hand on my shoulder (she came up from behind me, at first I thought it was someone I knew, because what random person would do that?) and I turned around with a puzzled look on my face, and she just started rubbing my belly. I was very uncomfortable with that! I tried the turn away and hold my belly thing, but she just didn't get it! So I tried to end the exchange as quickly as I could and walked away, very fast, lol. I've only got two weeks to go until my due date, so I will be done with belly rubbers by then...but then you've got to worry about the people who touch your baby with no invitation! It never ends!
Greggie Greggie 9 years
I'm untouchy to begin with. I am not comfortable with hugging unless I know the person really well. But I've always loved cuddling with my kids, so feeling so uncomfortable with that while pregnant this time really threw me for a loop. Even now I cringe internally a bit at it except with the baby, but still put it aside so they don't have to give that up. Yet somehow I give off a "touch me/hug me" vibe because people always seem to think it's ok. I wasn't outwardly hormonal, though. At least most of the time. I always make sure I check with my husband to be sure I'm not being irrational. And he's honest if I am, he doesn't pull the "No honey, you're fine!" and let me piss people off using pregnancy as an excuse because he knows that's a huge peeve of mine.
schnappycat schnappycat 9 years
Actually, I really shouldn't have scared anyone because I wasn't that crazy or hormonal at all. Hrmpf. I must just have un-touchy friends.
kikidawn kikidawn 9 years
I don't think I'll have a problem with it personally. (Unless something happens with my hormones during my pregnancy like it did with Greggie). My family is already very touchy and hugs a lot :) So I know all of them will touch it and I won't mind :) On my SO's side I know his mom will and possibly his sister and brother, but I don't think his dad will. He is a very hands off person. I've only ever seen him hug his son 1 time in 5 years and he has only given me 1 in the same amount of time. (both times when we graduated) When we have the kids I know he will cuddle with and hug them then, but probably not when they are in me! As much as I know I will be ok with it I do respect that other people aren't so I won't just touch and I find it weird to ask strangers! Really who does that? Since I don't know anyone who is pregnant I haven't touched a pregnant belly in a long time!
roxtarchic roxtarchic 9 years
i was like that schnappy... i think i scared people (i scared myself sometimes i was SOOO hormonal) but i'm GLAD noone touched... i didnt go postal on anyone & most close friends asked first, (i guess they had reason to be scared) haha (and i'm sure it's scared, not repulsed)!
anniekim anniekim 9 years
schnappy--I feel the same way sometimes! Isn't my belly pattable enough? But i guess if it happens all the time it must get old.
schnappycat schnappycat 9 years
I must scare or repulse people because no one ever patted my belly, with permission or not. And I had a cute round belly. Somehow I'm a bit sad about that. I don't think it would have bothered me though.
anniekim anniekim 9 years
Wait--my sister-in -law loves to pat the belly! But with her it is all some alternative energy vibe thing so I go with the flow.
anniekim anniekim 9 years
I just never have had people do this to me when pregnant, but I know it is common problem. Straight forward approach, polite but with some humor seems best. I like Greggie's idea of using the pregnancy/hormones as the reason. Pretty difficult to be offended by that. I sometimes feel the urge to pat a belly myself--but I never do it.
Greggie Greggie 9 years
For me, it was definitely worth saying something. The discomfort it gave me was so huge that I'd nearly be in tears. If someone asked first and prepared me, I'd almost always be more than happy to let them rub it. I agree that most people don't even think about it, but that doesn't mean they shouldn't. They'll never think about it and realize what they're doing unless someone politely lets them know it's an invasion.
SweetnLow SweetnLow 9 years
If someone reached for my belly, I would pull my arm across it like a football, give them put out the other hand and say, "Whoa, the baby so hungry these days, you might draw back a nub." We called it "the heisman." They'd laugh, but they would get it.
LiLRuck44 LiLRuck44 9 years
When random people tried to rub I would just turn away and hold my belly, smile and give that nervous/forced laugh and they totally got the point. But I didn't really care about those people's feelings, because they were only strangers. Friends and family members on the other hand, saying something wasn't worth it for me so I just dealt with it. Sure it's a violation, I definitely agree, but it's big, out there, and sort of tempting. Most people probably don't even think about what they're doing.
blackjade blackjade 9 years
My in-laws are the same way. They've never been touchy-feely people but since I've really started showing, the moment I walk into their house they go straight for the belly and just stand there rubbing it while they're talking. ewww. I probably won't say anything since we don't go over that much. They're also from a different culture so I don't want to offend them.
GlowingMoon GlowingMoon 9 years
OMG, I can't believe some people. I would never touch a woman's pregnant belly. That's just violating a boundary, in my opinion. I've never been pregnant, but I would hate it if someone petted my belly.
pinkprincess1101 pinkprincess1101 9 years
lmfao greggie and honey693
honey693 honey693 9 years
Next time she does it pat her belly. Then if she says anything look confused and say "Well you touched mine, I thought you wanted a belly pat too."
Greggie Greggie 9 years
I'd start with politely asking her not to do that. Use pregnancy as an excuse. "I've found that since I've been pregnant, people touching me makes me very uncomfortable. Even shaking hands puts me on edge these days." (This is actually what happened to me with my last pregnancy, I could hardly even handle cuddling with my older kids although I did set aside my discomfort for their sake.) If that doesn't work, get a tshirt that says "This is not a petting zoo." ;) I will never understand why people think a pregnant belly is an open invitation for touching. Or why I should feel guilty for asking them not to.
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