By Sarah Naomi Clark, special to JenniferMargulis.net
Oh the belly touching.
Oh my gosh, it just really ticks them off!
And yes, this girl is stupid enough to disagree and issue a giant, “CHILL OUT,” to the pregnant ladies of the world.
There are three main reasons why you should embrace the belly touching rather than hate it.
- Not that many people touch the belly
I realize I haven’t done a dozen double-blind studies correctly numbering the probability and frequency of belly touching during pregnancy. I can say that in four pregnancies in three states I had a grand total of TWO people who actually touched my belly. TWO. (And they were nice people who I worked with and they asked first.)
I know. This is obviously a serious addiction and world wide epidemic. Something must be done!
- People are EXCITED about your baby
I know we don’t always like the way this excitement about our baby comes out. I know I got tired of hearing how strangers were “absolutely sure” I was having twins next week when I was only six months pregnant. This is the downside of pregnancy.
The upside of pregnancy and seemingly rude strangers is that the world is excited about your baby.
YOU—a stranger—they are happy about your growing life.
How often does the world celebrate the joy of a stranger?
Not often enough. So accept their joy and celebration when you get it.
Believe me, a lot fewer people celebrate when you are pregnant with your fourth and your almost two-year-old is busy climbing out of the cart while wetting herself.
- The joy over a new life still unites humanity
I realize it sounds a little cheesy to talk about the unification of humanity, but it is true.
People are different.
They have a tendency to argue, disagree, not get along and basically be pretty lame to one another.
Family, children, love, loss, weight, babies, crying, pain—the things that go along with pregnancy and birth—are close to universal.
How can we be irritated when people love that you are pregnant and want to touch your growing belly to acknowledge this miraculous cycle of life?
I love having a grandma tell me about the four kids she raised or a dad tell me that he thinks breastfeeding is great and that is what his wife did. I love that something so intimate can also be so universal. I love that strangers who would never talk to one another otherwise can strike up a random conversation about the things in life that matter most.
I know it is hard to be told you look huge or ready to pop or have people question if your due date is really that far away. I get it. It doesn’t always feel good.
But wouldn’t we all be a little better off if we embraced the openness that pregnancy inspired?
If a little grandma reaches to touch your belly, don’t be offended. Share your gift with her by letting her remember the days when she was the one on the brink of giving birth to a new life.
There are so few things that unite us all as human beings.
Go ahead, touch my belly!
Sarah Clark is a mother of four and a natural childbirth instructor in northern California. She is also an instructor trainer and board member for Birth Boot Camp, Inc., a company specializing in preparing couples for natural birth through both in-person or online childbirth classes. She loves seeing all those pregnant bellies, but she always asks first before she touches them.