Pregnant folks are people, too — yet society tends to treat them like baby incubators! There’s something about pregnancy that makes people forget you are still an actual person with boundaries who probably (definitely) does not like being touched without being asked. You would think people who have been pregnant before would know this, but that is not always the case. One first-time pregnant mom wrote about her experience with her mother-in-law constantly touching her baby bump, and Reddit offered her the best comeback ideas.
In the “Am I The A—hole?” subreddit, a mom wrote that she is pregnant with her and her husband’s first baby, but their excitement is somewhat hampered by his parents.
“We’ve have some ups and downs with his parents because they don’t understand boundaries, but overall it’s been really good,” she wrote, adding that she, a 24-year-old woman, came from an abusive home and “can’t stand being touched.”
“Before getting pregnant this wasn’t a problem with my in-laws, but now that I’m carrying a baby, it’s been awful with my MIL and my SIL because they think they can touch my belly whenever they want to,” she added. “Both my husband and I have talked to them, and said that while I would rather they don’t touch me at all, I can understand this is a big thing as a family, so I would simply like being asked instead of just feeling a hand at random times.”
She sounds super reasonable. She is already giving up her personal boundaries — since she doesn’t like being touched ever — and simply asking them to ask her instead of just reaching out to touch her stomach. It’s the bare minimum people! But apparently, this is too much of an ask for them.
“They rarely do it, so I just move when they touch me,” she added. So rude, right?
The situation escalated at her recent baby shower. At one point, she was relaxing and eating cake (like everyone who’s incubating a baby damn well should!) when her mother-in-law came over and put her hand on her bump. While she’s eating, no less!
“I just didn’t like it,” the mom wrote. “So I took her hand, removed it and said ‘No, no, you know I’ve told you not to touch without asking first. You know how to ask first, don’t you? It’s easy!’ with the most condescending voice I had. Both my MIL and my FIL’s sister looked at me shocked, and then my FIL’s sister laughed but my MIL got red in the face.”
Public embarrassment is totally OK when you are knowingly overstepping boundaries again to touch this woman without asking. It’s ridiculous! The mother-in-law was not happy, and she ended up confronting the mom.
“My MIL approached me and said that what I did wasn’t nice and she just ‘slipped’ so I didn’t had to treat her like a kid,” she wrote. “I just smiled and said that she touching me after being asked a million times not to was a kid behavior and I just called her out on that. She left, very sad, and when we got home, my FIL called my husband and said he would love for both of us to apologize to each other, but I said no. So he called me an AH.”
Good for her for sticking up for herself! Redditors completely agreed. “NTA. I hate being touched,” one person wrote. “Everyone thinks being pregnant makes you public property. Stand your ground, enforce your boundaries, and tell her off every time.”
Many even offered more comebacks she can use when her mother-in-law (or anyone else) tries to touch her bump without asking.
“Country neighbor I had told her friend a solid one-liner I’ll never forget,” another said. “’If you didn’t help bake the cake, keep your hands away from the oven.’”
Someone responded to that post, writing, “Even if you helped bake the cake you should still respect the mom if she doesn’t want to be touched. When I was pregnant with my second child I was regularly completely touched out, which meant even my husband sometimes wasn’t allowed to touch my belly because I just couldn’t stand to be touched any more after being touched nearly 24/7 by my oldest.”
“Yup. I HATED being touched. I’m very short and had twins … as such my belly made me look like a walking circus attraction and strangers would touch me ALL THE TIME,” another mom wrote. “I would alternate between slapping their hands away and yelling or feeling up their bellies back. Pregnancy was awful so I was definitely not a happy pregnant lady haha. Women don’t become public property because they’re pregnant and people need to get that through their damn heads.” So true — and we love the suggestion to touch their bellies back. How do you like it, huh?
“In the Black community, a lot of the older generations like to say ‘don’t let everyone touch your belly,’” Someone else wrote. “Because everyone doesn’t have good intentions, and everyone’s energy isn’t right, and you shouldn’t be letting everyone touch your belly when you’re pregnant, because not only are you vulnerable physically, but you’re in a very vulnerable spot spiritually too.”
“I used to tell people that if they touch my belly, I’d touch their vagina,” another added. Shocking, maybe, but it gets the point across!
Some people reiterated that you don’t have to “ask nicely” if someone is disrespecting your boundaries. “NTA. Sometimes people don’t understand when you ask nicely,” they wrote. “My friend grabbed a strangers boob when the stranger touched her belly. The stranger was shocked and my friend said ‘oh I thought we were grabbing each other’s bodies, my bad!’”
Others even offered a suggestion for what the mother-in-law could have said. “The proper response from your MIL would have been, ‘I’m so sorry, OP. You’re right,’” they wrote. “’You’ve been very clear about this and I let it slip my mind. I’ll remember to ask permission before touching you in the future. Please forgive me.’ There, done and dusted. But instead, she chose to be offended.”
Very true. Just be nice, show some respect, and please ask permission before touching somebody, baby bump or not.
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