I'm not big enough to attract the unwanted belly attention so many pregnant women get. For this I'm very glad.
I'm not sure I'll even get it. I have this uncanny ability to ward people off with my eyes. While it is possible for the socially inept to miss my death glare, generally when I don't want to speak to people, they stay away. I hope this will be the case with my belly, but I'm not holding my breath.
I'm not talking about people asking about the pregnancy. I know that is unavoidable. I know I'll get the stupid comments about how I look bigger or smaller than my number of weeks. I've already gotten plenty of "sleep now because you won't later." These things might be mildly annoying but they aren't bad.
It's the touching thing that concerns me.
The abdomen is a vulnerable place on the body. It is an intimate place. All our vital organs (with one exception) are located there. I have always been sensitive about my belly. It is one body part I've always been self-conscious about, even when I've felt really good in my own skin.
These things alone are enough for me to want no one (unless invited) to touch my belly.
Even still, let's add one more thing. Adult touch is layered with meaning, particularly status. A person of higher status can touch a person of lower status without any real meaning. If a person of lower status touches one of higher status, it implies sexual interest. These things aren't conscious, but are very much a part of how we as humans understand the world as social beings.
The problem arises when someone assumes they are higher status.
I will put several things out there for thought.
I NEVER expect ANYONE to touch me. The exceptions are my friends, family members, and those of clearly higher status (older, C-level executive types or other *highly* accomplished individuals). Those of a clearly higher status are only able to touch my shoulder, arm, and give me a greeting. Anything else is unacceptable to me.
If anyone who is unknown to me touches me, it raises every hackle in my being. If a stranger or acquaintance assumes it is okay to touch me, I get very upset. This is because I feel they don't know my social rank, and I don't know theirs. The assumption before I was pregnant was made based on my sex, which I feel comfortable saying, I am definitely higher in the pecking order than many men, and therefore is a false assumption.
I don't know if the need to touch a pregnant woman has anything to do with status. It might be worship.
For anyone who has been to a Hindu temple you'll know what I mean immediately. I remember a Devi temple where the press of bodies in the idol room was so intense one wrong step and you'd have been trampled. The fervor of the devotees was immense. But how does this relate to touching a pregnant woman's belly?
Just think - pregnancy is the closest to creation a human can get. All the art and fabrication in the world is nothing compared to the power of the womb. If you were standing that close to a saint or to the Creator, wouldn't you want to touch her? To receive her blessing?
I understand the urge. I do.
And it doesn't fricking matter. You touch me uninvited and I'm touching you right back - possibly with a snappy comment to boot.
My body is not public property. It's a private shrine. Membership is exclusive. Ne me touche pas!