This Pregnant Reddit User Wants People to Know That Her Baby Bump Isn't "Public Property"
Bodily autonomy doesn't fly out the window just because you're carrying a child.
This story originally appeared on Parents.com by Zara Hanawalt.
When I was six months pregnant, someone pointed to my belly and said "oh, that makes sense" when I told her I was carrying twins — just a few hours after someone else commented that I was "too small" for that particular point in my pregnancy. Nearly every mom friend of mine has experienced the famous uninvited belly rubs or touches; they almost seem like a rite of passage for pregnant people. And having a stranger at Starbucks ask if they can "feel a kick" right before telling you not to order anything with caffeine? Yup, sounds like a typical preggo encounter. People seem to think pregnancy makes your body fair game for unsolicited commentary, advice, and touching. (Related: This Woman Won't Stand for People Shaming Her Small Baby Bump)
But here's one you probably haven't heard before.
"Ever since we told the family I'm pregnant, MIL has been very touchy and affectionate," a pregnant Reddit user posted. "Rubbing my belly all over every single time we see each other and baby talking to her grandchild. Now I really don't mind family touching my belly occasionally but I'm cool with like a quick pat, hey little one. Not the straight up gropefest I get from MIL. But I never made her stop, not wanting to rock the boat."
But all that changed when the mother-in-law took it to a new level. The mother-in-law wrapped her arms around the baby bump and repeatedly kissed "the baby".
Now, naturally, this made the original poster incredibly uncomfortable. She mentioned this to her husband, who shrugged it off and blamed his mother's excitement. And when the poster asked him how he would feel if her mother kissed his belly, he said, "Well it's different, you have a baby in there."
But here's the thing: It's not different. Because bodily autonomy doesn't fly out the window just because you're carrying a child. The pregnant woman left her husband with this mic drop quote: "Just because I'm pregnant doesn't make my body public property." (Related: This Pregnant Sports Reporter Is Too Busy Crushing Her Job to Let Body-Shamers Troll Her)
This is such an important point. Look, we get the mother-in-law's overwhelming excitement. We also get that maybe she didn't realize her daughter-in-law wasn't comfortable with her actions. The good news? The poster spoke up for herself and it seems the mother-in-law accepted those boundaries.
We understand that people want to get close to the sweet little baby growing inside a pregnant person's body. But we can't forget that it's still the pregnant person's body. It's not just a vessel to carry a child. It's not a piece of public property. It's not a thing you can comment on or touch without permission. And it's certainly not something you should ever put your lips on — unless, of course, the pregnant person invites you to do so.
So let's remember that pregnant bodies still belong to their owners and that we need to respect the boundaries of those owners. And if you ever feel uncomfortable with someone's actions? Well, you have every right to speak up for yourself just like this expectant parent did.