I'm expecting my first baby, and several of the older at women at work like to play "pat the tummy" with my stomach. I am not much of a touchy-feely person, and them touching me like that seems like a total invasion of my personal space. I want them to stop, but I also don't want to be mean. How can I get them to back off, without alienating them totally?
The expert answers:
There must be something about pregnant women that make others want to reach out and touch... almost like a moth drawn to a flame. I have always found that pregnant women either don't mind others touching their belly or they are so averse to it that they want to strike out at the person.
I think it would be fair to say that you fall into the latter category. There is nothing wrong with wanting others to keep their hands off your ever-expanding belly. Naturally, you don't want to rude and yell, "Back off ladies or you'll be sorry," but a more gentle approach, I am sure, would be quite effective.
Next time your see those hands reaching for a tummy pat, step back and with a smile say, "I think it must be my wild hormone levels, and I hope you don't mind, but having others touch my belly makes me uncomfortable." You can even try to cushion it (as to not cause hurt feelings) by adding, "I didn't mind it before, but my obstetrician said it happens sometimes."
And for all those out there who feel their hands being drawn to a swollen belly, remember, ask before you pat!