When I first got pregnant, nobody warned me that for five months my body would spread outwards in all directions, so I’d look more like I was carrying a double helping of deep fried Oreos than gestating a baby.
And nobody warned me that not only could depression whack you off your feet after a baby, it could creep up on you during pregnancy, infusing your hormone-ridden body with low grade anxiety and sadness.
But one thing I was warned about, over and over again: people are going to touch your belly, I was told. Strangers are going to put their hands on your body.
And that freaked me out. I don’t like to be touched by people I don’t know. I have been known to get irrationally furious if someone brushes their hand against mine when passing me in the street. I love cuddling with people I love, but I am uncomfortable with the touch of strangers.
So I waited, anxiously, for the intrusions.
They never came.
My friend patted my stomach once, which was fine.
My brother’s wife’s grandmother put her knobby hands on my stomach last month, and it was sweet.
And that was all.
I’ve been told that I can appear stand-offish, and I have been screamed at by too many passing men in cars to “smile!” so maybe my mean face scared people off from touching me.
Strangely, instead of feeling relieved, I felt cheated. It’s not like I have family I can call up every night and chat about my nausea and baby blankets. Being pregnant has been a mostly alone experience that I’ve processed via internet baby boards, too quick friendly inquiries after my wellbeing and the weekly sanctuary of prenatal yoga. I feel like I’m missing out on some part of this experience. Missing sharing the excitement with others in a way that would enhance and allow my own excitement.
Then, last night, I went to the Footsteps art opening. One after another, friends and acquaintances and people I just met put their hands on my stomach, some asking before their fingers reached out, some checking it was ok after their palms already rested on my shirt front.
With each touch, I felt like my pregnancy was being celebrated. I felt a little flow of energy between their light hands and my tight skin. It was wonderful. The woman who dreaded others’ touch, in actuality, relished it.
You’ve got approximately eleven days left before the fetus’ ETA, people, so touch, touch away!!!Printable Version