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Am I being unreasonable to want people to keep their hands to themselves?

(29 Posts)
MrsHelenBee Tue 08-Apr-14 10:42:04

Just need to vent a bit after being stopped by 2 more UTP's (unidentified tummy patters) today.
Is it just me being over-sensitive when I say they shouldn't do it? I hate it, it makes me feel so uncomfortable and, in a way, slightly violated.
I appreciate people only mean well, but a checkout assistant and passer by in the street are total strangers and it feels so wrong!
I'd never dream of doing it to anyone, whether I'd been pregnant myself or not, so I find it really hard to understand why people think my bump is public property.
It keeps happening, and I get so angry with myself afterwards that I never say anything. I wouldn't be rude - I'm not the aggressive, confrontational type - but I desperatley want to say how awful it is. Maybe there are other mums2B out there who love it, but surely when it's a total stranger, it would be better that they ask first if it's ok, rather than assume, or even say afterwards "You don't mind me doing that, do you?" Actually, I do mind. A LOT!!!

DaleyBum Tue 08-Apr-14 10:54:38

YAsososoNBU. It gets worse when the baby is here. Honestly, the next person that sticks their grubby hands in his sleeping face is getting an earful.

livingzuid Tue 08-Apr-14 11:28:39

I still can't get over that people do that. Bad enough when it is someone you know let alone a perfect stranger!

bloominbumpy Tue 08-Apr-14 11:33:23

Its a tricky one...

I love my family and friends doing it and the smiles it puts on their faces.

Strangers are a weird one... ive never had a complete randomer in the street do it and id find that very odd! But I think in a small way the joy that pregnancy brings people helps me to look past the slight creepiness that some one is touching me haha

22honey Tue 08-Apr-14 16:50:32

I can't believe strangers think they have the right to just touch your belly. I'm 21 weeks now and my bump is there but not massive and if anything of the sort happens I will definitely say something. I do not like being touched without my consent. I just cannot comprehend how rude and lacking in social awareness someone must be to do such a thing.

I have had people (DPs family friends and whatnot) asking me to lift my top up and show them my belly, despite it looking just like a bloated beer belly until the last 2-3 weeks, I feel irritated and uncomfortable with this to be honest and point blank refused and went upstairs at one point. I'm not a friggin zoo animal fgs!

Another thing that worries me is DP's family and close network has several alcoholics and people I'd generally call unclean and scruffy his dad is a heroin addict and I just know I'll be expected to let them maul my beautiful newborn when she is here, and tbh I'm just dreading it. Already got one of MIL's dysfunctional alcoholic friends saying she can't wait to 'have another baby to squeeze' urrrgh but I'm not supposed to say anything and am supposed to be happy with this because these people have had several children themselves (and done a shocking job off bringing them up might I add). It makes me feel ill thinking of them breathing their beer breath etc all over her. I've no idea what I will do or how I will react should the time come!

clairesmiles Tue 08-Apr-14 18:13:16

Couldn't agree more. Tummy touching is weird! I'm 29 weeks and luckily I haven't had a stranger touch my tummy yet, only my mum and my SIL which i don't mind so much.

I never did this to anyone i knew that was pregnant, I just don't see what people get out of it, you could be touching my arm for all the good it does.

Really winds me up, especially if the person doesn't ask first. I think if a stranger touches me I will grab their boob or something and see how they like it >.<


PenguinsEatSpinach Tue 08-Apr-14 18:37:36

People have never touched mine, but I suspect I give out 'vibes'.

It is awful, and of course you feel violated. It is someone touching you in a fairly intimate way without your consent. I find it more odd that some women apparently don't find this uncomfortable! (though I appreciate some don't).

A poster on another thread said she says "Unwanted touching is assault!" in such circumstances, which I appreciate is blunt but gets the message across. I think I'd just go with "excuse me?" and withering stare.

Thisisimpossible Tue 08-Apr-14 19:03:12

I completely agree. I am not at the bump stage yet but I am terrified about people feeling they can just manhandle me because they feel like it. Why do people seem to think that a bump is suddenly public property when they wouldn't dream of touching you like that otherwise? When I start to show (keeping fingers crossed everything continues without any problems) I am seriously considering buying a week's worth of t-shirts from New Look which say 'Hands Off the Bump'!



MrsHelenBee Tue 08-Apr-14 22:02:21

Ooh, didn't know you could get t-shirts with that very message on them, Thisisimpossible!
I said to my husband the other day that I wish someone would design one - I can't be the only one who wants to get the message out there after all. I'll have to make a trip to the shops!

PenguinsEatSpinach - I have to admit that I end up playing it back over a few times in my head afterwards, and I always end up wondering why I didn't say "Do you mind?!!!!" at the time. I think, despite the fact it keeps happening, it's been maybe 8-10 times all up, so I'm still in total shock when people do it, to the extent that I am lost for words.

clairesmiles Wish I had the confidence to grab them back - it's so personal too that returning the favour by manhandling their boob might get the message across!! Maybe it takes someone being on the receiving end in that way for them to realise just what an invasion of privacy it is. I'm 34 weeks now, and my DH is the only person who I enjoy having touch my bump. My mum's never tried, but my sister and MIL have - I love them both but I'm not entirely comfortable with it.

bloominbumpy I wish I was more like you and that I could get past the creepy stage when it happens, but it freak me out just as much now as the first time it happened. I just wouldn't ever do it, so I find it unfathomable!

22Honey That's awful, I feel terrible for you! I feel like I'm moaning over nothing now - I've not had anyone ask me to actually reveal my naked belly, and I think that's appalling anyone other than your partner would feel it appropriate to ask. It's your body, it's always clothed, and I'm revolted by the idea that anyone would want you to uncover your bump. I'd defintely have to say something if I was asked to do that, I'd totally refuse. They may as well ask you to take your bra off to show off your growing boobs!!!! My niece did it once - I was laying down and she crept up next to me and pulled my top up a bit because she wanted to see her new cousin. At 2.5yrs old, I wasn't bothered, she knows no better and it as totally innocent (and rather sweet as she told me she was very sad there was no window so she couldn't see him. Sweet!!) Us mums are naturally very protective - with a bump or with a baby - and it's totally the way we should be. Family cuddles are fine, but it's your baby at the end of the day, and while everyone seems to want to share the joy of a new baby, it's totally your call who holds him/her - you are and always will be their mum and what you want is paramount, especially in the early days. You must be honest, don't be afraid to say "Actually, I'd rather not" - it's not unreasonable, especially when you've explained about health and hygiene issues surrounding alcohol and drugs - would anyone feel that environment was safe for a newborn?!! I really feel for you, I hope it all works out.

StarsInTheNightSky Tue 08-Apr-14 22:42:06

Ha! OP I was just about to tell you my response but I see Penguins has already mentioned it - I am the one who states it's assault blush.

It's not unreasonable at all, I cannot fathom why people think it's appropriate to start pawing at somebody just because they're pregnant. I've had people say that it's their right to touch, that I should overlook it because it's the cultural norm for them (so is paedophilia on some very small, remote Pacific islands, but we don't accept that just because it's a cultural norm, do we?! hmm Extreme example, but still...). I don't understand it to be honest, I must give off a "ooooh please paw at me" vibe as I get it so often, yet I always thought I gave off a pretty strong "leave me alone" vibe. Think I might have to work on my vibes grin.

honey22 shock at wanting you to lift your top up! Wtf?! About the pass the parcel baby, what does your DP think? Surely he doesn't expect you to just hand your lo over to (trying not to sound judgey here...) such people? Sorry, that did sound judgey and I honestly didn't mean it to.
You don't have to hand lo over to anyone that you don't want to, I won't be allowing anyone to touch our little chap, let alone hold him for the first few months at least. As luck would have it, DH feels even more strongly about this than I do, and freely admits that he hates the thought of anyone touching our son, and has said categorically that he does not want anyone holding/cuddling him full stop. Hope you're ok.

PenguinsEatSpinach Tue 08-Apr-14 22:53:03

You are correct though Stars. No need for the blush .

Sweetpea86 Tue 08-Apr-14 23:00:01

You are not been over sensitive in the slightest. It's a tricky one because I've got friends who've said can I feel your bump and they don't have children so it's all new to them as it is with me and this is my first. I don't mind if they ask. Same with family it's nice when it's family.

Strangers and co workers is a no no. I work with this one women who's quite cold and never that friendly. She now feels it's ok to touch my tummy and pat it. You can see every one else cringing when she does it. Urgh makes my skin crawl lol .

You wouldn't go around touching people who aren't pregnant so why the hell would you touch a women who is highly sensitive and highly hormonal lol.

I'm quite lucky apart from the odd few I haven't had much maybe I give the vibe of DO NOT TOUCH ME lol

MrsHelenBee Wed 09-Apr-14 10:19:25

StarsInTheNightSky - their right to touch you?!!!! That's unbelievable!!! What deluded society do we live in when people feel they have 'rights' where your body is concerned? Evidently I've missed a trick where such people are concerfned as I will only ever be of the old school of thought that says the only person with rights to your body is you. I certainly wouldn't overlook it - if those were the words someone actually presented me with when I objected, they'd get one heck of mouthful from me.
So pleased you're behind honey22 too - reading the post made me cringe but also feel utterly devastated for her. honey22 - be strong and stick to your guns, you're not some zoo exhibit or a toy, and your baby can't be more precious, so whatever you decide is best for her, both now and once she's here, is what goes. No one has the right to sidestep your wishes.
Sweetpea86 - Thanks for your support, it's really picked me up. I feel for you too, and you're obviously a strong person to be tolerating your work colleague muscling in on it all. I think I'd really struggle in that situation, even if they did ask. As you rightly say, with family it's different - you have a physical closeness to them with hugs etc., so it doesn't feel so invasive.

I really hope I can convert all of these comments to confidence (that I'm not being unreasonable, and I'm not alone either!) and act on my instincts, if and when it happens again. I'm someone with low self-esteem at the best of times and I really need to do something for me!

22honey Wed 09-Apr-14 12:15:19

Thanks everyone, glad to know I'm not just being a pompous arse because I don't feel comfortable showing my naked belly to anyone except DP and my mum! Even then its not like I like flashing it to people, I'm still getting used to it expanding and me looking a bit 'fat' as its my first and I've always been a size 8-10, its quite a lot to get used to!

DP is really too laid back about everything, hes happy to do what I want but I also feel like I am obliged to let certain people hold my baby because they are family friends and family members of his (mainly his family members are functional and normal its just one or two I am uncomfortable about and its only because they are quite dysfunctional with drug and alcohol problems, they can behave normally and arn't thieves etc I just dont want them around my baby a lot!) to their credit its not like they are horrible people or I dislike them I just feel very very protective of my baby lol and it makes me feel queasy thinking about certain people holding her, they don't live the best lifestyles although atleast they made an effort to be clean and wash their hands etc when they were holding SIL's baby when he was born. The thing is I don't see that I should be obliged to allow them all round the house for ages all passing my baby around when I've just returned from hospital like she did as I havn't known them all my life like SIL has and they arn't my family, but I am sure this may be expected. I havnt approached DP about this really as he is so excited and I know he will want to share it with his family which I have no problem with, it just makes me feel hideous the thought of particularly FIL holding the baby and breathing on her when he might have been smoking his smack at one point that day! I don't like mentioning this too much to DP cos its quite personal to him for obvious reasons and he doesn't really like talking about it much, plus SIL lets them all around and hold her baby so I would be seen as being funny if I wern't to do the same.

There isnt need for worry about my babies environment as neither me or DP are drug takers or drinkers and our house is nice and a great place for a baby. They don't visit here because DP can just go and see them if he needs due to them living close, I am dreading this changing when the baby comes though and don't have a clue how to approach it!

Its hard work this being pregnant and having babies, so many mad hormones and stuff and so much to deal with at the same time! xxxx

MrsHelenBee Wed 09-Apr-14 22:29:06

22honey - your SIL is blood related to these people, it's natural for her to feel more relaxed about her children being around their family. You are not blood-related to them, these are in-laws (who I'm sure are lovely and mean very well), but the relationship you have with blood relatives is always going to be very different to what you have with extended family - even if the latter is a wonderful one.
I appreciate how delicate a subject it must be around your DP, you don't want to cause upset or offense and added to that, you are naturally insecure and on a rollercoaster emotionally just now. Your worries are natural, you are going to become a mother for the first time and the idea alone is overhwelming, let alone in practise. All you or anyone else in your situation wants is to keep their baby safe, while they're inside you and once they're here. Some of your worries will fade in time as you get used to the idea, others will always be there because being a mum is about worrying constantly for your child - even when they aren't children any more.
Try not to worry, you still need time to get your head round the enormity of what is likely to be the single most life-changing event you will ever experience, but also remember to be kind to yourself - you can't get a closer relationship or bond than that between a mother and a baby. And your DP is dealing with a lot of changes too, but it's also his job to support and reassure you. You haven't been raised in his family and your emotions are massively heightenend when it comes to a newborn baby, who's totally dependent on you for their safety and wellbeing. I'm not saying by any stretch that she wouldn't be safe or well cared-for around her paternal family - I'm sure they will shower her with love, care and affection - but you need to talk about what bothers you. Stress isn't good for you or your baby. If DP is worth his salt, he'll stand by you as you both need to decide how you want to raise this child.
All family will want to share in the joy of your new arrival, and it's ok to feel like you don't want to share her around everywhere, especially at the start. People will want to visit, but you must call the shots. You'll hear over and over again how precious the time is when you first come home and it's totally true. You need time to bond, time which you won't get back, and to get used to being a new family. You have no idea how well or exhaustd you'll feel. You are in charge and that has to be respected. You must give the 3 of you time and space in the early days - it is totally justified and totally reasonable.
Please talk to your partner - you've got so much to cope with now and in the coming months, so whatever stress you can deal with and worries you can put to bed now will benefit you in the long run.

Good luck (and sorry for such a lengthy message). I hope some of it helps xx

StarsInTheNightSky Thu 10-Apr-14 08:47:55

MrsHelen I was pretty shock the first time someone said it, but when I kept hearing the same thing and it genuinely couldn't believe it. I was sexually abused when I was in my teens, so unwanted touching is something I feel pretty strongly about, hence my blunt responses to it. I should add that I don't mind people asking if they can touch, provided they gracefully accept when I politely say "no". smile Interestingly, baby seems to hate anyone other than DH or I touching my bump, and he reacts very violently, thrashing around and the like, even when it's our consultant who is amazingly lovely and I trust completely, so it's not like he's feeding off my anger about it. I thought I was imagining it, or that he was just feeding off how I feel, but his heart rate massively escalates despite mine not raising at all, our consultant thought it was unusual enough to put it in my notes that bump touching should be kept to a minimum as it seems to distress baby.
If you're not that confident about saying something, you could try physically removing their hand, or stepping backwards out of the way and saying something like "please don't touch me" in a firm voice. It's a bit less confrontational but still leaves no room for argument. It gets easier the more you say it, and it becomes like second nature in the end. Plus I find that if I say something I don't spend ages afterwards wondering why I didn't stand up for myself, and it boosts my self esteem to know that I stood my ground, if that makes sense. Then, as your rage builds, as it happens time and time again, you can up the snarling factor wink. xxx

Honey I know exactly what you mean, I was 5'9 and a size 10 pre-pregnancy, and very fit and toned. Now I'm nearly 33 weeks and the size of a planet. Although all the weight has gone onto my bump (and I have put on very little thanks to severe HG until 26 weeks hmm) I've lost a lot of tone in my legs and arms, and whilst I love my pregnancy shape, it's difficult to get used to looking in the mirror and seeing something so different. I think it's more than that though, it's a massive change to get use to as the physical changes emphasise the life changes which are coming. For me, this will be our first successful pregnancy (well, touch wood!) it was very much planned and very wanted, and we've had losses before, but that doesn't mean that it doesn't take a bit of getting used to. smile
I don't think there should be any concerns at all about baby's environment, you sound like a lovely caring person. I do know what it's like to have a couple of family members whose lifestyle choices are less than ideal (well, in my opinion, they think they have great lives hmm). I am extremely close to both my family and DH's family, and I love and like the vast majority of them very much, but I won't even be letting my own Mum, who has always been more like a sister/best friend to me (corny but true) hold our baby. The only person I feel comfortable with the idea of holding him is DH, and DH feels the same about me. Some other close family members have very recently had babies, and are happy to the pass the baby around/have everyone at the hospital. What we have done to make sure people realises this won't be happening with us is to say to everyone that we want some time as just us in our little family unit, we will text/email photos but for a while it's going to be just us and no visitors. Everyone seemed to take it ok, and we said it together so they could see that we were sort of a united front on it, and that it was important to us. Could you do something like that? When you speak to your DP could you suggest to him how nice it would be to have a few days in a little family unit cocoon with no visitors, what a great opportunity it will be for bonding, how you'll never get that time again, but other family will have the rest of baby's life to see him etc and put it to him like that? I just thought it might be easier to broach the subject with him if you go at it from a positive angle (ie. great opportunity for bonding).
Interestingly, our midwife was telling me that when she worked on a post natal ward, you were never supposed to touch any of the babies without asking the mother first, she said as a student midwife she forgot, went to pick up a baby in the middle of the night and got a black eye as the (apparently usually very calm and laid back) mother woke up and attacked her. She said that all women run on instinct certainly for the first few days after their baby is born, and that they turn into lionesses about protecting baby. She said even the most laid back mother will feel violent if she feels her baby is being threatened, and the threat could be anything as simple trying to touch baby, or anything else which makes the mother uncomfortable.
As MrsHelen very wisely said, you must call the shots, if you're made to feel unhappy or uncomfortable, or like you wishes are being disregarded, it will ruin what is supposed to be an amazing time for you, and then things like PND could start trying to creep in if you're not careful.
Lastly, yep I agree - pregnancy is exhausting with all the stuff to deal with! xxx

MrsHelen sorry for a lengthy post, and sorry to hijack you thread for a moment xxx.

Allinson2014 Thu 10-Apr-14 12:04:44

Argh I hate that! I am only 29 weeks but have a huge bump as I have huge babies and several people so far have decided to touch my bump, including a check out lady suddenly reaching over while I was trying to pay!

I have to say my worst experience though was when DS1 was a few months old and I was waiting to go in the lift up to debenhams cafe so I could breastfeed him. He was crying as he was hungry and a stranger put her finger in his mouth! I was mortified but only 24 and scared of making a scene so I didn't really say anything, but if someone tries that this time I'll definitely be making a fuss!

blondiebonce Thu 10-Apr-14 12:51:20

My next door neighbour (been moved in 3ish weeks) who keeps coming into work (I work in a bar/restaurant) and is about 60 odd asked the other day if he could feel my baby kick. I said no, because it made me feel uncomfortable. He asked why it made me uncomfortable. The continued to say he never even felt his own children kick and then went on to witter about his vasectomy. shudder

MangoBiscuit Thu 10-Apr-14 13:00:36

First time round I got a fair bit of unwanted bump touching, and I wasn't as confident in dealing with it, so tended to just back away a bit.

Second time round, and I find after having DD1 I take less annoying shite from people in general. Only one person decided to rub my belly without asking, so I returned the favour and rubbed hers back. grin

squishysquirmy Thu 10-Apr-14 13:30:19

I never had this from strangers (only close friends, who I didnt mind) but maybe that was because of the hormonal perma-rage face I had on. I would have been really annoyed if someone did though!
However, When my DD was 2 weeks old my mum tried to grab my boob without warning to "help" me latch DD on angry
... she was so surprised when I was annoyed by this, but it was such an invasion of personal space!

Defo not being unreasonable; would they think it normal to stroke your breasts when/if you start breastfeeding?shock
It's your body sweetheart, it doesn't become some sort of public property just because you, with bump, appear in public. Best wishes.

RaRa1988 Mon 14-Apr-14 09:20:55

Christ. YANBU at all - but I'm a bit worried about how many of you have experienced this hmm. Thankfully, I haven't: only DP, my best friend, my parents, and a couple of the nurses at work have had a feel - all with permission. I'd hate a stranger doing it, particularly as, like a couple of pps, I'm a bit 'sensitive' about my new shape as I'm usually really little and slim and feel like a hoose end right now!

ohthegoats Mon 14-Apr-14 10:09:27

I don't know why it's necessary to suggest that if you're normally bigger than a size 10, that you'll somehow be ok or confident about your body changing. It's pretty weird for everyone, size 10 or 20.

If someone other than my boyfriend touches the area between my boobs and pubes, they'll be risking a punch. It's not normally open for business, it ain't going to be just because it sticks out more.

RaRa1988 Mon 14-Apr-14 11:20:11

I'm not - but surely the difference in weight, for a start, is greater for small people... If I put on the average of two stone, for example, that's a quarter of my normal body weight. I would think that would feel heavier and weirder than for someone for whom two stone is only an eighth of their normal weight. Anyway, just a personal reflection as to why I am sensitive about my new shape rather than any reflection on how others may feel.

Casmama Mon 14-Apr-14 11:29:51

I think the only appropriate way to react to an uninvited touch is with a sharp slap to the hand! You could follow it up with "sorry it's instinctive, I hate people touching my bump" or follow with a glare depending on who does it.

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