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Touching baby bump- was I mean?

(56 Posts)
Dryshampooagain Thu 23-May-19 22:45:34

I don't have a great relationship with in laws (understatement). I don't want to type out the huge back story but have put on here before about them (nc) and been told to go nc/low contact. Because I know dh loves them and they are his parents and that he is always one hundred percent behind me we do have contact. We see them maybe 4/5 times a year.

I am now 36 weeks pregnant. I last saw them at about 24 weeks and mil commented how huge I was but other than that was on her best behaviour. I know she is very excited to be a gp (whole other thread there as I am struggling with this as they have treated me very poorly in the past and now expect that to be forgotten and contact to increase).

Anyway! On Monday they came around for tea and mil said how blooming I was etc, and then went to touch my bump. I kind of stepped backwards and she said 'oh can I not touch?' I said that I'd prefer if she didn't as I am not a fan of being touched and kind of laughed it off (dh joined in at this point by saying how I'd had to fight off an old lady in the supermarket the other day). In truth I don't mind people touching me if they ask and I have a good relationship with them, sorry I'm not explaining that well but what I mean is I have friends who I would hug hello/bye etc and have invited them to feel baby if they have expressed an interest.

Part of the reason I said no to mil is because she is almost like a stranger to me except tbh worse. I am very anxious around her visits etc due to the past and I just don't want her in my personal space. I am already trying very hard to recognise that contact is increasing with the arrival of our daughter.

After this all happened we had a nice evening, they ate the meal I made etc and all was fine. Fil made a few sexist comments about women being lazy on maternity, that I was big because I've eaten too much etc but I ignored all this as I can't see the point in making an argument.

Tonight mil has text dh saying she is disappointed I wouldn't let her feel baby as she likely won't see us now until after dd is born.

Was I bu? Should I have just let her have a quick feel? Even though there wasn't actually anything to feel at that point as dd tends to only stick her bum etc out every now and then or wiggle when I'm sat down.

Sorry this is so long!

pottedplanteroonie Thu 23-May-19 22:47:07

Of course not, you don't owe her access to your body. They sound tiring and you sound resilient and awesome. x

Sexnotgender Thu 23-May-19 22:48:45

YANBU. I got my DH to tell his mum to stop touching me when I was pregnant. I hate being touched at the best of times.

She wasn’t ‘feeling baby’ she was touching you, you’re not a bloody incubator.

IrregularCommentary Thu 23-May-19 22:48:57

It's not her grandchild, it's your body.

Absolutely within your rights to choose who you're comfortable touching you. Not unreasonable at all, even without the backstory or low contact.

Dryshampooagain Thu 23-May-19 22:50:37

Thank you :-) I think a little bit of me thinks I should have just let her for the sake of keeping the peace.

I'm really struggling atm with them. I feel like dd is still very much a part of me and everyone already wants a piece of her and she isn't even out yet!

Happyspud Thu 23-May-19 22:51:09

She’s not touching the baby, she’s touching you. And is totally unreasonable to expect to be able to force her DIL to accept her mauling her.

Mondayblues7 Thu 23-May-19 22:51:14

You are not being unreasonable. I constantly touch my bump because it's mine. It would freak me out if MIL would go to touch my bump with out asking. It's my body, it's actually my belly.

Don't feel bad, some people just feel they she the right to touch when in actual fact they don't.

AnneLovesGilbert Thu 23-May-19 22:51:27

NO ONE has a right to feel you up, you were fine saying no.

Congrats on your pregnancy. Make sure you have clear, firm boundaries in place when your baby is here. MIL sounds like a nightmare.

CalmdownJanet Thu 23-May-19 22:52:00

Nope yanbu! Tell him text back "Mum, x is a person, not someone you can just touch because she is pregnant, you would have been touching her not the baby. You didn't have a relationship before, that doesn't change because she is pregnant. Be disappointed all you like but you are being ridiculous"

JenMumma Thu 23-May-19 22:52:02

God hell no ! You did well enough to put up with the verbal crap ! Your body - your rules, maybe if they bloody behave they can touch baby when she's not wrapped in your tummy, until then keep holding your ground you're fab.

UpsydaisyandIgglePiggleareatit Thu 23-May-19 22:53:28

Nope. Not at all! She’s not been nice to you and it’s YOUR BODY even if there does happen to be a little baby in there. Perfectly fine not to want anyone to touch your belly! Also if they cause you stress and things I’d keep the contact low. You might find things get worse with them with a baby around, especially with all the new mummy hormones and things. But definitely don’t think you were being unreasonable. It’s your body! I’m not a touchy feely person at all and would have done the same even with people I liked! In fact I did when I was pregnant with my first x

Dryshampooagain Thu 23-May-19 22:54:30

Dh is brilliant to be fair to him :-) he said afterwards when i brought it up that he doesn't get why people have this obsession with touching pregnant women. And he has stood up to mil in the past for me. I do have some concerns about how things will go when baby is born as we have such different expectations but I have to have faith that dh will be true to his word as he has been in the past smile

Unfortunately I think tonight is going to just be the start of things.

Dryshampooagain Thu 23-May-19 22:55:57

Weirdly she acts like nothing has ever happened between us and we are close family? I can't see how she thinks this as we see them so sporadically and things have been fairly tense in the past! Dh says she is just oblivious but personally I think that is him letting her off the hook a little bit!

Darbs76 Thu 23-May-19 22:57:02

Personally I’d be have just let her touch the bump. I’d have felt incredibly mean not allowing her. She’s excited and no matter what’s happened you’re clearly allowing her in your life so I’d just let her have her moments of excitement in the lead up. It’s not a stranger but a relative of the baby wanting to just see if she can feel the baby

Pipandmum Thu 23-May-19 22:59:08

I do not understand why people want to touch pregnant women. I never wanted to touch my friends bumps. Eeeeuuuw.

lastqueenofscotland Thu 23-May-19 22:59:56

I DETEST being touched. YANBU

Dryshampooagain Thu 23-May-19 23:00:35

@Darbs76 I guess I do feel a bit mean, that's why I posted to check 😕 I won't lie however I struggle to see her as just a relative of the baby as she is so distanced to us atm that it feels like there is no connection there (and by that I mean between her and dh not even including myself). I have considered going to see someone to speak to them about my anxiety around ILs. I can hand on heart say I'd rather hand my newborn to a stranger than to mil and that makes me sad.

foreverhanging Thu 23-May-19 23:00:38

I absolutely hate people touching me, and my gmil touched basically my private parts when I was only about 6 weeks pregnant and I made sure she would never touch me again after that. There wasn't even a bump, and I felt violated.

My sil said oh it's not a big deal, she does it every time I see her to me when I'm pregnant and I was like that's up to you, but I'm not happy with it, and for a woman who calls me fat and a pig, she doesn't get to do it either.

You wouldn't touch anyone else's stomach in any other situation.

TurboTeddy Thu 23-May-19 23:06:35

I have never touched or even thought about touching someone's baby bump and I cringe when I see other people (apart from partners) doing it. YA I no way BU.

Lairydea Thu 23-May-19 23:06:49

Define your boundaries with your husband now as your MIL will test them and you two need to be in agreement. It's great he's supported you in the past but slightly worrying that he seems to be letting her off the hook a bit.
Talk about things like - overnight stays, she may push for them. What are you happy with? Solids and when to introduce them, saying "6 months" will likely be derided as she will no doubt have taken a different approach based on the received wisdom of the time.
Discipline/cry it out/dummies/breastfeeding (and for how long), even how you'd make formula as all will be up for critique so have an idea for how you'll tackle them if they arise.

Chocmallows Thu 23-May-19 23:06:57

Well done for keeping your boundaries. Your DH needs to keep them for you both too. Yes she is his mum and your MIL, but her wishes whims do not trump your needs.

doodlejump1980 Thu 23-May-19 23:07:04

Do it back to her and just say “oh I thought we were rubbing each other’s tummies. Weird isn’t it?” <head tilt>

Darbs76 Thu 23-May-19 23:07:09

I think some counselling sounds like a good idea. It’s hard to let go off past things, I’ve been there too. Sometimes I’m a bit too forgiving I think. Sounds like you just need to careful, you need to try and balance her seeing the baby but also keeping her at arms length. Hopefully after the excitement of her arrival things will settle down and you can agree contact you’re content with

Dryshampooagain Thu 23-May-19 23:12:22

We have had many many chats about what we want regarding weaning and overnights and visits etc (probably to the point of overdoing it 🙈). Now time is ticking i am trying to relax and not think about it all too much as I get myself into such a state of worry.

I will speak to my midwife about maybe talking to someone, or I have health visitor coming tomorrow :-)

I am struggling massively to let go because I feel like a lot of the issues have never been recognised or resolved. When we got married for example a lot of things happened and mil refused to come to the wedding then turned up but didn't speak to either of us. She was told by dh this was unacceptable and while she apologised to dh she said she would apologise to me but then never did. I would like some recognition of all of this type of thing and maybe an apology but realistically I need to accept I am never going to get one.

Going back to the bump touching I don't get it either! Before I was pregnant I felt a bit 😖 if someone suggested I felt their bump! It feels so personal 🙈 under what other circumstances do you just start prodding or stroking your friend!

Ilove31415926535 Thu 23-May-19 23:12:40

Hell no! I get on great with my MIL (and my own DM) and neither of them touched me while I was pregnant! You're not being selfish at all. Your ILs sound like a royal PITA, and you being pregnant doesn't mean you have to play nice with them, ever. Boundaries boundaries boundaries cake

Dryshampooagain Thu 23-May-19 23:17:23

Thank you all for the reassurance :-)

I also had a lady in work the other day try to lean on my bump as I was helping her walk 😂 I'm not sure if she was just really rude or thought I was incredibly fat but I do have quite a hefty baby bump! 😂

EKGEMS Thu 23-May-19 23:17:54

I'd have pushed back had my dragon of a MIL had pulled that and I'd have also responded to the shit your FIL said at dinner also,probably something along the lines of "Yes I will be able to lose the baby weight very soon but you'll be an asshole forever"

justilou1 Thu 23-May-19 23:29:44

Would you simply start ratting around in her handbag? No... that would be an invasion of their boundaries and their privacy. Surely touching someone’s belly is more intimate than riffling through someone’s handbag. ESPECIALLY if this person is someone who has unresolved bitchery issues. No way! (Also - hell to the no for babysitting and overnights when baby comes!)

Alsohuman Thu 23-May-19 23:36:45

If you want to touch a bump - I love feeling that new life - you ask. And if the answer’s no, you move on.

Afreet Thu 23-May-19 23:40:38

I once smacked an idiot colleague in the lift at work in mid-lunge. Honestly, I don’t think we were even on ‘hello’ terms — she worked in another department — but suddenly she was coming at me like I was a life raft in the middle of the Atlantic. She will have thought twice about doing it again.

PurpleFlower1983 Thu 23-May-19 23:44:14

I didn’t mind when asked but hated it when someone just went for it, including my own DM who I love dearly. I never said anything though.

When you have a baby it’s both very lovely (and annoying) how many people want to be a part of it though!

SeaToSki Thu 23-May-19 23:54:09

You could consider writing down a list of your boundaries with both PIL for when the baby arrives and stick it on the wall. (Go through it and agree it with DH first). It might make you feel better to see it in a concrete form and it may well be helpful for when you and DH are both sleep deprived to be able to point to it and go ‘look we agreed that this was our boundary’

Then write a letter to the PIL, detail every slight and insult, rant and rave at them, get it all out on paper. Then print it and put in in a safe spot, every so often read it over and add to it if necessary. Dont send it. Its just for your use, its your shit list - the evidence of what you have put up with and are adult enough to rise above. Forgive but dont forget is a very good management strategy when employed with well enforced boundaries

Dryshampooagain Thu 23-May-19 23:56:00

@Afreet laughed out loud at that!

@PurpleFlower1983 yes that's how I feel! Everyone is telling me about how they'll visit, or take her out, or do such and such 😳 I'm like guys she's still attached! Let me get to know my baby before I start trying to palm her off 😂

Dryshampooagain Thu 23-May-19 23:57:04

@SeaToSki that actually sounds like a great idea, especially the letter. I might do that tomorrow 😊 thank you

DroningOn Fri 24-May-19 00:00:41

let her for the sake of keeping the peace

This is how CF's the world over get their way, by being persistently rude until the person on the other side of their behaviour gives in.

I know it's hard OP and it'll get harder when your baby is here and you're tired but please stand your ground. Firm resistance is often all it takes to put these people in their place.

SmarmyMrMime Fri 24-May-19 00:02:34

I've asked close friends before, but never gone ahead unsolicited. I was happy to give permission with my bump, but my skin was stretched so thin by rapid, significant growth, that it was very sensitive to touch and quite uncomfortable to be touched without warning. Mentally expecting a touch was much easier.

It's not the done thing to randomly grab at any other body parts.

Skittlesandbeer Fri 24-May-19 00:05:02

Read up on ‘4th trimester’ and make it your mantra to everyone who tries to pry your baby off you for the first months. Tell them your midwife/HV is very big on it, latest research, etc.

Then come up with something else, until they get the message. If pushed, tell your PILs that unfortunately they don’t get to cherry-pick what ‘family’ means. Love is as love does, and since they’ve been very unloving towards you and your DH then that is the path they chose. Regardless of how big YOUR family may get. Tell them to consider your child as just one more person they’ve fallen out with, thanks to their past behaviour.

Yes, the joy of a new baby can bring a family back together. But not when some parties are still holding axes.

PickAChew Fri 24-May-19 00:07:43

Not unreasonable. Being pregnant doesn't turn you into a petting zoo.

ReindeerTails Fri 24-May-19 00:41:48

It's just another form of control and something to whinge about. YANBU. Best to ignore it, not because you should, morally (sod that!) but literally because it will infuriate her all the more. She's looking for a reaction, anything you say won't go well and will give her all the more ammunition to whinge and try to direct, control, spoil things and stir up trouble during a time which should be one of the happiest for you.

Focus on your DD, do exactly what you want, shut the door on it all when you want. She is likely miffed at being usurped (in her mind) as the "mother" in the family and is trying to draw attention onto herself by any means possible. Don't give into the nonsense or give the nonsense the time of day any more than possible.

<Bitter experience>. It will mess with your head which would absolutely delight her if she senses it. Then she's won. It's not about the bump touching. It's about stirring up trouble, causing debate at which she is at the centre. It's your DD and you and DH who's at the centre.

YesimstillwatchingNetflix Fri 24-May-19 00:54:39

You are not mean. It's your body, she has no right to touch it.

These people sound fucking awful. It will be worse when you have the baby so get used to enforcing strong boundaries. They will use emotional manipulation (oh I'm disappointed 😭 oh I just want to be a loving granny 😭) to make you feel like the bad guy. You're not. If they want a relationship with their GC then they need to work in their relationship with you and DH.

You are under no moral obligation to accomodate emotionally abusive behaviour, sexist comments, insults etc just because you are raising their grandchildren. In fact, I think you have a greater obligation than ever to hold them to a higher standard of behaviour or show them the door because you are going to be raising a young person who will be shaped by the behaviour she or he witnesses in childhood.

They have no right to come into your home and insult you, expect to touch your stomach like you're an incubator and not a person in your own right.

Hold fast to your boundaries- these people will test them at every step.

YesimstillwatchingNetflix Fri 24-May-19 00:56:38

I just want to second what a PP poster said - 4th trimester. All the way.

Send them a link explaining it, and then you've bought yourself at least 3 months of guidelines which involve them stepping back.

YesimstillwatchingNetflix Fri 24-May-19 01:03:05

sorry my third comment (because your MIL sounds exactly like mine and I wish I'd gone into parenting with a better plan to manage her):

Fuck anything along the line of it being your responsibility to:

'Keep the peace'
'Not make waves'
'Bite your tongue'

It is sexist bloody twaddle that makes it a woman's responsibility to silently accomodate people being disrespectful and crossing her boundaries. It enables bullies like your PIL to get their way because you're the bad guy if you don't go along with their nonsense. They don't give a shit whether you are uncomfortable so why should you tiptoe around in an effort to please them and avoid their tantrum?

You're the mum, you call the shots now. Don't encourage more contact if you aren't comfortable with it.

Catren Fri 24-May-19 02:25:36

Agree with pps saying you're absolutely NBU and it's your bump, not the baby! I only let close friends touch my bump, i.e. the ones who ive known forever and am very physically affectionate towards anyway.

My own DM went in for a weird gropey hug the other week when my bump wasn't very big at all, and i had to step back and tell her not to be so creepy. She'd defended herself saying she only wanted a cuddle so she could have a feel and the intended stealth grope REALLY freaked me out! Just bloody ask, and then respect the answer if it's a no.

Catren Fri 24-May-19 02:31:07

Oh and given you have a strained relationship, you'll have to set some pretty strong boundaries for when baby comes. She'll likely want to feed the baby, comment on everything you're doing and feel a sense of entitlement. You are well within your rights to tell her to back off and respect the way you are parenting, unless you specifically ask for her advice. She isn't owed anything just because she's her grandmother, and if she wants lots of contact she can also offer lots of help when she comes round. Maybe I'm being a bit harsh, but it's based on my experience.

MinnieMountain Fri 24-May-19 06:03:59

MIL was very excited at the thought of becoming a GP. She never once touched my bump as she's a decent person and knew I value my personal space.

Sleephead1 Fri 24-May-19 06:32:27

I'm going to be honest mumsnet isn't at all representative of my life and it really surprises me the reaction on here to people touching bumps. Most of my colleagues and people I know touched my bump but I don't have a problem with people touching me in general. I think it's probably slightly different in different areas it's very normal with people I know to touch bumps and out of all the people I know who have been pregnant I don't know anyone who has been upset by this. I can't imagine being offended by your husbands parent touching your stomach but obviously if you are ( and it seems like pretty much everyone agrees with you ) them that's up to you and you shouldn't have to be made to feel uneasy. I do think it's just a personal preference and don't really feel your mil has done anything so terrible you refused and she didn't persist in trying to touch you. Good luck with the rest of your pregnancy

Minxmumma Fri 24-May-19 06:32:56

My MIL used to rub my bump - drove me insane so I took to wearing a top that said hands off the bump! And dh told her she is not Aladdin and my bump is not a magic lamp so stop touching!
As for your FIL I would have reminded him that at least my bump will produce something amazing what does the world gain from him being obnoxious?

I get that they are excited but seriously it's your body still and your child.

Slicedpineapple Fri 24-May-19 07:33:45

YANBU. I hate people that I know well touching my bump without asking (with the exception of DH) let alone people I don't really get on with. I wouldn't randomly go and rub somebody's stomach so don't expect them to do the same to me. I side step a lot of the outward reaches.

Chocmallows Fri 24-May-19 07:55:38

Sleepy you may be a naturally more tactile person and enjoy this, but it isnt something I consider natural. While I cuddle my partner and DC with adults I would only pat someone's shoulder or offer a hug if someone was upset. I think that people would ask me to come into their personal space if they wanted me to.

I think the problem is not only that she didn't ask, but that she complained after and she wanted OP to know she thought she was wrong. It wasn't a sorry I do/don't understand, either way won't do it again. It was a case of OP you're wrong.

Cariadne Fri 24-May-19 07:58:19

You were definitely not unreasonable - being pregnant doesn’t mean your boundaries suddenly don’t matter, or that your MIL’s whims take precedence over your comfort. She should never have texted you that, it was inappropriate.

Xyzzzzz Fri 24-May-19 07:58:34

I’m 29 weeks pregnant and hate people touching my bump. I only let two people touch it and that’s my DH and DM. It annoys me that people think I pregnant stomachs are available for touching. If I wasn’t pregnant you wouldn’t invade my personal space.

justilou1 Fri 24-May-19 23:41:32

Just one more thing - if you hate her touching the bump without permission, you’re going to hate it even more when the baby arrives. She will be even less respectful. Better get her used to asking now.

BlackToothpaste Fri 24-May-19 23:55:46

And to whoever said gooily up the thread that she loved ‘touching life’, you’re feeling someone’s stomach, mate. Ask first, and don’t be surprised if she says no, because she doesn’t fancy Mad Maureen from Finance waylaying her in the corridor all the time.

TooManyPaws Sat 25-May-19 01:10:35

I am a hugger with my friends and family, and would NEVER start groping any part of them, pregnant or not. It's hugely weird and inappropriate. I would touch if they invited me to but then we would probably discuss anything out of the ordinary "ooh, I've got this lump on my elbow, what do you think it is? It's hard, feel." etc. You don't just grab and assault them, anywhere.

Doyouneedthetoilet Sat 25-May-19 08:56:44

Only my dh and medical staff ever touched my bump. Just because there is a baby in there its still not ok to be touching a woman's stomach.

Alsohuman Sat 25-May-19 09:07:35

That was me @BlackToothpaste and I expressly said I always asked.

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