Back away from the bump
Does my pregnant belly look like a magic lamp? asks Carrie.
(Getty Images)
Being pregnant is equivalent to being public property. Now that I’m showing good and proper, my bump seems to have a magnetic quality impossible to ignore. And it’s not just people that I know. If it was close friends and family giving my tum the odd affectionate pat I probably wouldn’t mind. But it’s not – it’s a stranger next to me in the lift, it’s an estate agent showing me a house, it’s the teenager who weighs my veggies at Pick n Pay. Lord help me! Everyone seems unable to keep their hands to themselves!

I am a firm believer that a baby growing inside me is a miracle and a privilege, and I don’t take it for granted. But when did personal space for pregnant women become a miracle and privilege instead of a right? I can guarantee that if I went up to an overweight man whose boep resembled twins full term and started rubbing his stomach in public, I wouldn’t get a friendly response. In fact I would probably be frog marched out of the shopping centre and delivered straight to Valkenberg for being inappropriately “handsy” with a stranger. And rightly so.

Although I find it hard to believe, I have heard from a few pregnant women that they just love having their bellies rubbed. They’re all purrs and sighs. And they’re making life for the rest of us impossible. In my opinion it’s bad enough feeling and looking like Alice the camel, I don’t want anyone drawing attention to my hump.

I have read a lot of valuable baby literature. I’ve made my way through a mountain of “How to” books – and believe me, there is nothing in any of them about how to deal with this personal space invasion. Screw “What to Expect When You’re Expecting,” I am going to write a best seller titled “How to Deflect When You’re Expecting.” It will be full of useful tips on how to keep your stomach to yourself, and if worst comes to worst – I will have advice on how to stop people mid-pat.

Option one: Look the offender dead in the eyes and say, “There seems to be some confusion… I’m not pregnant, just a little bloated.”

Option two: When the offender is mid-rub, smile politely at them; hold out your hand and say, “That will be R10 please.”

Option three: If all else fails, do what I always feel the urge to do, and scream, “Do I look like a magic lamp!”

Do you enjoy strangers rubbing your pregnant tummy? Comment below.

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