As someone who is six months pregnant and who has definitely “popped,” I am all too familiar with the sometimes sweet, sometimes disturbing desire by others, occasionally strangers, to rub my pregnant belly.
This is my second pregnancy, and I’ve found once again that people tend to have a strong curiosity about baby bumps, and frankly, they can’t keep their hands off them. But now, rubbing someone’s baby belly without their consent could get you charged with harassment. That’s what happened to a man in Pennsylvania when he hugged and rubbed the belly of his neighbour.
While I’m not a big fan of the belly rub, I don’t think it’s necessary to legally charge someone for doing it. A simple, “Please don’t do that.” probably would have sufficed.
I am a fan of personal space, and I think that should always be respected, pregnant or not. It seems pregnant women become viewed as communal property sometimes, just like babies can be poked and prodded without hesitation because they’re just so gosh-darn cute. I don’t mind if someone rubs my belly if I KNOW them, especially if they ask first. It’s when a stranger approaches that it’s a bit weird, but if it’s a sweet little granny, that doesn’t really bother me. If it’s some dude, not so much.
I guess the rule of thumb here, or more accurately, the rule of belly, is one we learned as children: keep your hands to yourself.