Dear Pregnant Ladies, I would like to formally apologize for all of the previous baby bump petting I did without asking. I don’t know what it is about a woman’s pregnant belly, but for me that big, beautiful round orb is just begging to be touched. Granted, I have never had a child and I have now been trained to ask before I touch. But before I knew any better, I would see a pregnant woman, become extremely excited, walk up to her with arms outstretched and immediately go for her belly. Like a comet drawn into a planet’s orbit, my hands were magnetized towards the baby bump. The crazy thing is...I don’t even know why!
Do I equate the beautiful belly with the statues of a Buddha and crave my turn at making a wish? Am I attracted to the creation of a new life and want a tactile way to share in the joy? Is it a fascination with the fact that a baby is growing inside someone else’s body and I want to test the reality of this biological feat? Whatever the answer, it has taken me a long time to realize that I was basically groping someone’s body uninvited. I was a baby bump creeper and for that I am truly sorry.
It wasn’t until my early twenties (I am now thirty-six) when my sister introduced me to one of her mom-to-be friends that I learned a pregnant belly was not an open-invite for a groping. In the same sentence in which I said hello, I also patted this woman’s belly. My sister was appalled. She chided me right there and then “you can’t just go and touch someone’s belly, not everyone wants to be touched.” It is crazy to say but until that moment I assumed that every woman wanted her bump to be rubbed and praised. If they didn’t want that then why was their belly enticingly protruding?
Looking back at this behavior, it now seems ludicrous and I want to publicly apologize for all of the belly bump intrusion I did in my younger years. I would personally recoil (if not strike out) if someone I hadn’t given permission to had the gall to randomly reach out and caress my stomach. Granted, when I see that big baby belly, I still want to grab for it. However, like a child in the chinaware section of a department store, I glue my hands to my sides, smile and just don’t touch.