How to Deal With Unwanted Belly Rubs from Strangers

Unwanted Belly Rubs

So you’re standing in the grocery store, on the subway or in line at your favorite coffee house… and a stranger walks up to you with a big smile. In many situations, this would be a welcomed scenario. Who doesn’t love a friendly stranger? But you can predict with utmost certainty that your blossoming belly is about to receive some unwanted attention.

Sometimes a stranger will ask before they start rubbing your baby bump as if it’s a genie lamp. Other times, though, they go right in for the fondle. Either way, it can be alarming and unpleasant to have someone touching you, especially if it’s someone you’ve never seen in your entire life. You’re a protective mother who’s growing a child, after all!

Fortunately, there are a few ways you can stop a belly rubber in their tracks. We’re covering a few of them.

Try Wearing Humorous Maternity Apparel 

Why not have a little fun while you’re preggo? Wearing humorous apparel is a great way to get a laugh out of someone while simultaneously making it clear that you prefer others keep their hands to themselves. For example, we think this shirt at Zazzle that says, “I may have the body of a God, but it’s not Buddha, so don’t rub my belly!” is equal parts hilarious and equal parts stern — a perfect combo for pregnant mommies.

Here are a few other snarky maternity pieces we happened upon!

“Can’t Touch This” Maternity Shirt on CafePress, $29.99

“Look, but Please Don’t Touch,” Maternity Shirt by Etsy Seller ILove2Sparkle, $21.99

“Hands Off The Belly” Maternity Shirt on Cafe Press, $33.99

“Caution: Do Not Touch” Maternity Shirt on Amazon, $19.99

“Yes I’m pregnant; No you can’t touch the belly,” Maternity Shirt on Zazzle, $33.45

When People Ask, Just Say No

People are bound to ask if they can pat your belly or try to feel your baby kick. If you’re comfortable with it, by all means, allow them to do so. If the thought of strangers touching your belly makes you uneasy, though, don’t be afraid to be honest about your feelings and just say no. The key is to be polite while still being firm.

Some things you can say are: 

– “I’m not really feeling up to it today, but thank you so much for asking first instead of just reaching out!” This is an honest and straightforward response. Because it ends with a compliment, the stranger will likely not have his or her feelings hurt or feel too awkward.

– “If you get to touch my belly, then what do I get to touch?” This is a lighthearted response, especially when paired with a smile, that usually gets them thinking about their actions.

– “Sorry, sir/ma’am, but the only person who gets to touch my belly is the person who helped put it in there!” This is also a humorous response that’ll get a laugh out of the stranger without offending him or her.

– “The last person who did that lost a hand, so maybe it’s not a wise idea.” Feel free to wink along with this one to show you’re mostly joking, but that you still prefer the person doesn’t touch you.

*When someone asks to touch you’re belly, immediately place your hand(s) over your stomach and/or slightly move backwards. This protective body language helps get your feelings across.

Stopping Someone Who Doesn’t Ask First

Yep, it happens: People go in for the grab before they even think of asking if they can touch you! And as you go further along in your pregnancy and your stomach starts protruding, you may find it becomes harder and harder to stop the belly rubbers.

The first thing to do is to move your body to the side or to step backward when you see someone reaching toward you. You can also physically remove their hand if it’s already on your belly. In most cases, the other person will get the point and will retract their hands.

This body language makes it clear that you’re not interested in being rubbed without you having to get confrontational. Try to keep a polite smile on your face and start talking about something else to diffuse any tension.

If the person still doesn’t get it, try using humor. For example, you can hold up a hand to stop them and say, “That’ll cost you $5, ma’am!” with a smile, but a serious look. Or you could say something like, “If you touch me, then I get to touch you!” and start reaching for their hair or their belly. This diffuses tension, makes them stop and also gets them thinking about their actions.

This page was last updated on 06/2017
What do you need help with?