Up until last week my belly was only big enough to draw cursory glances from other women, but it has now grown to the point that it is starting to exhibit that inexplicable magnetic pull that tempts the hands of strangers.
For the life of me, I do not understand this. I've met maybe one woman in my entire life who didn't mind strangers patting her stomach, but everyone else I know has expressed annoyance over this little side-effect of pregnancy. And yet, it's always women (and mostly women who have children) who are the the culprits, which just doesn't make any sense. If you didn't like it when someone did it to you, why do you insist on doing it to other women?
What in the world possesses someone to pat the belly of a woman they've never even met?
And as long as we're talking about invasions of privacy, why do people like to comment on and ask questions about things they have no earthly business knowing? Like whether or not you are going to try to breastfeed twins, or if you have a weak cervix that would require bedrest, or as the pregnancy progresses, how far you've dilated or why you haven't had that baby yet, seeing as you look like you were due three months ago.
Strangers shouldn't even get to those questions, not only out of politeness and a little respect for privacy, but because they should never, ever assume you are pregnant in the first place. Unless you are busy knitting baby booties, reading a book of baby names, talking about your due date and the crib you just ordered, and wearing a shirt that says, "I'm expecting", no one should ever comment on your possible bundle of joy for the simple reason that it may turn out to be a bundle of haagen daaz bars that settled just south of your belly button. And even if all those pregnancy indicators are in place, unless the woman shouts that she is in labor and needs your assistance, don't say anything. Even then it's best to wait until the baby's head is out before you comment on her pregnancy, just to be safe.
There are also certain words that should never be used to describe someone's pregnancy belly, the most annoying being "HUGE!" The laws of femininity don't change when a woman becomes pregnant and eliminate her desire to be told she is beautiful or looking fit. She is not fair game for comments that that she is going to "pop" or "explode" or that she "must be due any minute".
Just this week I had someone mention my increasing "girth". One random word and I went from feeling cute to feeling like an overstuffed whale.
But at least the person didn't touch my belly.
Whales get pretty cranky when they're touched.