I am proud to introduce a new column to Madame Deals! I think we all need a touch point a place we can go to be inspired. Karla is my children’s teacher, a good friend, and a person with a heart of gold. I hope that her words will inspire you to do more. We are only as good as the people we surround ourselves with. It is important to listen with your heart and proceed with your eyes open. Enjoy!
Please Do Not Touch….
One of my favorite movies of all time is “Dirty Dancing”. Everyone who knows this movie knows the infamous line “I carried a watermelon”. However, there is another line that sends me to my “soap box” to rant just a little. The line delivered by the character Johnny to his forbidden love Baby is “this is my dance space…this is your dance space”. Of course, he was referring to dance techniques, something of which I know absolutely nothing about. However, I would like to reword the phrase to fit my own personal “peeve”…”This is my body….that is your body…please don’t touch me.” Realizing that this sounds a bit tough let me explain before you think I am more of a prude than I really am.
In the past year or so I have been surrounded by several pregnant friends who seem to share similar stories of random people reaching out and touching their baby bumps and/or making ridiculous comments regarding the enormity of their bellies. Over and over I have heard how some random person in the local Wal-Mart, grocery story other public area decided that it was okay to step over the boundaries of personal space and rub a pregnant belly. And let’s not forget the inappropriate comments that are freely shared regarding their girth. Where do these people get the idea that just because the mommy-to-be’s belly is protruding from her body it is okay to reach out and touch it? A close friend of mine is pregnant and is nearing her delivery due date in a few short weeks. My friend is a very petite woman with small features and with her growing baby incubating in her belly it is noticeable that she is pregnant. Unfortunately, she keeps being bombarded with inappropriate comments about how ginormous she is or how BIG her baby is going to be. As if being pregnant and gaining weight during pregnancy is not enough, now she is dealing with the fact that everywhere she goes someone invades her “dance” space and makes her uncomfortable. (By the way, her doctor is pleased with her minimal weight gain and estimates a baby under eight pounds) Other expecting friends have shared how they are randomly touched by complete strangers filling the air with questions about their due dates, their baby’s gender and other intrusive questions; often while rubbing their bellies.
What makes people think that it is appropriate to touch a pregnant belly or a newborn without permission? What makes the act of invading an expecting mother’s space okay when she is pregnant but not okay when she is not? I know that when I am standing in the check-out line I don’t have strangers come up to me and want to rub my belly or stroke the head of my child (which would be weird since he is almost 14). My point is that crossing over into another person’s personal space is never okay without permission. Sharing my thoughts with my now adult daughter she reminds me of all the times strangers would touch her head and ask where she got her red hair. It was as if because she had a head full of red curly locks she was free game for anyone to touch or comment on her hair. According to her, this was a difficult time for her and still makes her uncomfortable to this day. It’s hair people, leave it alone.
Remember the old saying “sticks and stones will hurt my bones, but words will never hurt me”? Well, words do hurt; even if you think they are harmless you must take care and think about what words cross your lips before you let them loose. Words are a lot like toothpaste; once you let them out you cannot put them back. Do not take for granted that every pregnant momma is okay with you rubbing her belly or every cute child is okay with you stroking their hair or tweaking their cheeks. Personal space should remain personal. If you feel so inclined to rub a baby bump or cross into someone else’s personal space for any reason, consider asking first, however, don’t let your feelings get hurt if your request is denied.
If in doubt take a moment to ask yourself, “would I want that person to touch me or say _________ to me? If your answer is yes, then proceed. If your answer is no, then keep your hands (and mouth) to yourself and move on. After all, life is a dance, we learn as we go and we must remember to be mindful of one another’s dance space.
Also, please visit Karla’s Lifetime Moms page and read her articles.