Pregnant women still have bodily autonomy! - Forums at Psych Central



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Old 04-17-2019, 12:36 PM #1
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Default Pregnant women still have bodily autonomy!

Why do people think it's okay to touch a pregnant woman's bump??? It's not! It's a violation of their boundaries. I have seen men and women cross this line and it never ceases to shock me.

Kristen Bell (who I appreciated because she is open about her depression/anxiety) recently did this to a woman on TV and I was so disappointed in her. I could see the discomfort on the pregnant woman's face but she didn't say anything. Pregnancy doesn't eliminate a woman's bodily autonomy! Women need to respect each other's boundaries as much as men.

Thoughts?

Did someone do this to you when you were pregnant? How did you respond?

Why do you think people do this? Like I said, I've seen men and women do it. It's bizarre.
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Old 04-17-2019, 10:06 PM #2
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Default Re: Pregnant women still have bodily autonomy!

I don't think we should touch a lady's bump and nobody ever touched my baby bumps, thank goodness.
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Old 04-18-2019, 04:57 AM #3
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Default Re: Pregnant women still have bodily autonomy!

I’m speaking as the guilty party.....honestly? I never thought I was doing anything wrong, it was just a way of me showing interest, it was my way of connecting....I guess this is how others felt (who did this) it was how they reached out? I can see how awful this sounds, but, for me, o harm was meant.
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Old 04-19-2019, 11:04 AM #4
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Default Re: Pregnant women still have bodily autonomy!

I tend not to touch others in case I'm violating their space. Definitely do not touch a woman's bump. Too personal.
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Old 04-19-2019, 02:59 PM #5
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Default Re: Pregnant women still have bodily autonomy!

I honestly think it’s very innocent. People are showing interest and affection towards the growing baby inside. They’re not necessarily trying to violate somoeone’s space but showing affection. It’s really about feeling the baby inside. But I see how it can be a violation of personal boundaries too.
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Old 04-19-2019, 10:54 PM #6
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Default Re: Pregnant women still have bodily autonomy!

My point was not to suggest that everyone who touches a woman's pregnant bump is intending harm. I understand that the folks on this thread didn't mean to cause a problem. And I thank you for contributing to the thread. The issue is that intention doesn't actually matter; it remains a boundary violation regardless. It's no more appropriate to reach out and touch a pregnant woman's abdomen than it is to do the same to a woman who is not pregnant. Similarly, you wouldn't reach out and take food off another woman's (or man's) plate, right? There's a boundary there. If you're having dinner with a friend, and her fries look particularly delicious, you might ask if you may try one. But you wouldn't just grab one. And you wouldn't ask a stranger for some of their fries, right?

I created the thread because my sister and a friend both experienced unwanted touching during their pregnancies. And I've seen it happen several times recently in my own life as well as on TV. My sister and friend did not know what to do because they were so shocked when it happened....they froze and then felt violated for the rest of the day.

This seems like something which could be easily corrected in society if we start talking about it. Nobody has a right to touch anyone else's body without consent...whether curious about a baby or not. Why assume that a woman wants you to connect with or feel her baby? I also don't think it's a good idea to ask to touch the bump (though that's at least better than doing it without consent) because that is something that should be offered, not requested.

There's a growing body of research on the importance of bodily autonomy....particularly training children to be mindful of it at a young age. It is an important step in preparing them both to respect others' boundaries but also so they know how to ask for help if someone is violating their boundaries. Two groups in society often do not have their bodily autonomy respected: children and women. Nobody would walk up to a man and pat his head or stroke his abdomen. But a lot of people think this is okay to do to a child or a pregnant woman. It's not. We need to respect the bodily autonomy of women and children just as much as we do with men.

Last edited by SilverTrees; 04-19-2019 at 11:22 PM.
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Old 04-20-2019, 09:40 AM #7
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Default Re: Pregnant women still have bodily autonomy!

Quote:
Originally Posted by SilverTrees View Post
I understand that the folks on this thread didn't mean to cause a problem.
What do you mean by this? I am one who offered a differing perspective, and you seem to be stating that it's causing a problem? How so?

I offered a different opinion that differs from your own. That doesn't mean I am wrong. I am simply explaining where some people, if not many, may be coming from.

You seem very adamant about protecting your stance, and that is fine! You have a right to your opinion, and it seems like you're protective of your family members, which is perfectly understandable. If that's how they felt, then that's terrible, and it does seem like a violation of THEIR space. Perhaps not ALL women feel this way, however? My own sister loved having her belly touched, with every pregnancy. It was never a problem for HER. And I am sure there are many women for whom it's not a problem, and many for whom it could be.

I was just offering a different perspective. It doesn't need to create a problem.
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Old 04-20-2019, 12:39 PM #8
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Default Re: Pregnant women still have bodily autonomy!

I think perhaps one of my posts was misunderstood. I was referring to the act of unwanted touching as problematic....I was not deeming the thread or any of the posters as a problem.

I've read the research on bodily autonomy and believe it is very important. I also participate in a women's discussion group where this topic came up. Folks of course don't have to agree with me. Peace to all

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Old 04-20-2019, 02:00 PM #9
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Default Re: Pregnant women still have bodily autonomy!

Quote:
Originally Posted by SilverTrees View Post
I think perhaps one of my posts was misunderstood. I was referring to the act of unwanted touching as problematic....I was not deeming the thread or any of the posters as a problem.

I've read the research on bodily autonomy and believe it is very important. I also participate in a women's discussion group where this topic came up. Folks of course don't have to agree with me. Peace to all


Oh I see now what you meant. Got it. Sorry, I misunderstood.
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Old 04-20-2019, 03:12 PM #10
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Default Re: Pregnant women still have bodily autonomy!

I agree, SilverTrees. I personally think it's bizarre and I would NOT have taken to it kindly if someone had felt entitled to paw me. Fortunately they did not. I would have been horrified and they would have gotten a swift and decidedly negative reaction.

It is *not* touching the baby. It is touching the woman. If the woman in question feels differently about that, or is ok with it, she can always invite contact. Period.
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