How To: Ask People To Back Off From Your Bump (Or Baby)
We’ve tried not to mention the C-word on the blog over the last few months. We know you’re well aware of the pandemic, so the last thing we want to do is ruin your shopping experience by reminding you of it. But, there’s one element of the coronavirus that many of you are asking about, and that’s how to ask people to back off from your bump.
It’s a problem as old as time, well-meaning strangers intrude into your personal space and, uninvited, put their hands on your bump or touch your baby’s face. It’s intrusive and unsettling at the best of times, let alone when there’s a virus on the loose. So, we’ve temporarily broken our COVID-free bubble to offer you some tried and tested ways to stop people in their tracks. Most of the suggestions you’ll find below are to-the-point but polite, others are a little less so - whatever mood or situation you find yourself in, we’ve got you covered.
This is, without fail, the easiest and most effective way to stop someone from touching you or your baby, but it does rely on you being able to make eye contact. As the toucher leans in, get in their eye line and give them… the look. You know the one. The don’t-try-me, you-better-step-back, mama-bear look.
Over the coming years, you’ll have plenty of time to practice this one, whether it’s aimed at that kid about to push your child off the swing, or at your own child as they argue for the umpteenth time that ice-cream is a valid dinner choice. So, there’s no better time to start honing “the look” than the present.
Let’s face it, there’s no good reason for someone to invade your personal space, regardless of whether you have a glorious bump or are mother to the world’s most adorable baby. Many a fed-up, heavily pregnant mum will tell you that sometimes, turning the tables is the only solution. After all, why should you be the one put into an uncomfortable situation?
“Oh, did you think…? I’m not pregnant.” It’s a white lie guaranteed to make that well-meaning stranger turn bright red, make a hasty retreat and think twice before reaching for someone else’s bump! You’re practically doing a public service!
This is a great option if you’re not the confrontational type and the thought of shutting down an old lady in the supermarket makes you feel queasy. A well-timed gasp and a protective hand over your bump or baby will stop even the most eager of strangers. Best of all, you can quickly follow it up with a “sorry, coronavirus” for the ultimate polite, but firm impact.
When all else fails, or the alternatives just seem too exhausting, the truth is always an option. We don’t know people’s stories. Perhaps that little old lady hasn’t seen her grandkids for the last three months. Maybe that woman in the queue has just battled through another failed IVF treatment. Kindness, understanding and honesty can go a long way in a world that seems to get more bleak by the day.
No, it’s not ok for people to put you or your child’s comfort or health at risk. No, just because you’re pregnant doesn’t mean you’re fodder for the general public. But let’s face it, the “touchers” of the world are human, just like the rest of us. We all make mistakes from time to time. We’re all guilty of forgetting for a brief moment that the world has changed so totally.
So, perhaps the next time you’re faced with a smiling face and an outstretched hand, an honest, kind, but straight-forward “no touching please,” is the best way to go.
Or keep a rolled-up, swat-ready newspaper on hand. No judgement from us. ;)
Ready for more honesty? You might like 'What I didn't know and wish someone had told me about'...The Fourth Trimester.
Originally from New Zealand, Sarah is a mother to two boys and has lived in the UK for the past 10 years. She is a home-educator, freelance writer, Netflix-binger and has a penchant for strong black coffee.