Why do people see women’s bodies as public property when they’re pregnant? This is a question for the anti-choicers out there, but also, more benignly, for the people who reach out to touch their pregnant bellies. One pregnant woman recently snapped at an older woman who did so, and though she feels bad about how she did it, we’re not sure she should have any regrets. The resulting thread on Reddit has some great tips for others on how to respond to this unwanted belly touching.

Reddit user ithinkkare was out shopping with her boyfriend, who struck up a conversation with this woman and helped her reach something on a shelf.

“I turned around from comparing two drinks and her eyes lit up after noticing that I was obviously pregnant,” ithinkkare wrote. “She immediately ran to me with her hands out starting to touch my baby bump. I freaked out, stepped back almost falling (bf caught me). I don’t like being touched AT ALL unless I give permission. I barely let my mom and sister touch my belly! (Bf touches it but respects my boundaries).”

“Please do not touch me again. I don’t appreciate what you did,” she told the woman, to which she replied, “How rude! I was only showing the baby some love.”

Things escalated from there, with the mom-to-be naming COVID-19, the fact that she’s a stranger, and the fact that it is her body as reasons enough to not want her hands on her.

“You need to respect your elders, little girl!” the lady said.

You can read ithinkkare’s entertainingly profane response to that, as her boyfriend led her out of the story, on Reddit. She says that though she’s generally a calm person, pregnancy hormones have heightened her emotions. Now, a month later, she feels bad.

Many on Reddit would have been cheering her on, however.

“I hated strangers thinking they had a right to touch me when I was pregnant (I’d usually act surprised and tell them I wasn’t pregnant to teach them a lesson) and I would NOT tolerate it during an effing pandemic!” FigchenVilliers wrote.

“‘Respect your elders’ RESPECT MY BODILY AUTONOMY,” MsCellaneous said succinctly.

It is also amusing to see that some Redditors are surprised that people do this unsolicited touching. Um, yeah, it happens ALL the time.

“What gets me is the strange person trying to touch my belly always seemed so offended that I didn’t allow them to,” BeRosie33 said.

“Once I reached out and started rubbing this woman’s stomach back, which she didn’t appreciate,” Gryffindor4ble wrote.

“I announced that if anyone touched my stomach, I would touch their vagina,” observer45 said, which should make ithinkkare feel better about her reaction.

We also love the many people who wrote in to say pregnant people are not residents of a petting zoo.

If we could get the rest of the world to read stories like these, maybe moms like ithinkkare wouldn’t have to face this kind of violation on their grocery runs anymore.

Need a pick-me-up after that story? Spend a few minutes holiday shopping for the kids in your life.

Amazon Holiday Toys
Amazon Holiday Toys

Launch Gallery: The Best Gifts Pregnant People <em>Actually</em> Want

More from SheKnows

Best of SheKnows

Sign up for SheKnows’ Newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.