I don’t like people to touch my baby bump.
I used to think that it’s just because I’m rather modest (by today’s standards) and private about my body. It’s just kind of how my family is. My sister and I choose not to wear shorts or leggings as pants even though we’ve never been overweight. We just believe that less is more. I believe in being a lady. More than anything, I believe that the shape of my body is mostly for my husband’s enjoyment, no one else’s.
Anyway, like I said, I used to think this was just modesty. All through my first pregnancy I had no trouble thinking that. But then when I was pregnant with Cub, my sister was also pregnant. She is far more modest than me. She is far more private. She was fine with the people close to her–like my mother–touching the baby when it moved.
I still wasn’t.
I’m still not.
Here’s the weird thing–for maybe the first time in my life, I have no body issues. I’m rocking this bump; I have zero doubt about that. It isn’t an insecurity-based issue. I just get incredibly uncomfortable. (Plus, I envision punching whoever it is in the face. Even if I like the person).
It got me to thinking that this whole thing is more emotionally tied than I like to admit.
In general, I don’t like emotional things. I don’t handle them well, historically speaking. So, I try to avoid emotions and emotional situations. They incapacitate me, and I hate when I can’t operate out of the purely logical. And having someone touch my pregnant stomach is very emotional for me.
Even now, when I have a happy, stable home and a wonderful husband, I still feel awkward when I call him over to feel our little girl squirming around. On one hand, it’s all I’ve ever hoped for. His eye light up with indescribable joy and awe. His voice gets soft and sweet as he begs her to move again for him, and tells her how much he loves her and how much we can’t wait to meet her.
…And on the other? It breaks my heart, oddly enough.
It’s hard to be present in the joy of the moment. I flash, automatically, to the two pregnancies before when things were very, very different for all of us. When I was alone. When our poor decisions kept my loving, amazing husband from having those moments. When all of the “normal” I get to experience now was just a distant dream.
I see myself at 19: scared and ashamed and convinced that I would never be a bigger disgrace to my family than I was those nine months.
I flip through the moments in television shows and movies when the daddy-to-be talks to a baby bump and glows. I see clearly that moment on Bones when Hodgins is tearing up at the diner while he and Angela talk about expecting their first child. I just never thought any of my movie moments would be happy ones.
But here we are. So happy. I’m living a fairy tale that I know I don’t deserve, and I don’t know how to handle it. I don’t know how to let go of feeling like I should be ashamed or sad or scared or in-hiding just so I can relax and be happy. I guess single-motherhood is a scar that doesn’t easily fade.
I just want to revel in the sight of the man I love gingerly cooing to our unborn child while he looks at my stomach, at my body with an appreciation I can only describe as awe. But even as I write this, I tear up. I’ve choked back tears a few times in these 600 words. And even with no one here to see, I hate it.
It makes me uncomfortable. Just like the stomach petting.
Yes, I’m convinced self-inflicted scars are the ones that last the longest. Those are the scars that stick.