body autonomy is important

A Surrogate Is Wondering If She's Wrong For Not Letting Mom Feel Her Stomach

"I don’t understand the obsession with people touching pregnant bellies but it bothers me when people try to do it," she wrote.

Happy man putting a head on a pregnant woman's belly. They are very happy and enjoy their love a lot...
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No one likes to be touched without their consent. This is body autonomy 101. It doesn’t matter if you’re a kid or a pregnant person — no one should ever be touched without their permission. So when one women took to Reddit to ask users in the “Am I The A—hole” (AITA) subreddit if she was in the wrong for not allowing the mom to touch her pregnant belly, people ran to her defense.

Posting in AITA — a forum where users try to figure out if they were wrong or not during some sort of confrontational moment — the woman explained her situation. In her Reddit post, the 24-year-old woman wrote that she's currently six months pregnant as a surrogate for a family.

She prefaces that things between her and the parents have generally been good. However, there is one aspect of the arrangement that has been bothering her: the family wants to touch her stomach.

“...the family I’m surrogating for has asked multiple times if they can touch my stomach or rub it and feel the baby move and kick,” she wrote. “The wife stating that she’s always wanted to experience feeling the kicking and moving baby.”

She then explains that this surrogacy is not for medical reasons but more for personal reasons.

“Now for context she can fully have children of her own this surrogacy is a choice they made so as not to interfere with her career by being pregnant. She has a physically demanding job and doesn’t want to risk anything happening to the baby or her career. (She’s a personal trainer) They have been constantly asking me to touch my stomach and I always politely decline as it is uncomfortable for me,” she continued.

She then explains that despite setting clear boundaries and literally asking the mom to stop touching her stomach, she continues to cross those lines and touch her anyway. On top of that, she then berated the young woman and told her that she was “ruining” the experience for her, telling the pregnant woman that it was her child that she was carrying which gave her the right to touch the woman.

“Well while me and wife were at a baby appointment last week she reached over and rubbed my stomach while talking to the doctor. I kindly asked her to stop touching my stomach and she snapped at me and said I was ruining the experience for her and it’s her baby she should be able to feel her kick,” she said. “I snapped back and said that it may be her baby but it’s my body and that if she really wanted to feel her baby kick she should’ve gotten pregnant herself.”

Since their confrontation, the woman has been receiving calls from the wife and the husband, calling her an "a-hole" for defending herself against the mom.

“My friends and parents are split on whether I’m an [a-hole] or not since it is their baby,” she concluded.

The response in the AITA thread was overwhelmingly on the surrogate’s side. After being upvoted over 6,000 times with over 1k comments, Reddit users backed up the surrogate for protecting her boundaries with the couple. “It is HER body. Not the soon-to-be mom’s body. And maybe the statement about her being pregnant herself is harsh but it is only harsh because it is true,” one user wrote.

Another user echoed, “It’s your body, your rules. Touching you is not bonding with the baby, or for the baby. They can bond when it’s born—and they will. It’s a joyous, exhausting time.”

One user pointed out that if the journey of pregnancy was truly so important to this woman, she might have considered doing it herself. “If she really wanted to bond with her child, maybe she would have considered placing more importance on that versus being a personal trainer. I would think a pregnant personal trainer would be in great demand for training other pregnant women how to exercise safely and productively. NTA,” they wrote.

Another user tried to find the middle ground and understand both sides of the argument. On one hand, there is no way that this surrogate should be touched without her say-so. However, if this meant a lot to the soon-to-be parents, it should have been noted early on in the pregnancy.

“For what ever reason she's not having the baby, her only connection is a minute at most to feel the movement. If you told them before pregnancy that touch would not be possible than NTA,” they wrote. “If you waited until you were late in your pregnancy where the expectations was there for at most a few minutes to have her only connection to the baby than YTA.

Read the entire subreddit here.