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Now I know why they rub their bellies

I used to think pregnant women rubbed their bellies all the time because they wanted to hurt me. And I’m not entirely ready to give up on that hypothesis. It seems so reasonable. But since I’ve taken it upon myself to do some research on this whole pregnancy deal (no need to thank me–I live to serve) other possibilities are beginning to seem viable.

1. To provide data for proprioceptive adjustments. A couple of times I’ve gotten stuck by attempting to go places I no longer fit, and my Bun Bump is still small. But I’ve had about 20 years of being a particular shape, and my brain hasn’t figured out yet that things are different. Giving my somatosensory cortex constant input about my changing dimensions helps.
2. To maximize the experience of fetal movement. It’s still not enough for me to feel Bun Bun from the inside, I want to feel him from both the inside and the outside simultaneously. Which means Constant! Vigilance! is required.
3. And, okay, FINE, an overwhelming sense of love and protectiveness. Although I know that when I lovingly rub my belly I’m just rubbing myself–which is quite foolish when you get down to it–it’s as close as I can get to hugging my little one, and it just seems to happen without my really intending it. The tender stroking simply flows out of me. In the grocery store this weekend Mr. Bunny found me standing in the produce section tenderly stroking a pear.

So the next time you see a mooney pregnant lady groping herself, just be aware that while she’s probably doing it because she knows you’re struggling with family-building and she wants you to suffer, she might have some other, secondary reasons.

19 Comments Post a comment
  1. i'm guilty too. on all counts…

    February 4, 2011
  2. Whatevs.. I know it's all just to rub it in my face that I don't have a big belly… Just kidding – rub away! 🙂

    February 4, 2011
  3. Ah! Don't bunnies grow extra long whiskers when they get bigger for proprioceptive reasons? Smart bunnies, eh?(Not that I am wishing whiskers on you, I hasten to add.)

    February 4, 2011
  4. AL #

    i've become a belly rubber so I can feel every single movement from the outside, for some reason it makes it feel more real. Like, if I can feel it from the outside, I've proven to myself said movements are not just a figment of my imagination and well, neither is the pregnancy. I try to only do this while I'm at home, though 😉 (which is a majority of the time..)

    February 4, 2011
  5. haha, i used to think the same thing. "that pregnant bitch is trying to rub it in. she better stop rubbing her bellay!!" now, i do it all the time. but for me, it's bc rubbing my belly helps the soothe my contractions. i've become a nasty b*tch and now, when i get on the subway every day, i go to the handicap seats, identify the healthiest looking male, and say "do you mind if i sit, i'm pregnant". i try to be nice, but i don't think it comes out that way. few times i've had to say "REALLY??" when the person took their time or it seemed they were "thinking about it". don't f*ck with me!

    February 4, 2011
  6. Too cute, Bunny!

    February 4, 2011
  7. Yeah just you wait till bun-bun gets big! Then you'll be holding on to your belly because you think a foot is going to pop out your bellybutton!

    February 4, 2011
  8. That brain stuff (made my head spin reading that article – note to self: read more than just blogs…need to tax my brain a little harder) makes sense! Like if you trim a cat's whiskers, they can't figure out how to walk through a narrow doorway…haha. I hate seeing pregnant belly-rubbers, but who am I kidding? I'd be the biggest belly rubber out there if I was pregnant. I used to spend hours palpating my abdomen to check my ovaries back when I was still growing nasty endometriomas…

    February 4, 2011
  9. Your comment about rubbing yourself being foolish made me laugh, but that must have been my thoughts getting, er, side-tracked.And I'd so rub my belly all the time if I were pregnant.

    February 5, 2011
  10. Totally, you are so right Bunny. I always thought preggos were just reveling in being pregnant. Now, I see that it's all about enjoying movement when it's happening!! I tend to go for my belly when I feel baby bulges, in particular…..I can't help myself when I'm at home but I def try to keep it to a minimum in public! 🙂 xoxo

    February 5, 2011
  11. I am rubbing my belly at 12 weeks from the comfort and imprisonment of my couch. Not for the reasons that you wrote about but because of the terrible gas! Rub away Bunny!

    February 5, 2011
  12. I can't keep my hands off my belly! Since I'm home most of the time these days, I don't feel too bad about it. But, yes! It is definitely to maximize the amount of movement I feel. I don't want to miss one kick!

    February 5, 2011
  13. I admit it: I was a total whore in the rubbing my belly department. I rubbed it all the time, and I even found myself rubbing my belly AFTER Arlo was born, purely out of habitual affection. Sigh. My pregnancy/proprioception tale: I was ironing my clothes in my underwear one morning before work and accidentally burned my belly with the iron. I seriously had no concept of how far my belly was out and where it was in relation to the ironing board. I managed to get through pregnancy with nary a stretch mark on my belly, but I do have a creepy scar next to my belly button now from that effin' burn.

    February 5, 2011
  14. You had me at somatosensory cortex. Is that true about the pear? Love. It.

    February 5, 2011
  15. i think the poor bean will come out dented, like as not, with all the banging into things — and corners of things! oh, corners! — i do.mostly i rub my belly when it hurts. but i feel like i might be being a jerk while i do it. i'm sure my slightly pained, conflicted facial expression just gives the impression that i'm an *ungrateful* fertile bitch.

    February 6, 2011
  16. Too funny!

    February 6, 2011
  17. You touch yourself. I get it. Don't get all Divynls on me, woman. I will sit you in a room and make you listen to Ministry. Don't make me do a goth intervention. I cannot expect that your fellow faculty members will understand your sudden keenness for purple hair and platform creepers.

    February 7, 2011
  18. Hahaha. Too funny about the pear. (I, too, hope that it's true!) I haven't really started rubbing my belly just yet – perhaps because the movement is still kinda sporadic – but now I know I'll be a rubber!!

    February 7, 2011
  19. I cant wait until it becomes a source of snacks for you…What a sweet post.

    February 8, 2011

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