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Pregnant Woman Called Out For Refusing To Let Surrogate Family Touch Her Belly

Future mom touching surrogate mother's belly
JLco-Julia Amaral/Getty Images

Though pregnancy is often portrayed as a magical time, many women have opened up about feeling like they’d lost their body autonomy while pregnant.

Between people wanting to touch their bellies and frequent invasive appointments, it’s easy to guess why, agreed the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.

Redditor Dangerous_South_9178 was never a fan of the belly touching many people felt entitled to, both during her own pregnancy and now during her surrogacy.

But when her surrogate family accused her of stealing their pregnancy experience away, the Original Poster (OP) wondered if she was asking them too much by wanting them to respect her physical boundaries.

She asked the sub:

“AITA for not letting the surrogate family touch my stomach and feel the baby move?”

The OP had one concern while she was a surrogate mother.

“So I (24 Female) am currently 6 months pregnant as a surrogate for a family.”

“Everything has been smooth sailing for the most part throughout this process other than one thing.”

“Even when I was pregnant with my daughter, I could not stand people touching my stomach. I don’t understand the obsession with people touching pregnant bellies, but it bothers me when people try to do it.”

“Anyways, 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.”

“The wife stated that she’s always wanted to experience feeling the kicking and moving baby.”

The family was frustrated by the OP’s boundary.

“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.”

“Well, while the wife and I 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, so she should be able to feel her kick.”

“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.”

The argument caused a division.

“I’ve gotten calls from her and her husband calling me an AH for yelling at her for bonding with her child.”

“My friends and parents are split on whether I’m an AH or not since it is their baby.”

“So Reddit, AITA?”

Fellow Redditors weighed in:

  • NTA: Not the A**hole
  • YTA: You’re the A**hole
  • ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
  • NAH: No A**holes Here

Some agreed the OP had a right to have her body respected.

“NTA. Just because your carrying the baby doesn’t give them a right to touch you without permission.” – No-Wallaby-2072

“OP is NTA. No one is entitled to touch someone else without their express permission; how sad their story is or isn’t has no bearing on that very simple fact.”

“Crossing boundaries and disregarding bodily autonomy perfectly justifies the reply lacking in tact.” – Captslackbladder

“NTA. 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.” – HobbittBass

“You’d think she’d be grateful enough to, at the very least, not snap at OP.”

“Also! I’ve never been (nor will I ever be) pregnant. I do, however, have sensory issues. I hate hate hate being touched without my consent.”

“And you know, literal children can respect that. I’d say someone who’s having another person have her baby d**n well should, too.”

“NTA. I’m so sorry. It must suck that you were willing to do this for them and this is how they repay you. The audacity is off the charts. She literally decided to have her baby grow inside a person who is not her, she has zero right to complain when you’re awesome enough to step up to the task.” – angryglobinnoises

“She’s not just ‘carrying the baby,’ her body is growing the fetus and giving it life, something the biological mother chose not to do because she didn’t want to be inconvenienced for the duration of the baby’s gestation.”

“She sounds a tad selfish and self-centered. You’re definitely NTA.” – ThanksIllustrious104

Others found the OP’s comment about pregnancy harsh but also understood.

“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.”

“I hope the surrogate family has time for the baby when it arrives. Always a shame when a baby messes up your plans…” – PollythePony1993

“She was harsh, but it’s not like OP said that to someone who couldn’t get pregnant. She said it to someone who could but chose not to.”

“Which is of course valid because it’s her body, but if your choice involves another person getting pregnant for you, then you have to respect their boundaries. So OP is firmly NTA.”

“(And if she’d said it to someone who was infertile, it would just be ESH. Not being able to get pregnant isn’t a reason to think you have control over someone else’s body, but in that case, the person deserves more tact than someone who just decided she didn’t want to get pregnant and doesn’t like the consequences of that choice.)” – Holiday_Cabinet_

“NTA. I’m a mom via surrogacy myself, and I never got to feel my babies kicking. Our surrogate was constantly complaining about how sensitive her stomach was to any kind of touch (even clothing), so I didn’t even bother asking.”

“Even though I really felt like I missed out (just once would have been fine), I still respected the fact that it was her body and her choice.”

“Even though she’s allowed to be in the room during the delivery according to the contract, what happens if you need a C-section and they only let one person in? Definitely worth discussing that now, as that person is supposed to be there to make medical decisions on your behalf as necessary.” – DragonwinWrangler

“I think knowing them helps your case to say you are happy to help them in this situation and you recognize the financial benefits you’re receiving from the arrangement, but that you just really hate being touched.”

“I personally don’t care about belly rubs when I’m pregnant(from family and friends), so I have to check myself when close friends and family are pregnant.”

“It sounds like this woman is similar and also just disrespectful a little by continually trying and ignoring your requests. NTA, but try to not let yourself dwell on it, it isn’t worth you stressing over when you have so much going on already.” – Terrible_Ad3534

But some felt conflicted in favor of the family’s needs.

“NTA. Your right to body autonomy is undisputed.”

“But I might suggest that surrogacy is something you really think twice about going forward or at least have this no-touch boundary conversation up front with prospective parents.”

“I don’t think it’s abnormal or unfathomable that feeling the baby kick is something they’d want to experience in lieu of carrying the baby themselves, no matter the reason that they chose the surrogacy route.” – Emmyxo212

“It’s completely understandable that she wants to feel the baby move.”

“It’s also completely understandable that you don’t want your stomach groped.”

“You’re a human being, not an oven for her cake.”

“I would have said NAH had she not been so pushy, but as I’ve said I can understand both viewpoints… your body your choice is the most important thing though so you’re NTA.” – Delilahpixierose21

“NTA. It is your body. I can understand her desire (it’s quite natural) but there’s signed a contract, right? She asked and you declined. She doesn’t get to do this when she thinks you’d be too embarrassed to stop her.”

“Suggestion: if you do this again, specify this and put it in the contract. This isn’t your first pregnancy and you told your own family and friends it was a no, so you knew this.” – Babshearth

“They crossed a line by touching her without consent, but it astounds me there wasn’t a conversation about this ahead of time.”

“Yes, they knew OP didn’t want her belly touched when she carried her own daughter, but it’s their baby this time. I don’t think it’s unreasonable for them to think she’d allow it once or twice.” – Elaan21

“Honestly? ESH. They should not be touching you without your permission, I can’t stress that enough. But also, I find it to be strange to become a surrogate and know you’re not comfortable with the parents touching your stomach.”

“What you’re doing is very admirable but I feel like it would be expected that they would want to rub your stomach and would’ve been a reason to talk to them about it before going through with it and potentially turn it down.”

“They also probably thought they would be avoiding this exact situation since they’re long-time family friends.” – Fantasi

“Like on one hand, NTA to not want to be touched. It is still her body and she still has complete autonomy. No means no. And the future mother is an a**hole for pushing the matter after OP already said no multiple times.”

“But on the other hand, it is odd to me that she’d even want to be a surrogate, knowing this bothers her this much. Not wanting complete strangers to touch her belly I understand, but obviously, the parents would want to feel the baby kick, etc.”

“I’m sure for them it’s very meaningful. But oh well, I guess that’s something for them to keep in mind if they have another kid via surrogacy.” – MeltedtoButter

The subReddit appreciated how complicated this situation was, with a person deserving the right to protect their body even if they’re pregnant. But being a surrogate, to a family who wants to be kept in the loop, surely complicates things.

While the subReddit agreed it was the OP’s right to set boundaries about her body, many could also see where the family might be disappointed.

Written by McKenzie Lynn Tozan

McKenzie Lynn Tozan lives in North Chicago, where she works as a poet, freelance writer, and editor. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from Western Michigan University, and her BA in English from Indiana University South Bend. Her poems have appeared in Rogue Agent, Whale Road Review, the James Franco Review, Thank You for Swallowing, and elsewhere; and her essays and book reviews have appeared with Memoir Mixtapes, The Rumpus, BookPage, and Motherly, among others. When she's not reading and writing, she's in her garden or spending time with her family. For more, visit www.mckenzielynntozan.com.