baby

"To all those strangers who feel they have a right to touch my baby: don't."

The waitress put her face into my daughter’s pram, hovered about 10 centimeters from her face, proceeded to pinch her chubby cheeks, ruffle the few strands of hair on her head and say, “she’s so cute”.

All without asking my permission.

My mummy overprotective instincts told me that I should savagely pounce on this random woman who was attacking my precious eight month old. Instead, I forced a smile, said thanks through gritted teeth and mentally wished she would f*ck off. She eventually left.

This waitress wasn’t waiting on my table. Until the very moment that her face was in my daughter’s face, I had not even noticed her. She didn’t say hi to me first. She didn’t ask if she could talk to, touch or look at my baby.

No stranger would ever do this to an adult. Most adults wouldn’t do this to a dog (they would check first if it was okay). So why do people feel it is okay to do this to a baby?

"Get your hands off my baby." Image: iStock

It's not the first time my daughter has had to endure strangers invading her space. She's a cute baby. I know, I'm her mum and I'm biased, but she's cute. Her cheeks are far to big not to be squeezed. She has the most piercing, big blue eyes that just draw you in.

Ever since she was born, random adult strangers have forced their way into her pram. Pulling back the blanket I've placed so she can sleep. Picking up their kid so they can both breath on her. Grabbing her dummy and shoving it into her mouth despite her not needing it.

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None of these intrusive strangers introduce themselves to me. They don't ask me if they can say hi to my daughter.

"Ever since she was born, random adult strangers have forced their way into her pram." Image: Supplied

For a long time, I thought I was alone in my hatred of these people (and yes, it is as strong as hatred). I understand that they have no malicious intent. I understand that their ovaries have just kicked in to overdrive and to satisfy the urge they need to touch my baby. So, I squashed my feelings down. I told myself it was just the birth hormones fulling my hatred. It was nothing to get all that upset about.

Then it happened when my husband was with me. I saw in him what I was feeling. I saw him want to grab the stranger's hand and shake them.

"It happens all the time," I told him.

Now, let's say these grown ups treated my daughter with the manners they would treat another adult. They would ask me if they could touch her, and I would say, "No, she's not very good with strangers". Which is the truth. My daughter is only just getting over being utterly fearful of anyone who isn't mum or dad. Having strangers invade her space with no warning doesn't exactly help her get over this stage.

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It doesn't help my daughter get over being fearful of strangers. Image: iStock

Then there is the germ factor. I know it's good for babies to get germs and build their immune system, but how do I know if the person breathing onto my daughter's face has the flu (highly possible seeing as though we are in the middle of winter), or whooping cough (highly possible with outbreaks happening all over the country due to anti-vaxxers).

Finally, I aim to teach my daughter that her body is her body. Her space is her space. She has a right to decide who she says hello to and who comes into her space. Right now, I feel like I'm failing her in order to be polite to random strangers who don't give her the choice (which at the moment is checking with me).

I know I'm not the only one who experiences this. I've come across mums on Facebook who've experienced this. I know my daughter isn't the only irresistible baby.

To all those strangers who feel they have a right to touch my baby: don't. She might be a baby, but she's also a person. How would you like it if someone you've never meant started touching you without your permission?

Featured image: Supplied.

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