Nicole Richie to pregnant women: ‘don’t let everyone touch your stomach’

Goldie Hawn Hosts Annual Goldie's Love In For Kids
People magazine has an interview with Nicole Richie and it looks like it was filmed on the same day as her last interview we covered where she said she doesn’t like to wear makeup. They asked Nicole the same question I’ve heard them ask other celebrity moms, “When you see a pregnant woman what’s the one thing you wish you could tell her?” and her answer was quite clever. Nicole would tell pregnant women that they don’t have to put up with people touching their stomachs. She also talked about how her kids, daughter Harlow, eight and a half, and son Sparrow, seven, leave cute videos and pictures for her on her phone.

There’s not one way to raise children, there’s not one way to be a mother. It really depends on your house and your lifestyle.

When you see a pregnant woman what’s the one thing you wish you could tell her
I would say, don’t let everyone touch your stomach, don’t let everyone think they have the right to just touch you because who wants that? Nobody.

If you could redo one parenting moment, what would it be?
I was very quiet around my kids when they were babies and now they’re light sleepers so I wish that I had been a little more rough with them.

When was a time your children made you laugh really hard?
They make me laugh every day. I’m always finding pictures on my phone and videos that they take.

[From People]

It’s been a long time for me but when you’re pregnant and people touch your stomach do you even get enough warning to get out of the way? Doesn’t it often happen suddenly before you have time to react? At that point, even if you catch it before it happens, how do you handle it gracefully? You could just step out of the way and say you’d prefer not to be touched but then the person will act all offended like it’s your problem. Those are the type of people who would touch a pregnant woman’s stomach in the first place – the same kind of person who would be mad if the pregnant woman said no and guarded their personal space.

Also, I don’t think that the way you act around babies when they’re sleeping influences how deeply they sleep later in life. I think how deeply a person sleeps is mostly genetic, or at least that’s what I tell myself because my son was also a light sleeper. I just looked this up and I could be right – there’s a gene that is thought to control how deeply we sleep but of course other factors, like caffeine and how sleep deprived you are, affect it. I’m one of those people who can’t have a cup of coffee or a soda after noon or I’ll be up half the night, and I bet that’s genetic too. At least coffee works for me.

Here’s Nicole pregnant in 2009, with Sparrow
Nicole Richie and a friend

Nicole Richie and Joel Madden arrive at the 2016 G'Day Los Angeles Gala at Vibiana in Los Angeles, California

Nicole Richie leaving the gym

Photos credit: WENN and Pacific Coast News

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51 Responses to “Nicole Richie to pregnant women: ‘don’t let everyone touch your stomach’”

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  1. Astrid says:

    I hated that part of pregnancy, random people touching my belly without warning. Creepy! Even had a boss do it once

    • Pix says:

      Yes! And Celebitchy is right, it always happened without warning. I had a random lady lunge toward my 9 month belly in a ladies bathroom and I had to give her the Heisman and an exaggerated excuse me. Some people say it’s cultural. I think it’s just rude.

    • doofus says:

      it is creepy, and rude, and NO ONE should be touched if they don’t want to be. One of my preggo friends was once like “feel how hard my belly is – hasn’t been this hard since I was swimming in high school!” and that was the ONLY time I ever did it. unless it’s your wife/partner/SO who is preggo, HANDS OFF.

      and any preggo woman has the right to move out of the way, block/hit the hand away and say “don’t touch me, that’s rude”. and if the person gets offended, well…who gives a f*ck? either they’re a stranger who SHOULD be told “hands off” or it’s someone who doesn’t understand boundaries and, if they get offended, someone you don’t want in your life anyway.

    • SunnyD says:

      It’s so weird! I mean imagine someone just coming up and rubbing your stomach when you’re not pregnant. You’d feel so violated. I felt super violated the 4 or 5 times it happened when I was pregnant with my kids. Many people have started asking now and accepting a polite decline. I think that’s a new social norm though. My last baby I don’t recall anyone doing it without asking, but with my oldest I had a huge hormone melt down over it in public.

    • Scal says:

      I had someone in a step class touch my belly right after a work out. 1) why are you touching me random person? 2) I’m sweaty red faced and gross after 40 minutes of step. What is wrong with you?

      It was so bizarre.

      • the_blonde_one says:

        I got to the point when i would either touch their eyelid or pat their ass in return. I wanted them to think about it next time they thought about doing that to someone else.

      • Melly says:

        That’s a really good idea. Touch them back, make them feel uncomfortable, hold the eye contact. Make them so weirded out that they never do it again.

    • Betsy says:

      I’d rather that than what I got yesterday at bus pickup, “Shouldn’t you be at the hospital?” Broad gesture toward my stomach. Thank you. I have two months left.

      • I Choose Me says:

        Something similar was said to a friend of mine. She said “nope, I’m planning on having the baby right here. And if you’re lucky, I’ll let you have the placenta cause you seem like good people and I want you to have nice things.” *shit-eating grin*

      • Sunnydaze says:

        THIS! Honestly, very few people have given me tummy rubs, but those don’t bother me anywhere near some of the rude and very offensive things people feel they can say. Ask me again if I’m having twins. Seriously. And if one more person tells me how huge I am I’ll scream in their face so help me god. No one in their right mind would make such comments with such entitlement to a non-pregnant woman, why in the hell would they think saying these things to a hormonal pregnant woman is a good idea? Rub my belly and tell me how cute/glowy I look but don’t walk by me, twist your face and say “wow, you’re really big. I’m just saying.”

  2. Colleen says:

    It was insane the way people treated my body as their own squeeze toy when I was pregnant. You would never dream of walking up to a complete stranger and grabbing or even just touching their body… why would pregnancy change that?!

    And I agree with her comment on parenting. There are as many different ways to parent as there are children. They all respond differently to different things, so what works for one might not for another.

  3. EEV says:

    I agree with her in theory, but I found I didn’t really care when people touched my stomach. It was usually people I liked our was close to anyway, so I found it sort of endearing that they were so excited. I never had a total stranger touch, but that would be a huge no-no. I’m pregnant again now, so maybe my experience this time around will be different once my belly is more obvious.

    • doofus says:

      congrats on your pregnancy – hope it’s smooth and uneventful!

      • EEV says:

        Thanks so much! So far, so good. And no belly-touches yet either (thankfully, because it’s more carbs and less baby at this point). 🙂

    • g.lamerek says:

      congrats n wish you all the best!

    • yass says:

      people touch your belly as a way to show afecction, . like when your walking in the park and they try to pet your BTW i’ never done that, but i guess the people who touches your belly its cause they may be parents themselves and went through pregnancy, or because they feel really happy and close to you 🙂
      one of my classmate told me that touching a pregnant woman’s belly is good luck, she was from another country.

  4. Cinderella says:

    I think you better know the person very well before you touch them anywhere.

  5. littlemissnaughty says:

    I don’t plan on ever getting pregnant but I would just reciprocate. Imagine someone randomly touching another person’s stomach. So very inapproriate. I don’t even want strangers touching my shoulder, much less my stomach.

    • Wren says:

      I’ve always thought it was really funny to do rude stuff right back to people. The looks on their faces are priceless. You have to play it completely innocent and straight. I used to have very long hair and a random female stranger grabbed it, like took a handful, telling me how pretty it was. So I thanked her enthusiastically and reached out to touch her hair and she recoiled with an “omg what are you doing?!” I was like, “we’re touching each other’s hair now, right?” She walked off really disconcerted. I don’t often do things like that but sometimes it’s the best way to get the “this is deeply inappropriate” message across.

      • mar_time says:

        Oh my god that’s exactly what I plan on doing should a stranger feel the need to touch my belly, reach out and touch theirs lol I’m not pregnant yet but I’m very anxious about that already, bleh

      • littlemissnaughty says:

        It’s the best thing you can do in situations like that. The people who did something rude without bad intentions will most likely laugh and realize what just happened. The others … well.

        I do this with my dad all the time, which is different, I’ll admit. But he has these incredibly annoying habits like standing RIGHT next to me while I make a sandwich. He will walk up, put himself right there with an inch between us and just watch. Until I stopped yelling and just did the same thing.

  6. Erinn says:

    It’s sad that we have to worry about offending people who are touching us without consent, ya know?

    I completely get it though, because I hateeee awkward confrontation type situations. And I’d have a hard time doing anything about it. But still. It’s sucky.

    • Melly says:

      Isn’t there some stats out there about how women are less likely to create “a scene” and just try to be polite when they feel uncomfortable. I know I’m guilty of not wanting to offend anyone. Us ladies need to get over the “not wanting to create a scene” feeling and be more vocal.

  7. AlleyCat says:

    I don’t think it’s genetic or based on the environment when you were a baby. Everyone in my family is different. I’m the lightest sleeper in the world, and the youngest (there was no way my family was being quiet for my sake). But my sisters and parents are pretty heavy sleepers. I really think it’s just a toss up.

    • Wiffie says:

      I kind of believe a little in the sleeping thing. Genetics play a part, of course, but I think she’s onto something .

      My youngest was the LIGHTEST sleeper, waking up if breathed too loudly sneaking into bed. we moved her into her sister’s room at one year, and they began to share. The first week was hell, with the classical radio on at night, plus a three year old tossing and turning, constantly waking her up. but after a week, I could put laundry away while she slept, with no waking up! She’s great now!

  8. Lee1 says:

    I think people are getting better and realizing that it’s inappropriate to touch a stranger just because they’re pregnant. I definitely had several instances of complete strangers starting to reach out towards my belly and then visibly stop themselves which was pretty funny. The only people who actually did touch me were family or friends and (usually) they asked permission first. The strangest thing was my brother’s mother-in-law asking if she could touch my belly when I was about 12 weeks pregnant. I think she was just feeling my lunch. :/

  9. mazzie says:

    I don’t get the desire to touch a woman’s stomach. Disclaimer: don’t have kids, love them. I’ve never had the desire to touch anyone’s body parts randomly. I mean, respect their personal space!

    The only time was with my SIL and she invited me to do so. In the privacy of her home. Also, never ask when they’re going to have a second baby. That strikes me as so rude.

    • EEV says:

      OMG YES to your ‘second baby’ comment. My first wasn’t even out of the womb before people started asking about a second. Having friends who’ve struggled with miscarriages and infertility, it always strikes me as odd when someone asks a couple about their first, second, third, etc. kid – a) it’s none of your damn business; b) it’s REALLY none of your damn business; and c) who knows any couple’s personal struggles with pregnancy? Imagine having to answer that question if it’s potentially your sorest and most heartbreaking subject.

      That said, I understand the curiosity – it’s usually comes from a place of love – but often a little forethought before speaking does some good.

    • Wren says:

      I never ask people about having kids. I figure if they want to tell me they will, and even so it’s hardly any of my business. I think it kinda throws some people off, like they expect everyone to ask and when I don’t they plunge into the subject by themselves. Either that or they’re so grateful that I’m not asking them anything about their future plans because everyone else is. I was probably one of the few people who didn’t bring up babies at a family member’s wedding and consequently he was always really happy to talk to me when I walked over to chat.

  10. Brunswickstoval says:

    I’ve had 4 kids and no one touched me. I definitely gave off a back off vibe. I would never touch another woman’s stomach. Just seems completely out of line.

    • Justjj says:

      Yup. Either people are more polite nowadays or I give off a don’t talk to me/touch me vibe. But my belly just really popped at 6-7 months and even know, I wear lots of loose fitting clothes in pregnancy so I feel like people feel uncomfortable approaching me in case I’m not pregnant. At most I get how far along are you? Or when is the baby due? From the occasional stranger but only one person touched me and they asked first.

    • manta says:

      I was about to post the exact same thing (3 kids for me). I clearly don’t exude joviality and warmth on a daily basis. I hate familiarity, pregnant or not, and I guess even the most clueless people can pick up on my demeanour. So they stayed away from my belly.

      And to answer the question “how do you handle it gracefully?” , the answer is you don’t have to. There are circumstances in life I consider myself excused from being graceful. This is one of them.

  11. Gretchen says:

    Luckily it only happened to me once, my husband was introducing me to someone he was working with and she just walked up, put her hand on my belly then after a few seconds looked up at me and said “hi”. Not even “hi” first. That was nearly 3 years ago and I’m still annoyed with myself that I didn’t react other than acting very cold for the remainder of our short interaction.

    I just don’t get it? I have never, not once ever had the urge to go up to a pregnant lady and put my hands on her. Poor boundaries aside I don’t even get what the appeal is?

  12. Nev says:

    Love her.

  13. Jess says:

    I honestly didn’t care one bit when random people rubbed my pregnant belly, but I do understand why some women might not appreciate it. Personally I found it endearing, people just loves babies and can’t help it, they mean well!

    • EEV says:

      I agree, but for me it really depended on the person. And I understand some women don’t want ANYone touching their belly – rightfully so. I think pregnant women are the cutest, but I’ve never once felt the urge to touch any bellies.

  14. SRB says:

    I had a woman rub my belly on the subway when very pregnant with me first, and when I said “Please do not touch me” she lost her mind, yelling at me about how rude I was and what a terrible mother I would be. I really do not understand why people (including close friends/family) do this without asking first. We don’t rub non-pregnant people! It’s bizarre that women lose body autonomy inside and out when pregnant. Please, ask first, no matter who it is.

    I generally like what Nicole has to say about being a mum. I just like her a lot overall!

  15. OTHER RENEE says:

    The best advice my Mom ever gave me was to not tiptoe around when my baby daughter was sleeping. I kept it normal: music, tv, talking. 3 months after she was born, she slept through an entire loud wedding reception. 20+ years later she’s still a deep sleeper.

  16. Mirage says:

    It may be cultural.
    I live in London. No one, ever touched or asked to touch my belly when I was pregnant. Even my close friends.
    However, I was in the south of France and Spain for 2 months when the baby was 2 to 4 months old. A lot of people tried to touch and hold the baby. Once a random woman in the metro just lounged towards him to hold him.
    At least 3 people asked to take a picture of him!
    In London it doesn’t happen. At most, I hear people say: ‘he’s so cuuute!’

    • Pinns says:

      I agree, I’m in Edinburgh and had my son 8 weeks ago. All the way through my pregnancy, not one single person tried to touch my bump, I was a bit sad that no-one wanted to share.
      In fact, once when he was kicking like mad, I said to a friend, ‘omg, do you want to feel this’ and reached out for her hand, but she recoiled in horror, very awkward!

      Probably wouldn’t have liked a total stranger to do it though.

  17. Linds says:

    Geez when I was pregnant I HATED people rubbing my belly. My boyfriend’s mom would do it every. single. time. she saw me. It’s her first grandchild and I get that she was excited but omg I always felt so uncomfortable.

    I remember my mom was literally the only person I’d spend a lot of time around who wouldn’t do it and I was like “Are you not really excited? You hardly touch the bump” and she was like “I am but I hated it when people rubbed me when I was pregnant with you, and you’re just like me so I figure you feel the same way.”

    She gets me lol *tear

  18. DesertReal says:

    Granted, I’m saying this as someone thats never been pregnant- but f**k their feelings?
    They just did the same to you by assuming that they had the right to rub all up on your midsection baby satchel.
    It might just be the way I was raised (to always defend yourself & stand up for others when they’re being treated less than fairly) but they crossed that line first. Its time to bring to their attention what they did, why it was wrong, and why they should never think that sort of behavior is acceptable to begin with.
    The kind of people that take liberties with you, are the same people that are so self-absorbed it literally has never occured to them that they shouldn’t just reach out and touch someone.
    Embarass the hell outta them.
    How else will they ever learn? Lol

  19. NeoCleo says:

    I’ve been on this earth for almost 6 decades and been around many pregnant women, friends and strangers. NEVER have I ever touched their stomach.

    People do this? How awful.

  20. Jade says:

    There is a minor Asian superstition about strangers touching your belly. An evil spirit appearing as a friendly, old lady can take away your baby after she touches it and then the victim miscarriages.

  21. Ginger says:

    My mother is a very light sleeper and has to have her sleep rituals or she’ll never fall asleep. We jokingly call her the princess and the pea. On the other hand, I’m a heavy sleeper. My family jokes that I could sleep through bombs going off. I did sleep through my share of earthquakes when I was growing up in California. When I had my son I used to have him take naps in his bassinet by the TV hoping he would get used to sleeping through noise. He is a heavy sleeper like me so I’m not sure if it’s genetics or conditioning. Lord knows I was so grateful for his heavy sleeping when he was little so I could rest too.

  22. Impmom says:

    If your baby is exposed to sudden noises or louder music, TV while in the belly they won’t be so easily startled. And I was happily surprised when everyone asked to touch my belly first.

  23. Dolkite says:

    Similarly, believe it or not, bald men do not like it when people pat or slap their head.

  24. Vox says:

    Touching a baby bump is incredibly invasive and rude and nobody should do it without explicit permission.