It’s About Consent. Please Don’t Touch Her Baby.

by | September 8, 2018

Babies are cute. It’s human nature to be drawn to them, to touch them, pinch a cheek, rub a hand, smell their hair. It’s like some maternal force takes over, “Agh baby, I need to cuddle for my own self-gratification.” Well, don’t. Please don’t touch her baby.

What is it that makes you think it’s perfectly ok to touch a strangers child? Are you all of a sudden broody? Does it remind you of when your kid was tiny? Are you missing the feeling of being needed and loved unconditionally? Whatever your reasons are, refrain and please don’t touch her baby. I’ve done it myself in the past not thinking anything of it. Don’t get all judgy when they pull their stroller back or turn their baby away from you. It’s not personal. It’s not about you, but please don’t touch her baby.

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You never know what struggles a family is enduring. You have to stop and think before you reach out and touch a stranger’s child. You don’t know if there are medical issues that they have to constantly worry about.

As she paces the entire night away in the emergency room for what seems like an eternity, with her immunosuppressed son who is burning up. She replays every step she made that day trying to think where he could have caught some kind of virus. She texts everyone she’s been in contact with, friends, neighbors, daycare, everyone she said please don’t touch my baby to. Thinking maybe he touched something while they were out that she didn’t get the chance to wipe down feverishly.

Was it the train at playgroup that he picked up after Sally had drooled all over it? She finds herself praying that they get proficient nurses or a familiar doctor, that they have all of his records without having to answer questions she’s been asked a bazillion times. ”You already know all of this, just treat him, quickly.”

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Then it dawns on her. The sweet old lady at the craft store. You touched her kid. How were you to know that her child has taken immunosuppressant drugs? How could you have known? You never asked. You just came right over touched his little hand. She remembers you vividly now. You were offended when she pulled her son away and said: ”please don’t touch my baby.” You scoffed at her and shuffled off.

As they wrap her child like a mermaid to get a urine sample, and she has to do some kind of WrestleMania wrap on him for them to draw blood, she pictures your scoffed face and she’s angry. When he looks at her and his face says ”Mommy save me” she thinks of you. 

She thinks of you, and she’s angry. Even worse, she’s angry at herself, thinking she’s a terrible, mom for not being able to protect her child. You may be thinking, “this could have come from anywhere,” “you can’t watch them twenty-four hours a day,” but I’d be willing to bet that anyone who says this has never seen their child laying on that all too familiar bed in the pediatric oncology unit, looking helpless and frail.

Her kid won’t be shy about saying “no thank you,” for giving an elbow bump instead of hugging and she doesn’t care if this offends you. This is not about you.

So please, please don’t touch her baby.

please don't touch

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Julie Nealon

Associate Editor, New York USA | Contactable via [email protected]

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