I Have Omphalophobia

Hi! My name is Melissa and I have Omphalophobia.

That is the fear of belly buttons in case you weren’t familiar with this particular phobia. Yes, that’s correct. I do not like belly buttons. I do not like to look at them, touch them, have mine touched or talk about them. In fact, just writing the word makes me shudder so I will now refer to them as “bb’s” throughout the remainder of this story.

I cannot pinpoint the exact time that my phobia started but it was sometime when I was child.

This was not really a debilitating phobia for me. I could pretty much go about my daily life without this causing too much harm. The early 90’s were a little bit rough when the crop tops or “belly shirts” were in style but I could usually just avert my eyes.

Entering motherhood proved to be tougher on me though and dealing with this particular phobia.

When I became pregnant with my first child I was full of anxiety. I went to one of my check-ups and my doctor asked if I had any concerns as she took a sip from her water bottle. I hesitated for a minute and then I shyly asked, “When is my belly button going to pop out and is there anything I can do to stop this from happening?” The doc’s water bottle was up to her mouth and I could see her eyebrows raise and her eyes widen. The next thing you know she was laughing hysterically and spitting water all over the place. Okay, I admit, the “bb” question is pretty hilarious, especially when you’re anticipating questions about weight gain, mood swings and safe exercises. Anyway, when we both stopped laughing I explained to her that I was very serious. I would not be able to deal with a protruding “bb”. I would need to be put into a medically induced coma if that should happen. Thankfully, I didn’t get the popped out “bb” with any of my pregnancies.

Next, having a newborn and dealing with the umbilical cord stump. Back when my Mom was having babies they used to have to clean that area with rubbing alcohol. Thank goodness this is no longer required. Now you just keep the area clean by regular bathing and in 1-2 weeks the stump falls off on its own. Of course, with my luck, this can’t go off without a hitch. One morning I changed my daughter’s diaper. With squinty eyes, I noticed her umbilical cord was still there. A few hours later, I changed her diaper again. Lo and behold….no umbilical cord! I searched everywhere and could not find it. I frantically called my husband at work and said, “The umbilical cord is gone! It fell off and I can’t find it!” He just sat on the other end of the phone quietly and then finally in an uninterested voice said, “Isn’t it supposed to fall off? What’s the big deal?”

What’s the big deal? What’s the big deal? The big deal is we have a part of a belly button floating around this house somewhere. To this day, we still have never found that umbilical cord stump. Ugh!

Now we enter into toddlerhood. I would sit down every day and teach the kids their body parts (except for one). As I’m sure you guessed I did not teach them where their “bb” was. I gladly taught them belly but we didn’t go any further than that. Luckily for them, my husband was happy to oblige them with this knowledge. Of course he likes to tease me about this weird quirk of mine so not only did he teach the kids this, he also taught them to touch it and say, “Ding-Dong.” Then he would tell the kids to show me their “new trick”. I became accustom to the telltale signs of this and whenever I saw a 1 year old walking my way with their shirt in their hands I would quickly look away as they raised their shirt and began their “ding-donging.”

This is a book we own. My kids think the title is: Where is Baby's Belly?

This is a book we own. My kids think the title is: Where is Baby’s Belly?

I think my days of direct contact with “bbs” are almost done. I don’t have to worry about mine ever popping out with pregnancy again, losing any more umbilical cords stumps and all of the kids are pretty much over “ding-donging.”

I just have to keep my fingers crossed that those crop tops or “belly shirts” never come back into style and really, I think that is best for everyone!


71 responses

  1. Be glad you didn’t get my little one. He is OBSESSED with his belly button…excuse me, “bb” 🙂 And mine popped with all 3 kids and after the last one only went back on one side so now I am forever lopsided. Oh the miracles of pregnancy.

  2. That’s quite a huge, scary-looking scientific name! So funny. Do you read Sandra Boynton’s board books? I think she has one called “The Belly Button Book” complete with a SONG about them too! 🙂

  3. Funny! My daughter ended up with more of an “outie bb” and my husband asked if there was anything we could do to prevent another “outie.” Maybe he has an “outie – only” phobia. I thought this was weird…but somehow our son ended up with an “innie.” I was also worried about my belly button popping out when I was pregnant, but it just stretched & stretched. Any question is fair game for your OB!

  4. I don’t share this phobia, but I can safely say that dealing with the belly button/umbilical stump bizzo was left wholey and soley to my husband! It freaked me out for some reason… and I was not anticipating such a reaction.

    • Yeah, I remember with one of the kids the doctor said I needed to wiggle it around at each diaper change to make sure it was drying properly! I clearly could not do that and thankfully everything turned out okay. It’s just so weird to think that something needs to dry up and fall off of you!!! ewww!

  5. I loved reading this post! I don’t have a fear of belly buttons, but I would definitely be freaked out about a rogue umbilical cord stump.

    My fear is balloons. I HATE them. Like, they squick me out so hard, I almost can’t be in the same room as them.

  6. Okay, now that is a new one! I’ve had friends who were repulsed by feet, toenails, etc., but I’ve never heard of the belly button thing. It made me giggle how your husband teases you by teaching the little ones to “ding dong” your belly button! That’s awesome! 🙂 At least you can laugh about it, so you’re coping well. 🙂

    • haha!!! That is HILARIOUS! Your mother may have had the same phobia! I really want to tell my children not to play with theirs either but somehow I have managed to bite my tongue! “Your eyes will fall out!” I can not stop laughing about it….

  7. I never knew such a phobia existed. I must admit I found your question to your gynae hilarious 😉 you’ll have a hard time with my son. He is obsessed with bbs – his, mine and everyone else’s. He will literally pull up his shirt and show it off proudly to everyone :/

  8. Melissa maybe your approached this wrong. What you say? Well If you can muster up enough courage to clean it, and you allow Alex to to put something sweet, such as chocolate, whip cream, strawberries etc. you could probably change your mind, and your Phobia may become your new favorite thing. You don’t know until you try it. Hopefully it wasn’t TMI… were all adults reading this I hope….

  9. So it’s safe to say you do not have your bb pierced? 😉 Aaaaaand I thought you were going to write about Willy Wonka oompaloompas–or however that’s spelled–when I read your title. 😉 You’ve taught me something new today!!

      • I thought the same thing as Steph. I thought you were going to write about the freakish oompaloompas. Only to discover that there is a REAL phobia of belly buttons. I can honestly say that I will never look at bb’s the same again. This was hysterical, Melissa! 🙂

  10. We all have our “things”. Fear of belly buttons, while not my “thing”, is not, I am certain, a wacky as other things I have heard folks admit to being phobic about. Also, you can pretty much avoid belly buttons, as you so eloquently pointed out.

    Do you think Iris ate her belly button stump?

    Sorry — couldn’t resist!

    • That is so mean! If she had been any older you would have had me revisiting the situation and losing sleep wondering if she in fact did! However, considering she was only a week or two old there is no way that is possible…at least that is what I am going to tell myself!

  11. This is just a very cute story and I had to share it with all my adoptive families on my Facebook page! Wait…I hope no one decides not to adopt now once they realize that bb’s are part of the job….LOL

  12. I don’t ever think about “bb” but after reading this post, I will! 🙂 WOW! I didn’t know this phobia existed! I can’t believe you never found your daughter’s umbilical cord stump 🙂 btw, your story made laugh, I know it’s not funny for you but it is funny how you describe it! also, my son loves touching his “bb” when he’s about to fall asleep; you would’ve screamed! 🙂

  13. They are still in sty;e over here…sadly and girls that wear them don’t have the figures too…oh me oh my…the youth of today. Oh Mel I never would have guessed you were scared of the navel! How very intriguing 🙂 xxx Psst they are ok…they don’t bite xxx

  14. The fact that there’s actually a name to this astounds me!! Who would’ve thunk it? I mean think about it… someone actually had to sit there and think up a name for a fear of bellybuttons! Poor you Melissa!

  15. No one should fear the bellybutton,especially pregnant women!!! I love to see pregnant bellies where the button has come out to play.The official name for these kinds of buttons is jutting bellybuttons.Most are of average size,but some are really big and really out there. These are by far the best kind and are sometimes referred to as HIGHLY CONSPICUOUS POUTING PROTRUSIONS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  16. I really wish people would take this phobia more seriously. I have omphalophobia and my ex boyfriend thought it was funny, he used to hold me down and stick his finger in it :O traumatizing to say the least. And he’s not the only person who’s done that to me! I guess it’s just a fear you have to keep a secret.

  17. This sounds terrifying I have a phobia of the dentist and that’s bad enough.

    Also I am writing a feature on unusual phobias for university and have been trying to find someone who suffers from omphalophobia. If any sufferers would be willing to answer a few questions for me that would be brill.

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