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!