The first quarter of the year is the busiest time for me at work. This year, I started getting the tube at 6.45am to get into work well before 8 am. Once I found out I was pregnant in March, I decided to keep to this schedule as the early trains are quieter, therefore more seats were available – not that I needed any more than one. My bag sits on my lap 🙂
When I was about 3 months pregnant, I offered my seat to a heavily pregnant lady on the tube as everyone else pretended not to notice her. This subject is constantly debated in the Metro, my morning paper of choice when commuting. One woman wrote in to say that she didn’t expect people to give up seats for her lifestyle choice. Did she forget that her own mother’s lifestyle choice included getting pregnant? I appreciate that everyone who pays their travel fare deserves to sit, especially when the journey is long.
The tubes have designated priority seats for pregnant women, those with small children, the elderly and for those less able to stand. I saw a woman ask a man if he could give up the priority seat he was sat on for her. He readily obliged. Me? I am too afraid to ask. So, if there are no seats available, I tend to stand. I’ve encountered more women offering me their seat – not sure why. One sweet girl on the Central line insisted I take her seat. She told me she was pregnant last year and knows how it feels to have to stand in a hot, crowded train.
This morning, I was waiting for my 6.55 am tube. The train approached, and as the door opened, I spotted a seat immediately to my left. I walked towards it, only for a woman to appear out of nowhere and make a dash for the same seat. I was shocked. Did she not see my ‘Baby on Board’ badge or the prominent 7 month bump? She didn’t have the guts to look at me. I just shook my head and walked 3 carriages down and finally found a seat. Perhaps her needs were greater than mine.
This evening after work, I waited for my train back home. There were men on either side of me. When the train arrived and the carriage doors opened, we all stepped aside to let passengers off. I couldn’t believe what happened next. The guys waited for me to get on. I said a big thank you and walked in to find a seat. So for every person who decides to keep their seat, there are 5 people who give them up.
My daily commute is long, therefore I looked for a seat for the following reasons throughout my pregnancy:
- I had terrible morning sickness. As soon as I sat down, I’d try and have a shut eye. At least I wasn’t swaying whilst standing, which carried the risk of barfing on someone’s head if motion/morning sickness got the better of me
- As the pregnancy progressed, my lower back started hurting, which affected my posture. It was easier to sit down than to stand in a swaying carriage (note the overuse of the word ‘sway’)
- Pregnancy has lowered my blood pressure, thus making me feel rather light-headed constantly. If I felt like passing out, I’d kneel forward and put my head between my legs (this sounds naughty) and breathe
- The weight of the baby has made me lose my centre of gravity, resulting in clumsiness. I would be devastated should I fall and hurt the baby in the process
I know it was my choice to get pregnant, therefore why should any paying commuter give up their right to a seat for my lifestyle choice? Perhaps this is what went through the woman’s mind this morning as she rushed for the seat I was about to sit on.
I often hear tube drivers explaining delays ahead due to passenger taken ill on the train ahead. I hope to God that won’t be me someday.
What do you think? Should you offer a pregnant woman a seat?