Whilst reading the Metro on the train to work, I read a letter that annoyed me so much I was compelled to tweet a picture of it. The letter detailed how presumptuous and self-righteous pregnant women are in requesting a seat from a fellow commuter while traveling into work. While I undoubtedly feel closer to this issue having seen how hard my wife found her commute to work while she was pregnant I still found this lack of empathy staggering. From the replies I received on twitter it seems that this isn’t an isolated incident.
It also reminded me of a post I read on the excellent blog from that Spencer bloke after his own experiences at hands, feet and elbows of ignorant commuters. I originally posted a tongue in cheek comment on this post as I commute daily and can see both sides of the coin. However, when it comes to whether you should let a pregnant women have your seat I don’t see any grey area. This really is black and white.
It doesn’t take a genius to work out that being pregnant is pretty tiring and can make you a little unsteady on your feet (UNDERSTATEMENT ALERT). Not every pregnant woman faints or falls on a train but enough do to make it a risk not worth taking. Some are just knackered and their journey would be made considerable more pleasant by sitting down. I’m happy to make a very small sacrifice to make that difference.
I don’t understand how anyone can become so determined to fight for their own piece of space that they have no thought for others. I really don’t need a seat that badly. I’m going to sit down all day when I get to work so a little standing is neither here nor there. My suffering is going to be minimal.
I know some women get embarrassed asking for seat; I offered my seat three times to the same woman last week and she turned it down because she thought I had ‘lots of stuff to carry’. While my wife was pregnant she had a bizarre experience when she got on a train at the same time as two other pregnant women. There were only two seats left so they offered each other a seat and started a friendly debate over who was the ‘most pregnant’ while the other passengers ignored them.
I think it is time to take a stand. Pregnant women: Wear your ‘baby on board’ badge with pride, ask train guards to find you a seat and ask your fellow commuters for a seat without fear or embarrassment. Fellow commuters: Join me in giving up your seat with good grace and if you don’t have one either find someone who will. Let’s make a change people!