Would You Give Up Your Seat for a Pregnant Woman?

I’m not normally one to complain and I don’t believe I’m privileged or expect anything from anyone, least of all their seat. However, I’ve never been on the other side of the whole seat debate on public transport before and I have to admit, as a pregnant women, I was quite surprised and ultimately disappointed in the reaction and lack of action on the part of my fellow commuters last Tuesday.

Is it an unwritten rule that a seat should be provided for a pregnant woman? I am not someone who would ask for a seat if I desperately needed one. I am a ‘suffer in silence’ kind of person. And that’s my own failing, no one else’s.

However, on Tuesday morning, I was left standing on the morning journey into work with the usual commuters who I have seen every journey for the past ten years. I am now at the stage in my pregnancy when it’s fairly obvious that I’m pregnant. At 23 weeks, the bump is nice and big and round. I’m over the severe bouts of morning sickness (thank God) but that doesn’t mean that this pregnancy is now plain sailing. My iron levels are low and I suffer light-headedness with the accompanying dizziness and nausea. A seat on the bus is particularly helpful these days. In fact , it’s necessary.

Luckily, my morning commute is a relatively pleasant journey where I catch up on blog admin, Facebook or, hell, have a quick snoozy nap. I always get a seat since this particular bus rarely hits capacity. In fact, I’m one of those people who likes to sit in the same spot, or near enough, every day. As are my fellow travellers it seems.

Tuesday morning was an exception. It was lashing out of the Heaven’s with the heavy rain clearly encouraging some ordinary car drivers to take the bus instead. Of course, who wants to get caught in the inevitable wet and cumbersome traffic. The bus was crowded.

My heart sank as I stepped onto the bus and swiped my Leap Card. Two men were already standing and all seats downstairs were taken. I checked upstairs. Nada. Not even a spot at the very, very back where five people can squish up against each other under the rumbling of the buses engine.

Pregnant woman commute bus

 

Disheartened, I made my way back downstairs and took up a prime spot which I felt would keep me and bump safe on the forty five minute commute. At this stage I was still wearing my coat, zipped up to my chin so the bump was relatively hidden. After stepping onto the bus, out of the miserable rain, the incredible mugginess and heat of the bus became blisteringly apparent. It was that kind of sweaty heat from sweaty heads and wet feet. I took my hat and scarf off and opened my coat.

Hello Bump!

Now, I wasn’t asking or expecting someone to give me their seat but I also wasn’t expecting anyone to catch my eye and quickly look away. As though I was about to launch into a tirade of ‘I’m pregnant. Get up you lowly non reproducing being and let me sit.’ Almost everyone closeby, who was still awake and not taking the journey as an opportunity for forty winks, clasped eyes on the bump and ignored it. They straight up acknowledged me and ignored me in the same second.

Amazing. I was stunned.

The journey got progressively worse as the driver let more people on. The heat rose, the air circulation diminished and my bump was getting poked as people crushed passed me to find a spot to hang on to. I ended up throwing the coat off and stood holding my bump as I regulated my breathing to stop myself from overheating and passing out. It wasn’t the most pleasant of journeys.

Of course, the traffic was shit because of the rain which in turn meant the commute was longer. I was almost crying, wishing I could get off the bus, desperate for some cold winter air.

Again, I’m not one to complain. I couldn’t ask a bus full of people if I could take someone’s seat. In hindsight, I’m an idiot and I won’t (I hope) let myself suffer like that again. But I needed a seat and here’s why.

Why I needed a seat:

  • The heat was encroaching on me. I am petite and sank under the arms and heavy coats of others around me. It was suffocating. My breathing is not necessarily the best at the moment since my uterus is pushing on my lungs. I actually laboured my breathing to get enough air so I wouldn’t pass out and tried to regulate my body temperature.
  • I had to stand bump out because I didn’t want to risk my bump being pushed in against barriers and railings. This meant Little Bean got an unwanted massage, poke and prod from handbags, elbows and rucksacks as travellers pushed past me.
  • The bus jolted on more than one occasion sending me, and other passengers, thrusting forward into people, bags, and railings. My center of balance is off as the bump gets bigger so I could easily have gotten thrown further than normal, unable to catch myself.
  • I was light-headed and dizzy from standing for so long with the all-encompassing heat. Heat, lack of air and standing are not a good combination for a pregnant woman.

One thing that quite upset me, was that the bus driver, I’m sure, saw that a pregnant woman was standing, awkwardly and dangerously on his bus. And the driver did nothing.

Is it the lack of Irish concern or is this a worldwide phenomenon? Have we stopped caring as a society? The flippancy with which I was brushed aside was surprising, not shocking but surprising. I know I’m not the first pregnant woman to have stood for forty five minutes on a hot bus and unfortunately I won’t be the last.

I posted on Facebook when I got to work about my journey and the outrage and sadness at my morning commute was obvious from followers. It made me think more about how dangerous it actually is for a pregnant woman to stand on public transport. My own stupidity and shyness meant I not only suffered a difficult journey but also potentially risked my child.

If I don’t ask for a seat, I am telling everyone on that bus who saw me and ignored me that it is perfectly ok to ignore a pregnant woman and not offer your seat. If I allow myself to stand on a commute when I so obviously need a seat, I am accepting that I am putting my health and my unborn child’s health at risk.

I’m an idiot… don’t be like me. Ask for a seat. Better still, if you see a pregnant woman, insist they sit down and give, don’t offer, give them your seat.

Would you give your seat up for a pregnant woman? I know I have and will again.

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27 Comments

  1. I have, do and will continue to give up my seat for anyone that needs it more than me. One of the reasons I ended up starting maternity leave early was that I just could not cope with the commute any more. People are so incredibly selfish!

    1. The commute is really starting to get to me as well as the early mornings. Last time, I started my leave early too because I was absolutely burnt out from it. More days like that Tuesday and I’ll be begging to take my maternity leave! People really can be so selfist 🙁

  2. Absolutely! I have shown my son how to be a good person by leading by example. My 17 year old would always offer his seat to anyone pregnant, appearing to struggle or just looking like they might need it. He would also help to move luggage from the wheelchair space and do anything he could to help others. Simply because he learned from a very young age that we do what we can to help others and to be kind. #KCACOLS
    Rachel George recently posted…Petitioning for what???My Profile

    1. I find it quite incredible that this was a bus full of 30 something workers. All of which ignored me. I can almost guarantee you that a teenager would have given me their seat. We’re losing respect for each other in this generation 🙁 Great that you are teaching your son, I’ll be doing the same with my daughters

  3. I think many people have simply lost their empathy for others, and that is very saddening. We don’t have much public transport where I live, but I would definitely give up my seat on the bus for someone who needed it more than me. Thanks for the reminder <3 #KCACOLS

  4. Have only now caught up on your blog having been on holiday for the past three weeks and have felt very angry and extremely sad that you had such an horrific bus journey to work. But I believe this happens in other countries too. I recall a friend of mine remark a train journey in Spain where she had to stand, heavily pregnant and two young children with her. I do remember seeing a sign on a bus, ‘please give up this seat for a pregnant woman or the elderly’, which bus I cannot recall. I am still feeling angry over your ordeal.

    1. Thanks Marsha. I was quite shocked by the attitude as I watched those around me and the lack of care. I’m so glad I wasn’t feeling any worse than I could have. Those signs are still on specific seats on buses but people are oblivious to them. Its the lack of empathy and consideration that really gets me.

  5. I would totally give up my seat for a pregnant woman or anybody who looked like they needed for that matter! Luckily whilst I was pregnant my journeys to work was by car. One day though I got a train into manchester and clearly I was pregnant. No body stood up, as you were I got light headed, sweaty and nervous. I was appalled and also like you, I’m not the type to ask.

    I always remember my late dad instilling in me that I should stand up / give up my seat for others and I intend to teach my children the same. Shame on people.

    #KCACOLS
    Helen @Talking_Mums recently posted…Recipe: Banana Fritters (or pancakes?)My Profile

    1. It’s absolutely so sad that people can be so inconsiderate in this day and age. We used to be a lot better but I worry this wont be my last time standing on the bus and pregnant. People have so little consideration for each other anymore

  6. I think it’s shameful that people don’t give up their seat. I had really really low blood pressure when pregnant and would have passed out in your situation! Though like you I probably wouldn’t have asked for a seat. I’d probably end up sat on the floor blocking an aisle or something! #KCACOLS

    1. I have actually done that! I wasn’t pregnant at the time but the heat was unbearable and I felt horrendously sick and faint. I kneeled down on the floor and stayed there until I could jump off the bus where I vomited straight away! It was horrible and no one paid me a blind bit of notice that time either! Maybe I’m invisible! :p

  7. I would always stand up for a pregnant woman or an elderly person or someone in need. I can’t believe you had to stand the whole way and nobody gave up their seat. When I was pregnant and had to get the train I had no qualms about asking someone (usually men) if I could sit down. I know you may feel shy, but please don’t suffer in silence again, please ask someone and guilt trip them into giving you their seat. #KCACOLS x
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  8. I always offer a seat to anybody that needs it more than me, I haven’t used a bus in years now but I think it’s shocking the lack of safety on buses! Most of the bus drivers drive like idiots too around here. It’s awful nobody gave you a seat, I don’t know what’s wrong with the world lately #KCACOLS

  9. It’s outrageous! I see this all the time on the tube and train in London – I don’t know what happened to common courtesy and a bit of old fashioned manners. My pet hate is seeing business men pretending to read their papers while a pregnant woman, elderly gentleman or other in-need-of-a-seat bod stands near them. Or perfectly healthy people pushing past said needy travellers to grab a spare seat themselves. I do try and offer my seat and I am bringing my son up to do the same. I agree with Cheryl above though, guilt someone by asking (my pregnant colleague did this recently!) – although you shouldn’t have to. x

  10. That’s terrible. I would’ve offered a seat as soon as I saw you. I offer seats to pretty anyone, young old or otherwise. The only time I don’t is if I have my son on my lap or that time I had a fractured ankle. Why didn’t any of these people’s parents raise them with any manners? #kcacols

  11. I actually cant believe that a bus full of commuters all ignored you. Everyone knows that you give up your seat for a pregnant lady, its an unwritten rule. I’m like you and would have stood there suffering in silence but my gosh it makes my blood boil.
    You see why people feel like they need to wear the baby on board pins, it means commuters would have to ignore bump AND badge and thats less likely. So annoyed for you!! #KCACOLS

  12. I always give up y seat for pregnant women or older people, though one time I got told off by a lady that said ‘I am not dead yet lovely’. On a train the other day a mum came on with two children and I had paid for seats for my son and I so I got up and we just piled all the kids onto the seats together and had a chat standing as no one else would move. I think its really sad and send you big cuddles xx Thank you for linking to #KCACOLS. We hope to see you next Sunday xx

    1. Ah thanks hun. Thankfully I’ve gotten a seat every day since but the commute is getting very tiring. That’s hilarious “I’m not dead yet” and you were just trying to be polite and supportive. People are incredible!

  13. I’ve always given my seat up for anyone really…elderly, disabled, pregnant, or just looks like they’ve had a shit day lol.
    That’s rubbish they all ignored you, but unfortunately people can be selfish! I hope someone is kind enough to offer next time, if not, just bash them out of the way with some hysterical crying and a nudge with the bump haha! #KCACOLS
    Becky x

  14. Without a doubt I would have given my seat up for a pregnant lady. I’ve offered my seat up to others that were older, younger, the same age, tired looking, etc etc. If I think they look like they could do with a seat then I offer it. I’m sorry you felt like you couldn’t ask to sit down and yes, you should have done. (Oh the beauty of hindsight!) Hopefully there won’t be a next time, but if there is just ask! #KCACOLS

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