‘Pregnant women don’t deserve seats’

Not getting a seat on the train when you’re pregnant is one thing.  But there’s something REALLY rude about a middle aged man noticing you’re pregnant and still trying to barge his way onto the train before you.  Why such antipathy towards pregnant women on public transport?

This is NOT a rant.  

Despite the nature of this post, I’m not particularly precious about getting a seat on the train.  Even though I’m 35 weeks pregnant and could currently rival a hippo on the scales.

I can’t get on my high horse when I’ve chosen never to wear a ‘Baby on Board’ badge.  Or declined a seat on the odd occasion I’ve been offered one (only once this entire pregnancy).  And I completely understand that people don’t want to make mistakes by assuming someone is pregnant when in fact they’re not.  I mean, is there anything worse?  Ground, swallow me up now.  Please.

But, come on.  There IS a point in pregnancy where it is obvious a woman is with child.  Where, even if she doesn’t get a seat, she deserves to get on a train first.  Right?  Without getting assaulted in the process.

I realised yesterday morning that THIS is where I draw my line.  When the middle aged man next to me on the platform clocked my hippoesque silhouette and still tried to barge on before me.

He didn’t succeed mind you.

A huge bump is at least good for something.

‘I pretend I don’t see them.’

Recently, a student undertook The Bump Test on London’s Underground, sporting a fake bump AND a ‘Baby on Board’ badge.  Out of the 100 people who noticed she was ‘pregnant’ only 20 gave up their seat.  Here’s some of the things others (presumably the 80 who stayed put) had to say:

I know it’s out of order but I pretend I don’t see them. I’ve been working hard all day – If I get a seat it’s a luxury – I paid a lot of money for it. Sorry. 

If they are fit enough to go to work then they are fit enough to be standing up on the tube – have no problem giving up my seat to somebody less able to stand but a pregnant woman is just a pregnant woman not sick, ill or unable to stand.

They’re pregnant, not disabled or unwell.  They chose to get into that state and some of the people not giving up a seat may have physical issues of their own.

Valid points?  In which case, are we more entitled to a seat if we are one of the 45% of women who got pregnant accidentally last year?  For whom it WASN’T our choice?

Perhaps they should make a badge with THAT on it.

Are men the worst offenders?

I apologise now if this next statement is a) sexist b) a generalisation or c) offensive to chivalrous men.  I know you exist.  Just not on the 8.17 train I catch every morning.  Where, in my experience, men are the worst offenders.  Let me show you Exhibit A again.  Middle aged man on platform.

Yes, I’ve been ignored by many men (no jokes please).  But occasionally had a woman practically fight for a seat for me.  I wouldn’t have messed with her, put it that way.

The Bump Test said the same.  Although, having said that, all the comments above were made by women.

So, maybe men aren’t the worst offenders after all.  Non-pregnant women are as fed up with it as men.  And I’m just expecting chivalry where realistically it no longer has a place.

Has equality made us all, erm, equal?

So.  If it doesn’t come down to the two misconceptions that pregnancy’s not an illness and it’s a woman’s choice, why else do we not get a seat?

Could it simply (or harshly) be that we are all just a bit over making allowances for others in a world where we are always trying to seek equality.  Where we all want to be treated the same.  Regardless of sex, race and ability?

If this is true then does the view have to be the same?  Whether you’re sitting or standing.  Pregnant or not.

Yes, in today’s world, it seems that not even pregnant women can have their cake and eat it.

What’s your experience of public transport when pregnant? Perhaps you feel you’re constantly being ‘asked’ to give up your seat.  Leave your thoughts below or pop on over to Surviving Life and Motherhood.  Where you’ll not only get a seat.  But a slice of Victoria Sponge too. 

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    28 thoughts on “‘Pregnant women don’t deserve seats’

    1. Ash

      I’m 8 months along and stood on a crowded bus from Ny to Nj for 45 minutes. No one offered a seat and it was a very bumpy ride…. I was too shy to ask someone for a seat, but I learned my lesson after trying to keep my balance and catch my breath for so long. I’ll try my best to be brave and ask for a seat next time.

    2. Kat

      I am a teacher and I can say that colleagues have not shown any consideration. I have been mindful to not mention my pregnancy and do everything as normal but now I am 35 weeks I am waddling round and it can be a little painful at times. Today at playtime duty I had a colleague ask me to mind half of the playground in a condescending way and I explained I need to sit (doctors orders) and 100 boisterous children need more than me pregnant or not. I was fuming. I have had children run in to me and a child with a bicycle ride into me, I have slipped and fallen down a wet staircase the stairs and had to go to work and not one person has given up their seat on the bus. I just put it down to ignorance but I am happy to rant today!!!


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