Being Pregnant On Public Transport Is The Worst

Who stands up for you most? Do you ask to sit down? Where can you wear you 'Baby on Board' badge to get maximum attention? So many questions.

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Public Transport + Pregnancy = Nausea + Lethargy + Anger

For the first three months, 'morning' (read: all f***ing day) nausea can have you retching at the merest whiff of another human. And even though you feel like vomming in the neighbouring passenger's handbag, no one is likely to offer you a seat because your baby is the size of a peanut and your bump hasn't yet popped out.

By the end of the gestation period, you're the size of a house, are moving at a glacial pace, are constantly overheating and have diminished control over bodily gas and fluids. Try getting on a packed, sweaty tube train in the height of summer feeling like that.

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What can make the daily commute a little easier, is a kind soul offering you a seat.

Whether you need it due to swollen ankles, or an aching heart, a little humanity goes a long way.

It is basically the British 'we don't talk about our feelings' way of a stranger saying to a preggo lady, 'Are you alright?' or simply, 'I care'.

The Cut recently reported that a lady that went through two pregnancies in New York (two!!!) and only one man offered her a seat in that entire time.

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It should be noted that plenty of women offered her a seat (largely WOC, she pointed out), but only one man.

By the end of her first pregnancy she was carrying a card around in her bag to 'award' to the first man who offered her a pew, but was never able to give it.

She decided to up the ante on round two with a 'Decent Dude' gold trophy.

In her eighth month (eighth!!!), a lovely fellow noticed, apologised profusely and did the gallant act.

This story is part-uplifting and part-frustrating. Yes there are good guys out there, but why so few, and should we need to award someone for doing the decent thing?

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We wondered whether things were as dire over here in the UK.

Did the mayor's 'Baby on Board' badge help, for example?

So we asked a couple of currently pregnant, and recently pregnant women about their experiences.

Firstly, who gives up their seats?

*Disclaimer - this is by no stretch of the human imagination a comprehensive or definitive study of tube seat offerers, this is purely anecdotal evidence of some (rightly) angry mums*

Sonia told us that her experience of tubes isn't too bad, but that it's largely women who give up their seats, or men who are with women.

Unfortunately, her experience on normal overground trains is less favourable. She said she has 'been roundly ignored on a crowded train by a group of four men in a pod.'

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Julia agreed that men were the worst, and only tend to give up their seats when another woman on the train or bus points it out to them that they ought to get up, which are occasions she finds 'very satisfying.'

Nikki concurred that this was largely the case for her as well, saying, 'Most men are too wrapped up in their own little worlds to care.'

Do you feel bad about taking people's seats?

All the women have said that they regularly have to make a point of asking people for a seat, because a lot of people wont take it upon themselves to look around and determine if someone needs one.

Because Sonia isn't showing yet, she says she makes, 'a big deal of huffing when I sit down, so people know I'm not faking it'.

We would actually love to see how this looks.

They all told us that men were totally lovely once they were alerted or asked, Nikki purposefully asks men 'because they're like frantic puppies, not wanting to look like an arsehole'.

Nikki also pointed out: 'Someone once explained to me that actually it was safer for a non-pregnant person to stand. In the case of a sharp stop or a real emergency, you are less well balanced as a pregnant person and more likely to topple over, and also less mobile in the case of a frantic scramble. Once I was told this, I felt no shame or embarrassment at all in asking for a seat.'

What are the worst reactions you've encountered?

Apparently, 'in terms of reactions...women in their late 40s were [the] worst, I've had them huffing and puffing several times when I've asked to sit down and they've had to stand,' says Nikki.

A lot of huffing around pregnancies, have you noticed?

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There is one stand-out story, though, which will have your blood boiling. All of the women I asked were outraged when this tale was relayed to them.

So let's regale you with 'Nik's Outrageous Story'....

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Nikki explains;

So my worst was definitely on a train out of London back home when a man was actually sitting in the preggo seat. I asked him if I could sit down please and he just looked at me. At this point I was about 7-months pregnant and it was 1000C and I was not up for any bullsh*t, so I asked again and this time said, 'I'm pregnant', just in case he was a total imbecile and hadn't noticed my major overhang. He then just looked me up and down, looked confused and grumbled a 'no', avoiding eye contact at all costs. At this point I must have started to change into the She Hulk because the woman across the aisle from me jumped up and said 'you can have my seat' and started to physically usher me over to it. So I fumed at the non-mover, 'just for next time, you're sitting in a priority seat that actually SAYS for pregnant women on it!' and I think I also offered a low level insult. I'd have forged a stake out but by then the woman had sat me down (she had to drag me away), and he just ignored me while I glared at hime the entire journey with my death eyes.

Whoa!

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The ladies' take-away advice for women is to not be afraid to ask, since it's better to be safe than embarrassed, to wear your badge at your waist or hip height for maximum impact as it will be at eye level for seated people and that men need to look up more.

It looks like things are a little better here than over in New York, thankfully, but as ever, we've got a way to go.

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