Three. That’s the number of times I’ve been offered a seat at rush hour on public transit in the first six months of my pregnancy. Three times during this (minimum) twice a day, every day routine.
I realize that the first few months it wasn’t very obvious that I was in fact expecting, but for the last 4-6 weeks or so, I’ve ‘popped’ and it’s quite obvious to the majority of people who look at me that I haven’t just gained a few pounds. Still, no one will offer up a seat.
Now, I’ve seen ladies much farther along than I who do not get offered a seat either, as well as people with canes, crutches, and the elderly who are forced to stand for extended periods of time on public transit because some young schmuck can’t be bothered to do the right thing.
It’s infuriating. It makes me want to scream.
Why aren’t people giving up their seats? Is it simply that they just don’t care? I don’t think that’s it, at least not for the majority of commuters. I think the big problem is that everyone is SO sucked into the digital world and living in the smart phone, tablet or e-reader, that they don’t take the time to look up for 5 seconds to see if their fellow man is in need of their assistance. Oh sure, there are those who’ll stare at my belly, make eye contact, and then go back to their toy, but those people are generally few and far between. Most commuters are just simply unaware of anyone around them.
I had a friend mention to me that one of their friends didn’t give up their seat to pregnant women on the principle that pregnancy is not a disability, the way that someone who walks with a cane is considered as having a disability.
It’s true – pregnancy is not a disability is the traditional sense of the word, but let me tell you, it sure does a real number on your body. Your feet hurt, your back hurts, your joints hurt and many days you’re just so freakin’ tired from the dozen mid-night bathroom runs that kept you up all night, or the simple fact that it takes a shit ton of energy to grow a human being. All you want to do is just sit down for a few minutes. Not to mention that once you get to a certain point in your pregnancy, standing for extended periods of time can cause dips in your blood pressure, making you feel dizzy and possibly faint.
Now, there are times where I’m feeling good and have no problem standing for a little bit, but I’d like to at least have the offer to sit down. And I’ll never be rude about turning it down. I always appreciate when someone goes out of their way to send some kindness my way. Who knows, if it persists later into my pregnancy, I may start asking people if I can take their seat. Hopefully I don’t get any dirty looks.
So please, the next time you’re riding the rocket, look around for a second to see if there’s a pregnant woman (or other person in need) who would appreciate your seat.
Photo via Danielle Scott, Flickr.com