May I have a seat please?

As an employee at a NHS trust in Central London I commute on a daily basis to work from Bromley via National Rail to Victoria station and from there getting the London Underground to Oxford Circus.

I am currently 18 weeks pregnant now but during the first trimester I suffered from Hyperemesis Gravidarum which for those who don’t know is an extreme form of morning sickness which can often in cases lead to hospitalisation. Battling the nausea along with bouts of dizzy spells and feeling faint on a long commute has been incredibly difficult to the point where I almost collapsed on the train.

The commute

It was after this incident that I then opted to wear the ‘Baby on Board’ Badge. These are badges that Transport for London  provides for pregnant women to alert passenger’s that they may need a seat. Not only that but in my opinion helps passengers avoid that somewhat embarrassing moment of offending someone who may otherwise just be a tad overweight. At first I initially felt rather silly and didn’t actually believe I had to wear a badge just for my fellow commuters to spot my baby bump. Nonetheless I decided to give it go.

The next day with my badge proudly pinned to my coat I set off for the train station with the belief that ‘yes! today I would finally be able to sit down’, oh how I was mistaken. As the train drew close to the platform that was already packed with commuters waiting to board. I pondered to myself how would I even get on let alone be able to acquire a seat. As the doors opened and everyone dashed to get on almost knocking me sideways I realised that today me being able to sit down for my journey was definitely not going to be an option. As I clambered aboard literally I decided to stand by the doorway hoping that someone would spot my badge and gallantly offer me a seat. This did not happen. Instead I got yelled at to move down in the train so more commuters could get on and this is how it has continued to no prevail with the exception of some rather heart-warming moments where people have fought my corner for me to sit down which relinquished my faith in my fellow commuters.

Should you give up your seat

The issue of whether to offer up a seat to a pregnant woman has become increasingly problematical. Why do so many people find it difficult to give up their seats? Not just taking pregnant women into account but also those less able than themselves? On one hand one could argue that the pregnant woman is likely to be tired due to the fact she is carrying an extra person which I have to agree with having felt this way myself. But on the contrary it does presents the notion that all pregnant women cannot stand and this view can be conceived as slightly condescending.

My challenge set for those reading this post is the next time you see someone with a ‘Baby on Board’ badge please do attempt to offer your seat if able whether they accept or not. Most women might reject the offer anyway due to embarrassment or feeling as if they are putting you out. But bear in mind that your simple act of kindness is never wasted not just because they finally got to sit down but knowing that someone cares enough to ask! 🙂

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