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Regarding commuting and giving up seat for pregnant women

(103 Posts)
Cherryontop99 Tue 20-Nov-12 08:32:52

If someone is clearly elderly / pregnant / on crutches or something then of course I will offer them my seat.

This morning there was a woman who I am not sure if she was pregnant or just a little chubby round the middle. Hard to tell as she was wearing lots of layers with it being winter. She wasn't wearing a 'baby onboard' badge or anything which a lot of people do in London.

In this situation AIBU to just not offer seat and assume that if they need a seat they will ask? Just don't want to risk offending anyone by suggesting they are pregnant when actually just a bit chubby.

THERhubarb Tue 20-Nov-12 15:07:10

Trouble is, most of the population seem to think that people are mind readers.

If you do not look obviously pregnant (by that I mean, a very round belly that is obviously not in proportion to the rest of your body and you are not a man) then do not be offended if nobody gives you a seat.

I often read threads and newspaper articles (with the "I am sad" accompanying photo) from pregnant women who claim that society is rude and uncaring because nobody offered them a seat and I wonder just how on earth they expected people to KNOW they were pregnant?

Most people, myself included, have either made the embarrassing mistake of assuming someone is pregnant when they are not or have been assumed to be pregnant when you are not. It's a horrible mistake to make and so now people are afraid of humiliating both themselves and you.

If you are that uncomfortable and need a seat, then should you politely ask for one there cannot be one person who would refuse. Esp if you explain that you are pregnant.

That's all most people need to do. Ask. But they'd rather stand there, fuming and mentally composing an angry "disgusted of Tunbridge Wells" letter rather than speak out.

As for who you ask. Well personally I'd probably go for the youngest person there or a man. Highly presumptious I know, but chances are that younger people are fit and healthy and men are not pregnant.

Jusfloatingby Tue 20-Nov-12 15:10:27

shamrock I can see your pov but the most in pain/discomfort should have the seat, Quote

But how do you decide that? Just because someone doesn't have an obvious bump or isn't screwing their face up in pain doesn't mean they're not in serious discomfort or would find standing for a long period very difficult. Its not really up to some random nurse, not fully au fait with everyone's history, to come out and start upsetting/embarassing everyone into offering up their seats to the pregnant women. The men, obviously, should stand up as they're presumably there to support their partner, and not because they're unwell themselves. But I think that nurse would want to be careful. Someone could quite justifiably complain about her behaviour towards non pregnant patients.

Agree, the nurse was entirely insensitive in that situation. Just don't think pregnant women don't deserve a seat because they're so lucky to be pregnant, which is what was implied.

GwendolynMoon Tue 20-Nov-12 15:50:13

I saw that in the paper Horatia I think Vanessa from Surrey's exact words to a pregnant woman who had commented on the fact that no one offered her a seat on her commute were 'You're pregnant, not ill. If you can go to work you can stand'.......what a charmer!

I am nearly 29 weeks and just beginning to show obviously and am lucky in that I generally get a seat on my train anyway...but if I was in a situation with the train being packed I think I would just politely ask for a seat. I think a badge is the best solution for those having to get busy tubes/buses though, that eliminates any confusion and generally from my experience I don't often see a woman with a badge having to stand.

SpicyPear Tue 20-Nov-12 16:03:30

YANBU. I had a medical problem that made me look pregnant and got offered a seat a few times before I had a diagnosis. Every time it was awful, even though it wasn't fat! On that basis I don't offer unless I'm 100% sure on the basis that the risk of them a) being fat, b) having recently given birth or c) ill is too high!

SpicyPear Tue 20-Nov-12 16:10:24

Oh and yy to professional men being the worst. I've explained it over and over to DH but he is firmly of the view that if you can't stand on the tube you shouldn't be going to work and first come first served still applies blush

splashymcsplash Tue 20-Nov-12 16:40:09

I have seen threads before where pregnant women were considered unreasonable for wanting a seat. I do agree that if you can't tell then it is a difficult situation though.

When I was pregnant I was too shy to ask, as I was worried that people would say no. Now I have venous insufficiency with varicose veins at 25. Will be more brave next time!

spicy he sounds like a douchebag

SpicyPear Tue 20-Nov-12 17:08:35

Can't argue with you there noodle. In any other respect, no, but on this one, yes. I decided it wasn't a dealbreaker. Karma will kick his arse at some point, maybe a broken leg or something...

smile Im sure hes nice in other ways to make up for it. So if you were heavily pregnant and aching on the tube with him, he wouldn't expect someone to get up for you?

I don't think one deserves a seat because one is pg, though. The symptoms of pregnancy that disable you temporarily, eg blood supply issues, joint problems, extreme fatigue, extreme nausea, should get you a seat regardless of your fertility status.

The exception is when you are so unbalanced you can't stand safely.

SpicyPear Tue 20-Nov-12 18:23:53

Well noodles I am now pondering the possibilities. Would he a) pretend he'd never said it b) stand by it and agree I should stand or c) apologise for his previous doucheyness. I just don't know...

Better get to bed! grin

TwitchyTail Tue 20-Nov-12 19:57:20

Agree 100% with TheRhubarb. If you need a seat - for whatever reason - politely ask for it with a brief explanation and a smile.

littleshamrock Tue 20-Nov-12 20:16:34

What I said regarding everyone deserving a seat was only relation to a hospital where all patients are waiting for a medical reason. In that case, being pregnant does not have the monopoly on pain or discomfort and that was the only point I was trying to make with someone having a miscarriage being an example of how it would be very distressing to tell them to stand.

In normal life, of course basic manners and courtesy should mean those able offer a seat to anyone struggling! pregnant, disabled, elderly etc.

babybythesea Tue 20-Nov-12 20:42:58

I am going back to visit my parents in London in a couple of weeks and I think I will look out for a baby on board sticker.
Am 18 weeks but although I have a belly it is hidden as soon as I put on a coat.
Last time round I could have happily stood. This time, I'm suffering from SPD so will need a seat. If no-one spots badge/offers, I will ask. Hate doing it though - I grew up understanding that the done thing was to stare fixedly at your feet on the tube, not strike up conversation!!!

Petershadow Tue 20-Nov-12 21:18:48

A friend and I once got really shouted at by a women as she was getting off a train for not giving her a seat. She was talking to a very pg woman next to us(who had a seat)
We were deep in conversation and hadn't notced she was pg, couldn't even really tell when we looked properly

If you want a seat ask, don't always assume anyone has noticed.

Some horrible woman once called me a fat cow when I was 8 months pg. Just thought I was fat. To some people it's not obvious

TiddlyZomZomZombie Tue 20-Nov-12 21:59:57

A friend gave me a great phrase to use to ask for a seat when I was pg - which I only used to say to people sitting in the 'priority' seats, and then only if they looked fit and well - "Excuse me, are you able to stand?"

It works very well, they at least have to look at you to answer, and then would clock my Baby On Board badge and I didn't have to make a long winded explanation to the entire carriage.

My tube commute was 1hr 45 mins, and very few people ever offered me a seat. There would be rows upon rows of young suited men playing sodding Angry Birds of the iPhones, oblivious to my bump six inches in front of their screens. I displaced a rib halfway through my pregnancy and soon got over my reluctance to ask for a seat!
Best person to ever offer me a seat? The lovely middle aged woman on crutches with her foot in a cast. shock She insisted I take it, but then I got someone else to stand up so she could sit back down again!
I had a couple of people refuse, in a "I don't care if your pg" way, not apparently due to their own health.

To those who don't see the point of the badges, it can help when the tube is so crammed you can't even reach the seats to ask, or on the days when a seat would be nice but isn't essential ie you don't want to put another tired commuter out.
While I was commuting pre-preg I was always happy to give up my seat, and liked the badges as I wasn't otherwise sure enough to offer.

greenplastictrees Tue 20-Nov-12 22:09:41

I offered someone a seat the other week who I thought was pregnant. She politely declined it. I was horrified incase she wasn't actually pregnant. I've had numerous occasions where I haven't known whether to offer a seat to people or not as I haven't been sure if they were pregnant.

greenplastictrees Tue 20-Nov-12 22:13:27

I have also been in situations where I just haven't noticed that there's been a pregnant person there. This happened a few months back. I had a lot of bags and a box with me at my feet. Looked up from my phone and spotted a pregnant woman. Apologised and offered her a seat. When I did two others looked up having not seen her and looked horrified too. The woman next to me said she'd give her her seat so I didn't have to move my bags which was kind. Sometimes people just genuinely don't notice that there is a pregnant person. If I don't and I'm asked I'm always happy to give up my seat but I have seen people being more reluctant.

Hattie23 Tue 20-Nov-12 22:44:59

If you find it difficult to ask for a seat (i know I do) i would say "I'm sorry but i don't feel well. Could i possibly sit down please" Nobody wants to be thrown up on and the person asked will usually always move with no drama!!

SomewhereSoon Tue 20-Nov-12 23:46:16

I would too offer my seat for a person more in need than myself but would be weary of making a mistake regarding somebody's pregnancy status. I generally stand if I don't have my children or am not pregnant so the seat is available anyway.

But I have an anecdote about my bus journey in London the other day and would like to know what you think.

I was sitting in the 5th and 6th priority seats on the bus with my two children aged 2 and 3 and am currently 13 weeks pregnant, although not noticeable. The bus was quite busy, there were 4 priority seats in front of me, only two occupied by someone who looked in need. There were 3 of us but we were only occupying 2 seats. A lady got on the bus and came straight up to me without even looking at any of the other people in priority seats, and rather rudely asked me to ask my toddlers to stand so that she could sit. I said no because they would fall over if I did so, but offered her my third of two seats as we were all sharing, She declined and then struck up a conversation with her companion about me while standing right next to me and commenting on how I don't care about disabled people, but she didn't even consider asking anyone else for a seat, and nobody offered, I was also in need and did not tell her that I was pregnant but wish I had now because maybe she would have understood more. I blacked out in my kitchen the other day and had to run to the sofa and put my head between my legs, to keep from fainting and I was alone with my kids who don't know how to dial 999. So I feel I was justified in keeping my two seats for me and my two children, but I did feel that everyone on the bus was possible judging me.

So your verdict... who was right?

izzyishavingababyAGAIN Tue 20-Nov-12 23:49:52

I am HUGE and in the pub on Saturday, was hugely amused to see everyone trying not to look at me as there were no seats.

2rebecca Tue 20-Nov-12 23:54:35

I offer my seat to people who look as though they need it. If you can't tell if someone is pregnant or just a bit fat then they aren't sounding as though they medically need a seat, you don't need a seat just because you are pregnant, only when very pregnant and struggling to stand. In mid pregnancy I was very fit and climbing mountains and not needing anyone's seats, by the time I was overdue I looked and felt like a beached whale.

ZebraOwl Wed 21-Nov-12 00:37:02

I have been the recipient of some filthy looks from people because I'm a cripple unable to stand on trains/buses/tubes due to my disability. I have to ask for a seat & find the people most likely to give up their seat are young women. I have more than once had someone tell people off for their behaviour towards me: once when I was on crutches & visibly unwell I couldn't ask for a seat because I was unable to speak a French lady castigated a section of the carriage who could all see me clearly but chose to ignore me; another time someone gave up their seat for me & a woman shoved into it only to find herself being bawled out by an Australian for her "disgusting behaviour".

I get a lot of dirty looks from people (usually middle-aged women) who are at risk of being suffocated by their hoiked-up judgeypants. When the glaring & whispering gets unbearable I have been known to "accidentally" flash my Blue Badge... Thankfully it's been a couple of months since I was ignored by EVERYONE when I asked for a seat: I went flying & woman who'd been muttering about me suddenly became very attentive. Thankfully I managed to dissuade her from pulling the emergency cord. Also thankful I "only" dislocated various joints - as I had said would happen if I had to try to stand - rather than snapping one of my brittle bones...

I rather wish there were a Hidden Disability badge of some kind so I didn't have to do as much asking. Fear that people would probably abuse that one even more than they do the Baby On Board badges though sad

Have been known to shame other people into giving up their seats to the heavily pregnant/elderly&frail/obviously-ill by loudly saying "I'm really sorry but I'm disabled so I can't stand or I'd give you my seat"...

Sorry, went a bit babbly there. Think that YWNBU: unless someone is visibly struggling they should ask for a seat as people are not psychic. Just a shame that they are likely to have to ask even when they ARE visibly struggling sad

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