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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.

Ronby Wed 21-Nov-12 13:32:40

YANBU. Imagine how embarrassed and angry she would have been had it been fat and not baby!

LDNmummy Wed 21-Nov-12 13:31:32

YANBU. When I was pregnant I didn't take offence if I wasn't offered a seat until I started to obviously show.

Sometimes I could see people looking at my stomach area trying to guess.

hawthers Wed 21-Nov-12 13:24:34

My favorite phrase was "do you need that seat?" Said with a smile, allowed someone to say they weren't feeling well or had an unseen disability or shamed the people who barges me out of they way and sprinted onto the train to get the last seat
To be fair to londoners, more often than not I was offered a seat and people are really kind when I travel with the pushchair. Pretty much always I'm offered help and they even have a wee chat.

Neverme Wed 21-Nov-12 12:26:15

No people you have it all wrong ... baby on board badges are actually Invisibility Cloaks in disguise. Put one on and I swear, people look right through you! I should market this as a real life Harry Potter gadget!

ZebraOwl Wed 21-Nov-12 12:08:57

I once had someone refuse to move from the seat reserved for me on a long-distance train - bad form just generally but even worse given I was on crutches & struggling with my rucksack.

I ended up struggling along to one of the "loads of seats further down" because she clearly wasn't going to shift & I'd've hurt myself really badly when I fell & I'd no interest in a trip to the nearest A&E. With hindsight, I rather regret not just sitting on her...

Taking my Brownies to the seaside in the summer I collapsed - literally - into an empty seat. The hulking great bloke who seemed to believe the seat was his because his family were in the seats by it (he'd not yet sat down) demanded I move. Not his problem I'm disabled & had just dislocated my knee so it was unsafe to try to stand, one of my group (we were scattered, the nearest were diagonally across from them) had to give up their seat for me. Which my Assistant Guider did, but she had to take my bag over for me, then half lift me to standing & support me to walk. The rest of the journey I spent trying to rearrange my leg joints & not cry with pain because it scares the Brownies. An excellent example to set his children hmm (The Brownies, meanwhile, spent the journey anxiously asking if they could do anything to make me feel better; cuddling/patting me; Being Specially Good; and sporadically glowering at The Man Who Was Nasty To Zebra. They also made some Pointed Comments about the other children's behaviour - feet on seats, shouting, throwing food, snatching etc & zero indication of it being anything but Bad Behaviour - which, though I hushed them, did cheer me somewhat because it expressed my own feelings...)

You do get people who behave splendidly... I was once rescued from a packed tube by a bloke who'd seen me unsuccessfully attempt to get off at my stop & the next stop [was trapped in a dislocating slump by a group of Spanish teenagers who wouldn't move!] so simply hoisted me into his arms & barrelled out with his wife clinging to him! Utterly surreal, but I was very grateful - especially for his gently depositing me on a bench & making sure I was ok to be left!

Overcooked Wed 21-Nov-12 12:07:10

I live in Leeds and am very obviously pregnant, I get the train everyday and have only once been offered a seat. People avoid looking at you and I don't really know how to choose who to ask!

The other day about 25 people walked past a woman obviously struggling to get her pushchair up the steps (no lift) so I ended up helping her.

Fwiw I have given up my seat for pregnant, infirm etc several times.

I think there is an argument that people are just too wrapped up in their world to notice though.

LittleBearPad Wed 21-Nov-12 11:52:25

I wore a baby on board badge as it prevented confusion. Some people offered, some didn't. In the end I used to ask the people in the priority seats if to all appearances they looked as if they would be able to stand. I agree it's tricky to know. If they agreed then good if not then usually someone else would offer at that point. The worst day was when an elderly man on crutches offered and wouldn't take no for an answer (he really wouldn't). It took two more stops for someone to offer him a replacement seat whilst I felt grateful but guilty.

When I was on crutches (after knee surgery), people were generally pretty good at offering my a space - IF they could see said crutches in crowded train. However, sticking my leg out wasn't an option and I preferred to stand.

When I was waiting for my hip replacement (bit of a theme here!) I found it painful to stand, but didn't like to ask.

I am very aware of people with a need to sit down...but don't always get it right. So if the enormous lady in front of me last night on a train from W Brompton to Clapham was pregnant I do apologise to you, but you didn't have a badge, and I was worried I would offend you.

OneMoreChap Wed 21-Nov-12 11:19:27

Tend to stand for obviously pregnant women/older people on mass transit.
As I'm older, that's fewer and fewer.
Would always stand if I'm in a priority seat.

If I've reserved a seat, no, someone else's problem.

No, I won't stand up for your 5 year old, unless he's in a cast.
My dodgy knee and back problems count, too.

babybythesea Wed 21-Nov-12 11:14:46

you don't need a seat just because you are pregnant, only when very pregnant and struggling to stand.

I paraphrased a bit (tongue in cheek - I'm trying to be a bit light hearted as I hate it when threads get all intense and bitchy so sorry if that didn't come across) but what you said above.

2rebecca Wed 21-Nov-12 11:11:49

Where did I say pregnancy is not an illness and you can stand until you are ready to push?

babybythesea Wed 21-Nov-12 10:58:57

Fair enough, 2rebecca. I agree that people can be hiding other disabilities too. I think personally I'd find wearing a badge easier than asking and will be pleased to have that option though.
But what you actually said was pregnancy isn't an illness and you can stand until you are almost ready to push - I was just pointing out that sometimes that isn't the case and saying 'I am pregnant' is easier than trying to explain. If people think I'm being a bit precious, so be it - if it means I can sit down I don't mind too much what they think! And if wearing the badge doesn't work, I'll ask (with some awkwardness I expect!).

TotalBummer Wed 21-Nov-12 10:46:48

You shouldn't even have to stand on the train with the price hikes that go on and nothing changes for the commuter. F*cking annoying. If there were enough seats for the majority to get a seat every day, maybe people would be more willing to give up a seat for someone who needs it. I hate public transport.

piprabbit Wed 21-Nov-12 10:42:39

I was once offered a seat on a packed and very delayed mainline train when I was 8 months pregnant. I declined and suggested that the elderly lady with the oxygen cylinder probably needed to the seat more than me.

The rest of the carriage watched and listened to this exchange with interest (it we were running an hour late at this stage and everyone was getting bored) as we then disrupted the carriage to get the lady and her cylinder to the seat. Everyone then studiously ignored the vast pregnant lady as I staggered back to my bit of standing room.

I'm sure there are lots of lovely commuters, I was one myself wink, but as species they do leave a lot to be desired (especially the ones bitching about the tearful woman trying to get poorly child and new baby to a 9am appt. at Great Ormond Street - how very dare she have the cheek to take a buggy on the train).

rainbow2000 Wed 21-Nov-12 10:42:32

Littleshamrock thats not what i meant where i went there was a seperate area for pregnant and women who were in distress.I meant its terrible she actually had to ask that not 1 person offered their seat.

TotalBummer Wed 21-Nov-12 10:31:56

Oh and more to the point YANBU as you would willingly give up your seat if someone asked politely. I was only ever offered a seat once by a big bloke in a high vis vest. None of the suits would ever give up their seat. I only ever asked if I was feeling faint/about to throw up if I didn't sit down so I guess it's my own fault...

TotalBummer Wed 21-Nov-12 10:29:14

Frontpaw I too was pushed out of the way by a woman in a very nice suit (don't know why that made it more shocking) when I was very obviously pregnant - actually days before starting maternity leave.

It was in the underground on a very packed platform and the queue of people was slowly moving one behind the other through the horde of commuters on their way home when she tutted loudly and PUSHED me out of the way. She actually pushed me towards the track too. Nice. I loudly asked her not to push me as there was obviously a queue of people in front of me and she actually started shouting in my face agressively, swearing at me that I was in the way and "waddling along" looking down at my bump. I swore back at her and she said "Typical... And I was tyring to be nice"!!!!!! grin

EuroShagmore Wed 21-Nov-12 10:26:21

On my tube this morning, a blind man with a white stick was helped on to the train by an LU worker. The worker then asked if someone would offer their seat to him. One young man slowly got up. The young woman who was sitting opposite helped the man into the seat. No one else bothered (I was standing, btw).

2rebecca Wed 21-Nov-12 10:24:36

People can have hidden disabilities even when not pregnant though, should they go round wearing an "I am disabled" badge? I wasn't saying that everyone breezes through pregnancy but I don't like the idea of the "I am pregnant" badge.

Chandon Wed 21-Nov-12 10:22:32

Don' t know the answer OP, things are changing...

I got ip last week for a lady who looked around 70.

She took the seat, then scolded me " you are making me feel very old! Hmpf, getting up for me". then she stared srossly out of the window, whilst I turned red and felt like a complete fool.

So I will only get up for women who look about 9 months pregnant, and or women over 85. Think that is safest!

babybythesea Wed 21-Nov-12 10:16:23

2rebecca: 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 principle, but there are pregnancy related reasons you might need a seat even if early in pregnancy.
I have a very small bump, at 18 weeks, that you'd be hard pushed to spot as a baby bump and not a big lunch. I also have SPD which is not visible. It aches when I walk, and certain movements send a shooting pain through my pevis, which can physically stop me in my tracks and leave me gasping for breath. It is indeed wonderful that you could climb mountains while pregnant. I struggle to get to the top of the stairs. I wish I didn't and I am worried about how fast it has come on and how bad it is already - I am dreading the rest of the pregnancy. I'm just trying to point out that no, pregnancy is not an illness, but it can throw up complications that make life difficult if not painful. Don't assume that everyone breezes through pregnancy, or indeed that anyone using pregnancy as an excuse is being a wimp (when people notice I am struggling I usually just say I am pregnant as I don't feel like giving an in depth explanation of the fact that my pubic bone feels like it's being sat on (inside me) by an elephant causing the ache, and that sometimes it feels as though someone has tried to break it in half. And most people don't know what SPD is.)

samandi Wed 21-Nov-12 09:26:21

*If you had paid for a reserved seat on a long distance train, then someone who needed a seat (old, disabled or pregnant) got on, would you give up your seat?

Assume there are other carriages of non-reserved seats.*

Less likely, as they should have reserved a seat themselves.

2rebecca Wed 21-Nov-12 09:08:49

If I had reserved a seat then I probably wouldn't give it up. Would never have worn a baby on board sticker, am not a fecking bus. If it isn't obvious to other people that I'm pregnant as early pregnancy then it's none of their business anyway.

HKat Wed 21-Nov-12 07:27:05

I was given a Baby on Board badge but must admit I felt a bit uncomfortable displaying it for some reason. I compromised and pinned it to my coat but under my scarf (was commuting whilst pregnant mainly ove winter )so it was hidden, unless I felt awful/train was particularly hot/busy and then I would take off scarf. As a rule I found most offered seats, though if desperate I would ask - but as a rule I found older businessmen never would, and the most likely to offer were the young male teens!

That's trickier. If I can reserve a seat then they could have, by and large. I probably would, but I'd feel pretty pissy about it.

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