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.

samandi Tue 20-Nov-12 08:50:56

YANBU to not offer your seat. Obviously if they ask and are pregnant it would be polite to, but I agree about it being difficult to tell and not wanting to cause offence.

annabeldp Tue 20-Nov-12 08:52:16

I don't think YABU, when I was pregnant I would always ask for a seat if I wanted/needed one (I didn't always), and someone hadn't offered. But I have also on several occasions been offered a seat when not pregnant, and would usually politely decline saying I was only going a couple of stops, I might sometimes accept it if I was feeling a bit lazy. The last thing I would want to do is put people off offering a seat by going crazy.

But its a total minefield, I know men who refuse to sit down for fear they might have to decide whether to give up their seat or not

Cherryontop99 Tue 20-Nov-12 09:03:25

Yes minefield indeed. Some women get annoyed if no one offers a seat. Sometimes I don't notice if a pregnant woman gets on though as I am engrossed in my book! But if they ask they can always have my seat grin

dinkystinky Tue 20-Nov-12 09:04:28

I had to ask for a seat this morning as I was feeling dizzy and faint in an overpacked tube that had been held at the station for 10 minutes - the nice man I asked very kindly gave it up rather than risk me collapsing in the tube. I think most pregnant women - or even non-pregnant but feeling ill people - ask if they need one and it hasnt been offered.

quietlysuggests Tue 20-Nov-12 09:07:20

whats a baby on board badge? Is that a thing?

I spent 3 hours at the hospital anti natal clinic yesterday without being offered a seat.

Frontpaw Tue 20-Nov-12 09:12:20

I was never offered a seat when pregnant. In fact I was once barged out of the way on a busy bus by a woman to get to a seat. I was hugely round by then and very obviously carrying an elephant.

I was once offered a seat by a pregnant woman once (I wasnt pregnant) when I was about to pass out on the tube! I declined.

Cherryontop99 Tue 20-Nov-12 09:12:42

Baby onboard badges are given out by London Underground to pregnant women

HappyAsASandboy Tue 20-Nov-12 09:22:32

YANBU. I think in London, a baby on board badge is the standard way of signalling you'd like space/a seat/not to be barged in to. If they were only chubbily pregnant, then a badge sorts out all the misunderstandings nicely smile

I will never forget the time I got on a tube when 8 months pregnant with twins (and so the size of a bus, which is quite big in a tube!). I stood in the corridor down the middle of the seats, belly to belly with a woman not much less pregnant than me, while 'oblivious' book-readers ignored us. TBH I didn't need a seat, but it did seem to push the 'I didn't notice' excuse to the limit when there were two of us like bookends, belly to belly and taking up most of the carriage! Was summertime too, so no bulky coats etc. One of my lasting pregnancy memories grin

tjah04 Tue 20-Nov-12 09:34:00

YANBU. I know some women who think the baby on board badge is silly but it does sort out a lot of problems, especially if a mistake can be made.

I have a friend who has severe problems with her legs and standing for a period of time can be painful . I remember 3 years back we were commuting to work and I was standing talking to my friend. A pregnant lady got on and stood next to me. Next thing you know she made a very rude comment to my friend who felt very embarrased as a book reader looked up and offered his seat whilst also making a comment about my friend. I was horrified and felt the need to point this out which embarrased my friend even more.

This changed my attitude and I do feel now that if you are not wearing a badge then you may not be offered a seat.

mycatlikestwiglets Tue 20-Nov-12 09:52:29

YANBU. If someone is obviously pregnant or has a badge then I would always offer them a seat (although not all pregnant women feel the need to sit down). However, imo someone who hasn't been offered one should just ask if they want one. I always did that, particularly if the tube was particularly busy as I was worried about people falling on me. No one ever refuses if you ask imo.

What was that that Jimmy Carr said...? "I'd rather see a pregnant woman standing than a fat woman crying".

You are not being unreasonable. I think most women now on public transport (particuially in the cities) would know to wear a baby on board badge.

UsedToBeAContender Tue 20-Nov-12 09:55:23

I once got tutted at by a tosser commuter on the tube because my enormous pregnant tummy was touching his newspaper making it difficult for him to turn the page.

Then the train stopped suddenly and I stumbled and accidentally stamped on his foot! Karma gets us all....grin

My tip is to make eye contact and smile. If she needs it, she will feel able to ask.

The Metrolink in Manchester is very wobbly. It isn't safe for anyone with reduced balance (including children and bumps) to stand. I took scarily hard bashes to my bump with both DCs. If I offer a bump a seat it is for the unborn baby's sake.

That said, I once passed out on said tram and still wasn't offered a seat. People asked if I was ok (I am on the floor with a gigantic 8m bump and tears running down my face, what do you reckon?) but no seat.

FlatFacedArmy Tue 20-Nov-12 10:04:18

I loved being pregnant this summer. I never had trouble getting a seat on the train or bus, and even in the early days when my belly could have been just a food-baby I was offered a seat! I never declined it because I was always thankful for the good manners of whoever was giving it up and I didn't want to put them off offering again in the future.

And during the Olympics all the nice people in pink shirts would beckon me through shortcuts, hold barriers open for me and ensure that I was at the front of the platform at the right position to get on the trains first. I felt like a VIP!

Some fuckwit wrote into the paper this week saying "if you can do a day's work you can stand".

Yeah, because sitting at a desk is the same as standing for half an hour on a moving platform.

I'm nearly 9 months pg and always offered a seat on the tube, even from 6 months. I didn't really mind standing but as soon as I get on someone always gets up for me, there are very kind people out there. One was a woman who was in her 60s and I declined as I felt fine. Another time a really rough looking builder bloke jumped up for me smile

Wow, 5 kids and I've never heard of "baby on board" badges


rainbow2000 Tue 20-Nov-12 10:17:39

Yes the hospital where loads of men sit and dont offer you a seat.We used to have a great nurse that would come out and shame all the non pregnant women in to giving up their seats.
I used to get offerd seats on the bus but my bugbear is people not helping women on with prams especially if they have other children.

Yes rainbow there was loads of them. Lots of us were there for gtt so hadn't been able to eat anything from 12 the night before, this was at 11am.

Was surprised at how many people's oh were sat eating too, even though their partners hadn't eaten for at least 11 hours. Dp couldn't make the appointment but if he'd sat there eating while I was bloody starving I think I'd have bitten him! However I am a little irrational when hungry at the moment

littleladyindoors Tue 20-Nov-12 11:14:57

YANBU, I would ask if I really needed to sit down, actually I dont think I would, in case people would look at me funny or think I was being presumptious!!!! But Im a scaredy cat
Im not normally going many stops on the tube, so it doesnt really bother me, it has bothered me when a colleague (who knows Im pregnant and not just chubby) sat down in the last seat and let me stand. which was nice.

I find the worst ones are at the Drs. I went for a midwife check, same waiting room as the blood test area, and it was very busy, they let me stand whilst they all sat. And I dont mind if you are elderly or infirm, you need that seat more than me, but the people you are with dont!! My husband always stands when I sit, so others can have a seat.

What precise wording do people use? Do you target a friendly-looking person, or the person you judge to be most able to stand? Or address the carriage at large?

I think I am too British for this!

slhilly Tue 20-Nov-12 11:30:14

Address the carriage at large. Say in a clear voice: "I'm pregnant. Could someone let me sit down please" A part of British-ness used to be gallantry - helping those who needed it. So think of what you're doing as giving people an opportunity to connect with their Britishness by being gallant...

Jusfloatingby Tue 20-Nov-12 11:34:09

Yes the hospital where loads of men sit and dont offer you a seat.We used to have a great nurse that would come out and shame all the non pregnant women in to giving up their seats. QUOTE

That doesn't seem very fair. If they were attending a hospital presumably they had health problems too eg fibroids, prolapsed wombs which would make standing very tiring and uncomfortable.

So think of what you're doing as giving people an opportunity to connect with their Britishness by being gallant...

Love it! Shame am no longer commuting nor pregnant. Where were you two years ago...?

MrsMelon Tue 20-Nov-12 11:47:41

YANBU, I only had 2 stops when travelling pregnant on the tube so standing was no ordeal, I was happy to actually get on the jubilee line in morning rush hour!

I do tend to faint though every now and then so if I needed a seat on the tube, bus or waiting room I would have no problem asking someone to get up and would also ask on behalf of a stranger if I saw someone else elderly or pregnant as many have done for me.

McKayz Tue 20-Nov-12 11:53:23

Slightly different but I recently went to London and had DD in a sling. I wasn't bothered about a seat as we only really went 2-3 stops each time but the only person who offered me a seat was a pregnant woman. I told her to keep it. But no one else ever bothered at all.

honeytea Tue 20-Nov-12 11:55:16

I have taken to asking the person sitting in the seat for elderly people (so long as that person is not old, that would be unreasonable) I say "excuse me, would it be ok if I sat there, I am struggling with pain/weight from my pregnancy."

Persoally I found I was ok to stand in my 2nd trimester and by the 3rd trimester I looked obviously pregnant even though I had some pre pregnancy padding.

suburbandream Tue 20-Nov-12 11:57:07

When I was commuting and pregnant, I made sure I had my coat undone so that people could clearly see I was pregnant not fat grin.

SamSmalaidh Tue 20-Nov-12 11:57:22

I generally think people will ask for a seat if they need it. McKayz, if I saw you I would assume you were happy to stand as you hadn't asked.

McKayz Tue 20-Nov-12 12:01:25

Yes but the seats are quite clearly marked with pictures of pregnant women, people with sticks and people carrying children. So to me it's obvious you should at least offer.

But then I live in North Yorkshire where people seem to argue about who is giving up their seat. Which is just as annoying.

littleshamrock Tue 20-Nov-12 12:02:05

A nurse that came out to shame all the non pregnant women out of their seats?

Men waiting with their partners/ wives I can understand but presumably the other woman would be there for gyn/ medical/ pregnancy loss issues, quite possibly in a great deal of discomfort.

Having been in both situations, being asked to leave a seat while miscarrying and grieving a loss all so that someone who to me seemed like they had won the lottery in terms of luck would show a total lack of compassion.

Gigondas Tue 20-Nov-12 12:13:21

Couldn't agree more little shamrock- one of the worst things I had to endure when had mc and losing my son was sitting in a room full of pregnant women. I dread to think how I would have reacted if some well meaning person had come to shove me off a seat as I wasn't actually pregnant hmm.

But agree should ask if need a seat - why the fucking hell you need a badge if you can't ask beats me. That Isn't to say that people will give up a seat- I remember giving up a seat to someone else who was pregnant as she looked in greater need than me to the usual oblivious stares. Also I reckon I needed a seat more when wasn't showing and felt sick and tired than later on.

hatsybatsy Tue 20-Nov-12 12:16:14

would never wear a 'baby on board' badge - if I needed a seat I asked for one.

Had one v embarrassing instance when an older woman forced a school boy to give his seat up for me and berated him very loudly for not having done so already.. I did sit down as such a fuss had been made but actually only had one more stop to go!!

slug Tue 20-Nov-12 13:01:19

I found I was almost always offered seats by young men. Definitely not conforming to the stereotype there. As I got more and more pregnant my SPD meant I actually found standing up after sitting was painful if not impossible. It was actually easier not to sit.

The only real time I had difficulty was in the early, not showing stages. I had vile and constant morning sickness that could devastate me. Travelling into work on the DLR one morning I was sweating and obviously unwell. There was a youngish city boy, legs apart, obviously avoiding eye contact so he wouldn't feel shamed into giving me his seat. I leaned over, possibly dropped a drip of sweat on him and hissed "I'm pregnant and about to throw up" He was out of that seat quicker than you could say 'dry cleaning bill' wink

I hate the badges too. Just ask if you need a priority seat.

shamrock I can see your pov but the most in pain/discomfort should have the seat, being heavily pregnant can = fainting, lots of pain, maybe she is bleeding too etc. but if someone is miscarrying and in physical and emotional pain, are too entitled to a seat and should stand for themselves.
Compassion goes both ways. It's not about who is luckier.

Where in a hospital would heavily pregnant women be queuing with miscarrying women anyway? Seems terrible to bung them all together.

honeytea Tue 20-Nov-12 13:39:41

I think in hospitals where they deal with pregnant and miscarrying women there are very often partners with the woman and they should stand up for a pregnant woman. There is no need for a man who's DP is miscarrying to sit down or a man who has a pregnant DP.

WingDefence Tue 20-Nov-12 13:54:07

I'm 20 weeks and have been showing for a few weeks now and I shoved my belly out when it was only showing a bit!

I commute to London every other week or so and use the tubes. It's been about 50/50 as to whether I've been offered a seat or not. I tend to stand right by the priority seats and people often don't get up.

I really do want to ask the normally young and fit-looking person sitting in those seats to let me sit down but I would be devastated if they turned out to be like one of the above poster's friends who does not outwardly appear to need the seat but really does. blush

Should I swallow my discomfort and ask anyway? I am normally very forthright etc but on this point I just find it embarrassing...

WingDefence Tue 20-Nov-12 13:54:30

Oh and I do have a baby on board badge.

ijustwant8hours Tue 20-Nov-12 14:09:32

I commuted in London through two pregnancies, was offered a seat once I think.

Was in London with my 4 year old son, we had had a long day and he was very tired. We got on to a fullish tube and he just wailed "i REALLY need to sit down!" And cried a bit, a lot of people offered thier seat, so if you ask I am sure people will offer...

SamSmalaidh Tue 20-Nov-12 14:10:04

You don't have to say "give me a seat" just "do you mind if I sit down/would it be possible for me to have a seat?". If they reply "actually I'm disabled" then smile and say no problem, turn to someone else and ask if they can swap.

Might be like the hospital I go to, they don't put people who are having a mc or have gynaecological problems in the waiting room with pg women. The only non pg women you see there are family members.

ChuffMuffin Tue 20-Nov-12 14:17:42

I always offer people a seat if I think they need it. No other fucker on my bus/train ever does though.

Also not really related to the story but today I saw a man with two metal hospital crutches hobbling down the pavement, the bus came, he was about 20 feet away so he picked up his crutches and proper sprinted! What the actual fuck?!

Woozley Tue 20-Nov-12 14:22:51

The worst people for offering seats were the middle aged suited men on the earlier trains - bankers, lawyers and stockbrokers basically. Reading their massive Telegraph or "working" on their laptop. Far, far too important to give up their seat for anyone doncha know. Or generally oblivious to anything outside their own bubble.

On such trains I used to give up my seat when in early stages of pregnancy to women who looked more pregnant.

FergusSingsTheBlues Tue 20-Nov-12 14:23:23

I am now working from home because i had to stand six times in one weeks, 50mins each way and not one bugger would move. I have spd as well and 25 weeks pregnant.

I wear my baby on board every (work) day. I don't (now) need a seat the instant that I get on the tube and generally wait until the next inter-change station to position myself for a seat. But if someone offers, I accept (unless I am only travelling a couple of stops). Now that I am 28 weeks with twins, people offer very quickly!

Younger men and women generally offer seats generously. Older men (over 45) are pretty rubbish and the older they are, the worse they seem!

I must admit that in the early days asking for a seat was too much for me. But then I had to get off the tube (repeatedly and sometimes more than once on the same journey to the office) to puke so having a badge was actually really nice because it meant that I didn't have to ask. when I was already feeling v vulnerable. Asking made me cry - I couldn't face the potential rejection! Getting a seat was the difference between being able to just about function at work all day or having to get off half way to work and sit for 30 mins recovering and then having to try again and arriving at the office like a dishrag. Although getting offered a seat also used to make me cry and even travelling up an escalator once!

SamSmalaidh Tue 20-Nov-12 14:28:17

Did you ask for a seat and people refused Fergus?

WingDefence Tue 20-Nov-12 14:48:24

Thanks Sam, when I'm in London next week I shall ask with all politeness (I wouldn't have just demanded a seat anyway grin) and then even if someone declines, hopefully someone else may have heard me and then would offer.

Havingkittens Tue 20-Nov-12 14:56:57

It's a bit of a dilemma as often you need a seat more in the first trimester when you don't really look pregnant, due to feeling sick or wiped out. Personally though, I wouldn't dream of wearing a Baby on Board sticker as I wasn't ready to tell anyone I was pregnant until about 16 weeks and wouldn't want to run the risk of anyone I know seeing it.

I am now looking a bit more pregnant but wear a big furry swing coat that disguises the fact (not on purpose) so I'd probably have to demand a seat. I fell down the wet stairs going down into Oxford Circus tube the other week and all but one person continued to just walk around me to get into the station as it wasn't obvious at all that I was pregnant. Although you'd hope people would show more concern regardless of the fact!

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

Cathycomehome Wed 21-Nov-12 01:09:16

I just thought I'd offer a positive view of Londoners: I have very low blood pressure and sometimes faint. I have been offered a seat on three separate occasions without saying something when I must have looked alarmingly white!

Cathycomehome Wed 21-Nov-12 01:12:29

Also, I've fainted at both Euston and Victoria hideously embarrassing and been helped by passers by both times, never walked past unaided.

BadLad Wed 21-Nov-12 02:52:51

May I develop this question slightly?

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.

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.

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!

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.

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.

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.)

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!

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.

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).

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

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...

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.

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).

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.

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!).

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 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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!

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!

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.

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.

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!

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