Almost two years ago when I was pregnant with my first child, I wrote about my experiences trying to find a seat on Metro.
It wasn’t as easy as you would think. Even when I looked like a refrigerator and the sight of me coming should have scared folks into moving out of a seat, many of my fellow Metro train riders acted oblivious
. Don’t get me wrong, some did offer me a seat and were polite about it. Others buried their noses in electronic devices or newspapers.
The discussion of finding a seat on public transportation when you’re pregnant is popping up again. (Author’s note:
Coincidentally, I’m again pregnant with my second child, so this is on my mind as well.)
I recently received an e-mail from a reader/Metro rider sharing her views of being pregnant and riding the system. Sarah Cahalan of Maryland
agreed to let us share it.
I am 6 months pregnant and generally pretty slim, plus we’ve all been wearing bulky winter clothes. So I’ve just assumed that I don’t look like I need a seat, and that’s why no one has offered one on WMATA. (I ride metro and buses.)
But yesterday I shared a pole on the Red Line with a woman who must have been over 8 months pregnant. No one could have missed it. No one offered her a seat, either. We were surrounded by undergraduates and young professionals. I doubt that every one of them had an invisible disability.
I know that those of us who need a seat should pipe up and ask for one. But I also think that it is good manners to offer unprompted. I have also seen people with crutches, casts, and arm braces standing on the metro while apparently able-bodied people ignored them and remained seated.
I did not realize before I became pregnant that even when she is in good health a pregnant woman will often feel dizzy or have trouble balancing. Now that I know I will be more generous and alert to fellow riders who could use a rest.
I hope that we can all treat our fellow riders kindly.
Thanks for writing and for letting us share this, Sarah.
Don’t get me wrong – riders with disabilities, the elderly or those in special needs should clearly get priority seating on Metro’s trains and buses over even a nine-month pregnant lady.
That said, if you see a lady who’s clearly pregnant waddling along and you’re able-bodied and can stand — give her a break and most importantly a seat. Please.
Don’t let this happen here: In London, a woman who was five months pregnant felt ill and ended up having to sit on the floor because no one would give up their seat, according to the Daily Mail.
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