Friday, 21 May 2010

Sitting Pretty

I was on the train yesterday. I got on at an earlier station than normal so I got a seat and gladly got comfy in it. We pulled into the next station and a pretty large group of people piled on. I was happily reading my newspaper when out of the corner of my eye I noticed the man opposite me looking up worridly every 30 seconds or so behind me. Being the nosey person I am I turned around and saw a lady with a baby bump. It was a pretty tidy little baby bump and hidden by her coat mostly, but there was no doubting it with the way she cupped one hand under it and rubbed it with her other hand.

Without thinking I automatically sprung out of my seat, tapped the lady on the arm, apologised for not noticing that she was behind me and offered her my seat. She deserved it, I can't imagine carrying around a baby belly is very comfortable. It's tough enough carrying around my pizza belly.

There were two points to this that really annoyed me. Firstly that the man opposite me had clearly clocked her but didn't offer her his seat. This was probably because I was a couple of inches closer, but the simple fact is he saw her. In fact all the people sitting down were around me, and at the next stop I had to actually ask one of the men to give up their seat for an old lady who was struggling to keep upright. Where are their manners?

Second point. The pregnant woman was clearly in discomfort and was really relieved when she got to sit down. Why didn't she just ask someone? She was wearing quite a baggy coat and if she hadn't have been so slim otherwise I would have probably just thought she was tubby. TFL are giving out great "baby on board" badges for mums-to-be, but sometimes I think if people just asked it would be easier. Same for older people. I know they shouldn't have to, but if the general public don't have the manners to offer a seat, then why stand, struggle and complain about it later when just asking would do?

This isn't the first time I've been on a train and noticed that everyone either has their back to a pregnant lady, or is busy reading a book or the Metro. They aren't not offering seats often because they don't want to, but simply because they haven't noticed. I know if I am ever pregnant and I want a seat, I'll be a little bit cheeky and ask someone.

Lily xXx


Tofu said...

What a nice idea! - i think the babies on board badge is a tad cheeky, but allows shy mums who may not have the confidence to approach someone to hopefully get a seat. I think its also partly the british culture, some people just don't want to hassle others, and won't actively ask if they can have the seat.

I remember being in a similar situation whilst ragging. I ran into a carriage (i know im not supposed to..but u know...) and a man asked if i could shout and ask someone to offer a seat for his pregnant wife.
I was surprised no one had even offered, despite it being quite apparent. After a hearty shout-out, a nice guy at the other end of the segment she was standing in offered her his seat.

i think a lot of people on the tube wouldn't mind doing so, they just need a bit of a prompt ^^.

Painpoppy said...

Ha - at 37 weeks pregnant, I stood on a packed train all the way from Paddington to Swindon. Very uncomfortable. The next morning, I gave birth after a relatively easy 3 hours so may have been a good thing after all :)

Emma said...

If you're not medical, it can be quite hard to identify the difference between pregnant and chubby, and to get it wrong is to cause massive offence. I think that quite often leads to people pretending they haven't seen pregnany women rather than attempting to guess.

Your other point about just asking for the seat is well made, though.