Monday, November 20, 2017
Perspective

Pregnant and waiting for a seat

RECOMMENDED READING


So I am nine months pregnant. Four days past my due date and have gained XX pounds (Not everything requires full disclosure).

I write about public transit for the Washington Post so riding trains and buses is a huge part of my job and it's how I generally get around town.

But being pregnant has given me a different perspective, especially when it comes to who gives up their seat when they see a rather large, obviously pregnant lady lumbering into a train car.

During my eighth month, I was sitting in the Metro seats reserved for senior citizens and those who are handicapped when a middle-aged woman who appeared to have a vision impairment boarded with a cane and guide dog. I stood up and told her she could have my seat.

We bumped into each other as the train was moving and she politely asked, "Are you pregnant?" I told her yes. She smiled and said she couldn't take a seat from a pregnant lady.

For three stops, we debated who should take the only seat on the packed train. A woman in her 40s, seated a few rows back, stood up and said, "I can't take it anymore, seeing a pregnant lady and a blind woman argue over who should give up a seat. Take mine."

Another time, a friend's husband and I boarded a rather full rail car during the evening rush hour. In a rather loud voice he said — "Excuse me, my friend here is very pregnant. Can someone give up their seat, please?"

Three people in the first row of seats looked up. Two businessmen looked me dead in the eye and then looked back down to their newspapers. A 30-something professional woman appeared to glance at me and then look back out the window.

I'm certainly not the first to have interesting experiences riding public transportation while pregnant. In chatting with another pregnant rider one morning on the Red Line, we both had come to a wholly unscientific conclusion on who's most likely to give up their seat to a pregnant woman:

• Young African-American men. They've been quick to spring from their seats, regardless if they're engrossed in music or reading.

• Middle-aged women. I'm guessing it's because they remember what it feels like to carry a bowling ball with swollen feet and an achy back.

Not quite so generous:

• 20-something women. Usually they're too busy texting to look up. If they do, it is a look of "I-don't-notice-you-or-your-large-belly."

• Middle-aged white guys. I've had one offer me his seat. More often they've looked away. I once had a man snarl when I bumped his arm while trying to move to the center of a rail car.

Let me note, this is not an indictment of young women or white men. I happen to be a relatively young woman, married to a white man. It's simply the observation of a couple of larger than normal, at times irritable, pregnant women just waiting to get these kids out. (Editor's note: The author gave birth last week to a healthy girl.)

© 2012 Washington Post

Comments
Oh, Florida! We should all be thankful for the lady accused of shoplifting while dressed as a turkey

Oh, Florida! We should all be thankful for the lady accused of shoplifting while dressed as a turkey

he other day, I had a lovely chat with a lady who was arrested on charges of shoplifting ... while she was dressed as a turkey. I guess you could say that she’s been accused of doing the wrong kind of stuffing.The lady’s name is Irene Leonhard and sh...
Published: 11/16/17
Updated: 11/17/17
Perspective: How the ‘Shalane Flanagan Effect’ works

Perspective: How the ‘Shalane Flanagan Effect’ works

When Shalane Flanagan won the New York City Marathon this month, her victory was about more than just an athletic achievement. Of course, it’s a remarkable one: She’s the first American woman to win in 40 years, and she did so in a blistering 2 hours...
Published: 11/13/17
Updated: 11/17/17
Perspective: A link between alcohol and cancer? It’s not nearly as scary as it seems

Perspective: A link between alcohol and cancer? It’s not nearly as scary as it seems

By AARON E. CARROLLThe headline had some of my friends in a panic.Citing evidence, the American Society of Clinical Oncology warned that even light drinking could increase the risk of cancer.Once again, we’ve been told that something we eat or drink ...
Published: 11/13/17
Updated: 11/17/17
The bridge wobbles. So do you. That’s when the trouble starts.

The bridge wobbles. So do you. That’s when the trouble starts.

Only one countyOut of all America’s 3,141 counties, only one — Howard County, Iowa (population 9,332) — voted by more than 20 percentage points for Obama in 2012 and Trump in 2016, according to FiveThirtyEight.com.The three wealthiest people in the...
Published: 11/09/17
Updated: 11/17/17
PolitiFact: Explaining the Virginia election results

PolitiFact: Explaining the Virginia election results

As late as a few hours before the polls closed on Tuesday night, pundits were thinking Republican Ed Gillespie could pull off an upset in Virginia’s open-seat gubernatorial race.When the votes were tallied, however, they showed that Gillespie’s bid r...
Published: 11/09/17
Organic agriculture can help feed world, but only if we eat less meat and stop wasting food

Organic agriculture can help feed world, but only if we eat less meat and stop wasting food

Mammals were largely creatures of the night until the dinosaurs were killed off by an asteroid some 66 million years ago, a study finds. The findings, described in the journal Nature Ecology & Evolution, illuminate a pivotal transition in the history...
Published: 11/07/17
Updated: 11/17/17
PolitiFact: John Kelly, the Civil War and the slavery compromise that almost was

PolitiFact: John Kelly, the Civil War and the slavery compromise that almost was

he uproar that followed White House chief of staff John Kelly’s comment about the roots of the Civil War stands as Exhibit A of the potential problems that come when an official uses shorthand to talk about the country’s history of slavery. Here is t...
Updated one month ago
Was George Papadopoulos just a ‘volunteer’? PolitiFact reviews the evidence

Was George Papadopoulos just a ‘volunteer’? PolitiFact reviews the evidence

President Donald Trump and prominent allies have repeatedly referred to former campaign aide George Papadopoulos as a mere "volunteer" after news broke that he had pled guilty to lying to the FBI in its Russia investigation.Press Secretary Sarah Huck...
Updated one month ago

Wolves know how to work together

Nearly ½ of Americans told the Pew Research Center that they trust only "some" or "none" of their neighbors.More than ¼of the farmhands in the United States are immigrants working here illegally.The first ninepresidents of Princeton University owned...
Published: 10/31/17
Updated: 11/09/17
Perspective: National Book Award winner says it’s self-interest that leads to racist policies, and then racism

Perspective: National Book Award winner says it’s self-interest that leads to racist policies, and then racism

Ibram X. Kendi was not surprised to see Donald Trump elected president.Unlike many Americans of every political position, Kendi saw the 2016 election not as a shock but as a swing of a historical pendulum he has spent years studying and writing about...
Updated one month ago