Pregnant Women Get No Respect

pregnant subway seat

Me at 24 weeks

I live in NYC and take the subway to and from work each day. My commute is between 35 minutes to an hour depending on if the train is running well and how fast I can catch my transfers...which has slowed greatly later in my pregnancy, adding about ten minutes for me to walk up and down stairs to get to my connecting train. After that I'm seriously winded. Lung capacity low.

As we know, pregnancy does a lot to our bodies. So far I've got about 25 extra pounds I'm carrying mostly all in the front throwing off my balance, my feet are swollen as are my fingers, I have to pee every 20 minutes it seems, and there is back pain, which may get worse. I know a lot of pregnant women who have had sciatica and other back issues.

I am showing and there is no confusing my baby belly with anything else -- I'm almost 25 weeks pregnant with twins and my doc says I am presenting like I am 31 weeks. You get the picture. Yet, I often do not get offered a seat on the subway.

Before I was pregnant, I would offer my seat to pregnant women -- it's common courtesy, just like I would offer my seat to someone with a broken arm or leg, the elderly, people with small babies, or anyone who seemed like they needed the seat more than I did. Again, common courtesy.

And now, pregnant, some people do offer me their seat and for that I am always really grateful. They often ask: Do you want to sit. And I respond with a smile: That would be great if you don't mind.

The worst times for me are when the subway car gets really crowded. If I'm standing, there is a good chance someone is going to bump into me or push me -- it happens all the time. But now that I'm carrying two lives, it's very different. And I also cannot stretch my arm as much as I used to -- if I'm not near a pole to hold on, this is a huge problem. The subway jerks and bounces and it can be difficult to maintain balance without holding on to something.

Some people have the argument that others are too involved in their newspaper/book/iPod to notice a pregnant woman standing in front of them. I call BS on this. Maybe one subway stop or two, but New Yorkers look around...we aren't oblivious to our surroundings.

I do feel weird about hand-outs, and there is something about asking for someone's seat that doesn't make me feel right -- so I would never do that. I try to make eye contact with people sitting and I often do, but some just look away. I also do go to the disability seat section, where people are supposed to give up their seats for those who need them. Often to no avail.

But I learned something. There are some people who feel pregnant women do not deserve to sit. And you wouldn't believe some of their comments on a recent article on Gothamist about another pregnant NYC woman and her plight to get a seat. Some people suggested for her to take a cab. Cabs are a waste of money. If I took a cab to work, it would cost me about $15 instead of the $2.50 for the subway fare. I need to save that money for my twins.

Here are a sampling of some of the comments on that article:

  • I don't get up for a pregnant women unless she seems in some sort of physical distress. I've traveled the world and actually seen women give birth in the fields while harvesting crops, so the idea that a pregnant woman is somehow more fragile is just nonsense. I will surrender my seat to the elderly, the handicapped, the tired, the stressed, the people who just look like they could use a seat, but I will be damned if I will get up because someone is pregnant. (Note he said he would surrender the seat to the "tired." Clearly this person is clueless. He went on to say, "Hey, I didn't put the kid in there, why should I be inconvenienced?)
  • If you can't afford a cab, you can't afford a kid.
  • Why do pregnant women feel so entitled?
  • Pregnancy is not a disability. Women are no more frail than men. Quit whining and just deal with the discomfort. Few babies weigh more than 10 lbs. at birth anyway. (Also clueless.)
  • Pregnancy is a choice in this country. No one made you do it. You should not get special treatment. If someone chopped off their own legs on purpose, I wouldn't give them a seat either.
  • Don't like it? Don't breed.

OK, I had to stop reading the comments. My blood is starting to boil.

What are your thoughts on this? What would you do? Do pregnant women deserve to be given a seat?

Related posts:

Should Pregnant Women Get Special Privileges?

Discrimination During Pregnancy On the Rise

the pregnant life


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RanaA... RanaAurora

I would give my seat to a very pregnant woman (like I'm sure you appear).  People these days arejust inconsiderate.

mamaquie mamaquie

omg what an awful person that wrote this article!  just  WOW!

ethan... ethans_momma06

I am the kind of person who if they see someone who needed a seat more the I did- I would be up in a heart beat, no questions asked and that includes pregnant women. However I don't think (being a previously pregnant woman myself) that some one should be required to give up anything to me. First come first serve seating on public transportation...thats just the way it is.

Sometimes we look around us in those situations and we judge people 'They look perfectly healthy, cna't they see that I am 7 months pregnant and need to sit down?' but we don't see why they ARENT offering their seats. Some physical challenges are not as easy to spot as a pregnant woman. I.E. my father had an accindet almost a year ago and he had to have a metal rod placed into his leg. Generally he walks with a cane but sometimes he 'forgets' it (o.k. he really just HATES being disabled). If he were to get on the subway or bus before you and sit down...theres no way you would be able to tell that he had a handi cap.

So while I personally feel that pregnant mothers deserve a break off their overburdend feet, try not to judge the perfectly capable looking people who aren't offering their seat- they might need it more then you do.

TinaT80 TinaT80

Wow!!  That is horrible!  I can't believe there are such hateful people out there.  I am almost 37 weeks pregnant and I couldn't imagine having to ride in a crowded subway train with people that feel like that.  I'm so sorry that you have to deal with that.  I don't feel that pregnant women are disabled but it is polite to hand over a seat to someone pregnant or not that may need it.  It's just sad.

spamica spamica

I just think it's something a decent person would do, if they were able.  I doubt it's because everyone else is secretly disabled.  That excuse applies to very few.

nuklear nuklear

wow... just.... wow....

i'm going to take a guess and say that most of the people who commented on this article are kids who haven't a clue or VERY single men who are damned to stay that way forever unless they change their attitude... does noone realize just how much work it takes to create a PERSON?

granted, i'm not a lazy person, and i worked until my due date as a waitress... it sucked, and it would be nice if i could sit on my way home from work... my first pregnancy was alot easier than this second one, and i've actually had to go on maternaty leave in my first trimester.. its taking alot out of me. back pains, dizziness, etc...  does noone realize what a woman's body goes through?

i think another article needs to be written, to replace the comments... in the same (paper, magazine, whatever... )  and explain what can happen to a woman during pregnancy... at its mildest: to its worst... some women can actually DIE because their bodies can't handle it... luckily with modern medicine, it can be detected early and avoided, but still..... the threat is there.

"don't like it, don't breed" who the eff wrote that? how do you think babies are made, dim-wit? they just pop out and say "hey, mom! thanks for the ride, i'll get straight to work now, where's my office"

honestly? really? people actually think this? even after sex ed in school, people think that making a person is an easy task?

agreed... blood is starting to boil...

StarF... StarFire90

If I weren't pregnant and had to ride a bus/subway then yes I would definately give up my seat for a pregnant woman because I know how much it hurts to stand for even short periods of time. And if someone were to make any of those comments to me then I would most likely go off on them, not caring where I was. It's just not right. If they haven't been through it then they should keep their mouth shut about it and have some common courtesy.

Joyan... JoyandLove

No one has any manners these days:(

mrssu... mrssundin

what is wrong with people these days??  what is so hard about standing so that another can sit??  and this does not surprise me since kids these days dont even respect their parents so how are they going to have respect for others including themselves!!

Cryst... Crystal8327

Oh do I know this all too well. I worked two jobs during my entire pregnancy experienced rudeness on my way to them and one of the jobs being retail experienced such rudeness at work even people bumping into me with an attitude well im sorry my belly is in your way. People getting an attitude that I couldn't walk over to them fast enough. I turned into a nasty cold bitch towards the end because I had no tolerance for peoples bullshit anymore.

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