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Come on commuters…let’s stand up for pregnancy

On my way to work this morning, crammed into a packed Northern Line train like sardines in a tin can, I was reminded (yet again) of one of my biggest pet peeves of living in London; the way that huge swathes of commuters refuse to stand up and give up their seat for pregnant women on the city’s over-crowded underground.

Baby on Board - Stand Up London campaign

Despite clearly marked ‘priority’ seats located next to every train door, specifically designated for people who are disabled, pregnant or less able to stand, today, and far too often, these seats are hogged by what I can only describe as ‘inconsiderate selfish b*stards’, if you’ll pardon my French.

So engrossed are this group in their newspapers, books and electronic devices that they are simply incapable of looking up for one second in-between stops to see if there might be someone who may need a seat more than they do.

Picture the scene…

It’s 7:15am and a pregnant woman climbs onto a busy commuter train, as a carriage full of seated Londoners quickly cast their eyes down to avoid making eye contact with the baby carrier.

If she’s lucky, there might be a friendly face that acknowledges her, usually a young woman or knowing parent (rarely found in the priority seat themselves), who will stand up (usually half way down the carriage) to give up their seat for this pregnant lady.

She then has to struggle through a crowd of people to reach her seat. And that’s if some clueless person doesn’t take the chance to sit in it first (something which happens more often than you’d think).

Now, I can understand that commuters are a tired old bunch, seasoned by year’s of antisocial London living to avoid eye contact or conversation with strangers at any cost.

And I can even see why some people may be worried about giving up their seat for older passengers or people without an obvious disability for fear of offending them.

But in the case of pregnant women, the vast majority wear a widely recognised Baby on Board badge that clearly indicates their need for special consideration.

This badge, available free of charge from the TfL website (a great initiative in partnership with Not on the High Street) is not just worn as a sign of pride by expectant mothers. It is worn as a means of saying:

“Dear fellow commuters, I’m currently growing a tiny human inside me, which unfortunately is zapping all my energy, playing havoc with my body temperature and blood pressure while making me feel seriously nauseous. To top it off, I still have to go to work in this condition!

I know it was my decision to get pregnant in the first place, but I would be ever so grateful if you could make my day. All you need to do is stand up and give up your seat so I can get to work in one piece without being bashed and barged out the way when you’re exiting the train.”

Let’s stand up for pregnancy

Stand Up London

So come on London. Let’s take it upon ourselves to be more aware and more considerate of our fellow commuters when on public transport. Think of your own mothers, wives, girlfriends, pregnant friends and colleagues, and whether you would give up your seat for them on a packed train or bus. If the answer is, “Yes, of course”, then you know it’s the right thing to do.

When travelling on public transport, let’s look up more, and if we see a Baby on Board badge (or indeed anyone that might need a seat more than us), let’s never hesitate or wait to see if someone else will give up their seat.

Instead, let’s take action, earn some serious positive karma and stand up! #StandUpForPregnancy

24 weeks and 1 day left to go…

As always, we’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject, so please do share your stories, views and insights with the group via the comments section below.

And if, like me, you feel passionately about this subject and the need for commuters to be more considerate of their fellow passengers, I hope you will join the campaign by tweeting your support using the hashtag #StandUpForPregnancy.

And for more daily updates, do stay in touch with YOUTHEDADDY via Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest.

Diary of an imperfect mum
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  1. michele
    15th August 2016 / 3:23 pm

    Its that “Daily Mail” attitude so many people have these days, “She chose to get pregnant” but we all have mothers we have all been inside a pregnant belly!

      15th August 2016 / 3:25 pm

      Too right Michele! It’s as if people have forgotten where they came from!

  2. thesingleswan
    23rd April 2016 / 8:36 pm

    Hi, I agree with you. I never wore one of those badges, because I was 30-38 weeks pregnant when I moved back to London and was commuting whilst pregnant. I believed that if people didn’t spot the watermelon up my jumper they weren’t going to spot the badge on my breast.

    I do know what it is like though. As a commuter now I am often engrossed in my book or phone. Having been pregnant I now make a conscious effort to look around me at each stop to see whether there are any pregnant, old, young or disabled people for whom I would want to give up my seat. Before I was pregnant, I didn’t do this. I do believe that, as pregnant women, we should have the courage to ask for a seat. No one would ever refuse, in fact they are usually incredibly embarrassed for having to be prompted.

    Pen xx #FabFridayPost

  3. 22nd April 2016 / 12:21 pm

    As someone who used to get a busy train home from work whilst heavily pregnant, I was often left standing. Until, one evening a woman shouted at everybody on behalf! She basically told everybody that this heavily pregnant woman “moi” needed to sit down before she drops. It was slightly embarrassing but someone got up and offered me a seat! Sarah #FabFridayPost

  4. 22nd April 2016 / 10:58 am

    It’s utter madness, why do they think it’s ok not to move?! I’m a bit of an over-giver-upper, anyone over 70, even slightly pregnant looking or with kids, up up up, they need it! But it’s a tricker one with early pregnancies…. people not wanting to offend. Is she pregnant or did she just have a massive lunch!

    Well done for highlighting such a good point!


  5. 11th April 2016 / 10:06 pm

    Oh my this happened to me constantly but on national rail rather than underground. It was amazing how many people pretended to be asleep and ignore the badge or my growing bump!! Even in the priority seats like you said! Even when I had to go into London for the last time last week I ended up standing being thrown all over the place, only managing to get a seat when someone got up at a station! Thank you for joining us at #BloggerClubUK hope to see you again this week x

  6. 10th April 2016 / 2:49 am

    Great post @youthedaddy – I gave up on the northern line during pregnancy as I couldn’t get near a seat to get offered one! When I was preggo in London I was never without a seat actually, but I did often ask for one because I think many commuters are in a bubble and don’t notice, and those that did notice and ignored me soon gave up a seat when confronted by a bump in their face! I think more pregnant women should feel comfortable to ask as well.

  7. 8th April 2016 / 1:01 pm

    So true, I can never ever understand why people don’t give up their seats for people in all cases. The head down ‘pretend it’s not happening’ approach is infuriating. Thanks for writing. Will share on the old Twitter network.#familyfun

    • youthedaddy
      8th April 2016 / 1:19 pm

      Thanks so much for your comments and for helping to spread the word!

  8. candsbyrne
    8th April 2016 / 11:47 am

    Thank you for taking the time to write about this! It’s funny how all the young, able bodied folk keep their bums planted firmly in their seats when they see me climb on to the bus, yet it’s the much, MUCH older generation (who struggle to stand at the best of times) who get up and insist I take their place. As if that isn’t bad enough, I often get pushed out the way while trying to make my way onto the bus. I’m waiting for the day that I get shoved a little to hard, so I can swing around and release my pent up pregnancy rage ha ha!
    Thanks again. Great Blog!

    • youthedaddy
      8th April 2016 / 12:03 pm

      Thanks so much for your support with the campaign – hope people get a lot more considerate towards you and all pregnancy ladies soon! P.S. saying that, would love to be at the bus stop with you to witness the pregnancy rage in action!

  9. 7th April 2016 / 11:09 pm

    Ahh I have done 2 posts about this already. A lot of people just don’t care about fellow passengers. I was humongous with Little Button with a few weeks to go before d-day, and a station worker saw me standing and actually got on the tube to demand that someone stand up for me. As you say, it’s often parents in the know that will stand up, and we are usually half way down the train. It makes me so sad to think how little people think of each other these days. #FamilyFun

    • youthedaddy
      7th April 2016 / 11:18 pm

      Couldn’t agree more Annette – let’s hope something changes so that people don’t have to go through what you did. So disrespectful!

  10. 7th April 2016 / 6:37 pm

    I’m in complete agreement with you on this one – it always frustrates me that things like this are often met with the response “well it was their choice to get pregnant”, “it’s not an illness/disability” etc. And whilst those things are true – pregnancy is incredibly tiring and it’s really just polite to offer a seat to someone if you are better able to stand than they are. Thankfully I rarely travelled on London transport during my two pregnancies and most times was lucky enough to be offered a seat but I do remember getting on a train with one empty seat in the middle of the carriage when I was eight months pregnant and one man getting on at the opposite end. He looked at me, clearly clocked the bump and practically ran for the seat. Thankfully the lady next to him was nice enough to offer hers (after glaring at him for his rudeness, which naturally he ignored). I can’t imagine his journey was comfortable – it was the one and only time I’ve deliberately made sure I take up as much space as possible! Have tweeted and wish you all the best with getting the message out! #coolmumclub

  11. 7th April 2016 / 12:33 pm

    Absolutely agree! Can not believe how inconsiderate people are on public transport in gen but espesh when it comes to expecting mums. They need to look up and they need some perspective too. Thanks for linking up to #coolmumclub mister!

    • youthedaddy
      7th April 2016 / 1:08 pm

      YES YES YES! Let’s improve the situation and spread the word! Thanks for your comments!

  12. 7th April 2016 / 11:14 am

    Great post! I used to get this all the time when travelling in to London for work, I remember on one occasion when I was heavily pregnant, myself and a guy on crutches with his foot in a cast got on to the same carriage and out of all the people sitting down one person had the decency to get up. We obviously stood there arguing who should sit down, bless him, in the end I won by telling him I’m pregnant but won’t topple over if the train suddenly stops, but the whole time we stood there telling the other to sit down not one person got up. People are just so rude nowadays x #FamilyFun

    • youthedaddy
      7th April 2016 / 11:22 am

      That is shocking Jaylan but thank God there are people like you with some common sense! Crazy to think that people could have watched that discussion without taking any action themselves?!

  13. 7th April 2016 / 9:08 am

    Great post! As a 7 month pregnant woman, this is a very topic subject for me given it is something that I experience on a daily basis on my commute in and out of the city. I am always surprised at how rare it is for my fellow commuters to ask me if I’d like a seat. There are of course some lovely people, both men and women that will offer me a seat when they see me, my badge and my very obvious bump, but there are also so many that try to avoid eye contact, looking downwards so that they dont have to acknowledge me. Im not the type of person that will ask for a seat, although many would argue that I should and if I was bold enough I probably would but im very grateful when someone does. I always think that everyone has a mother who at some point may have been in a similar situation so why would you not be compassionate and offer up your seat? I get it, everyones had a long hard day, no one probably really wants to be on that train and most will be delighted that they even managed to get a seat on our overcrowded trains, but even so, it would be nice if they just once helped a pregnant lady out! Love the campaign, will definitely be doing what I can to shout about it 🙂 Emily #coolmumclub

    • youthedaddy
      7th April 2016 / 9:12 am

      Thanks so much Emily for sharing your story – couldn’t agree more with everything you are saying! Makes me so mad how inconsiderate people can be, particularly given how they will all know someone who has been pregnant and suffered the same indignity. Look up, Stand up, Give it up I say!! x

  14. 7th April 2016 / 8:19 am

    It shocks me how inconsiderate some people are! I think the badge is a brilliant idea but it saddens me that we need it! TY for linking up with #FamilyFun

    • youthedaddy
      7th April 2016 / 8:21 am

      Couldn’t agree more – so sad how inconsiderate people can be. And shocking how many pregnant women have come forward to share their stories about rude commuters. Makes me so mad!

  15. 6th April 2016 / 11:03 pm

    YES! People look down and ignore the badge, like I’m the awful one – I get the glances like ‘Oh crap, there’s a pregnant lady’ and they quickly glance down. But on the other hand, not all are like that, I do get offered seats on my lucky days! x

  16. 6th April 2016 / 1:17 pm

    Hear hear, You the Daddy! Makes me so glad I moved out of London before having kids, I would get so angry!

  17. 6th April 2016 / 9:05 am

    I LOVE THIS POST!!! Being 17 weeks pregnant I have both a badge and a sizeable bump- I also have SPD – only mild but after having to stand the entire tube journey home the other night, I could barely walk at the other end! This morning I was literally stood in the aisle, in front of the whole row of seats and not one person offered me a seat. Two young girls say in front of me, having seen my badge and just ignored it! I actually find the females to be worse than the males! And I have to say I think it’s gotten worse since I was pregnant with my first four years ago! From me and all the other pregnant commuters – thank you for writing this 🙂

    • youthedaddy
      6th April 2016 / 9:55 am

      Thanks Lisa – it always shocks me how rude and inconsiderate so many people are on the tube. As if standing for 10 minutes is going to ruin their day? For me, the positive vibes you get after standing up for someone more needy than yourself, far outweighs any negative from having to stand. Thanks so much for sharing your story and for tweeting too, and hopefully things get better for you and all other pregnant commuters soon!