When a pregnant woman gets on a busy bus...

Are commuters rude or afraid of offending when they don’t get up for a pregnant lady?

She’s 30 weeks pregnant, but  Mathilda Grist is often forced to stand during her 30-minute train trip to work while everyone else sits around.

Grist, 29 years old, took to Facebook to vent her frustrations:

“How can an obviously pregnant woman get on a train with no spare seats and not be offered one by any of the passengers? The people sitting down around me would have clearly seen me. As my pregnancy showed I didn’t think it would be an issue getting a seat but I’m shocked and the people I talk to at work are surprised.’’

Sadly, she was not alone in her experience with other mums responding:

“This happened to me a lot when pregnant.”

“[Commuters] have no manners.”

One mum said she ended up “sitting on the floor on a 38 degree day [because I was] too wimpy [to ask seated passengers to move]”.

Stop with the excuses.

So what on earth is going on that people aren't leaping from their seats to offer pregnant women a seat?

Social analyst David Chalke told News Corp, "Too often these days you open a door for a lady and get a mouthful so people are giving up. And if you get up and offer your seat people would think you are a weirdo because that behaviour is so strange and people don’t want to stand out in a crowd."

This is what I like to call an excuse. A terrible one.

Which is what got us talking in the office (and what annoys me every morning I catch the bus and see no one getting up for pregnant women or the elderly).

To those who say men are confused about whether or not it's offensive to offer a woman their seat: let me tell you that when you are pregnant and someone offers you their seat, you aren't thinking of equality amongst the sexes. What you are thinking is: "You are the most amazing person in the whole world." And you would be right. Because it seems like no-one gets up for pregnant ladies any more. Particularly men (yes, men I am taking a swipe at you...particularly the ones who get on my bus and don't get up.)


The other excuse people use is that everyone is too preoccupied on their mobile phone. So you don't notice the pregnant woman standing 5cms from their feet.

Another excuse. Sure, everyone has their heads down on the bus staring at their mobile device. But this is no different to the days of newspapers.

Sorry, can't get up. Preoccupied with the paper.

What should happen is this: if you find yourself in the Priority Seating area on public transport, you are obligated to look up from your phone/tablet/ book/newspaper EVERY time the bus stops to see WHO is getting on. If they are pregnant, elderly or have a pram -UP YOU GET. Don't wait to see if someone else will. EVERYONE in those seats, male and female, (unless they are pregnant, elderly or disabled) should be leaping to their feet. And yes, to the man in his 30s on my bus this morning, you too.

And while we are at it, to all those pregnant women who aren't at 38 weeks. Because people are too scared that you might just have eaten too much last night, ask for a seat. No one will judge you (they will judge the insert bleep word that haven't jumped up yet). And you have the right to ask. Those are your seats. Not theirs.

When you were pregnant, did people get up for you on public transport? And if they didn't, did you ask them to?

Want more? Try this:

The hardest part of being pregnant? Figuring out a creative way to tell your friends.

It’s the biggest decision of pregnancy. How do you make it?

Follow iVillage on Facebook

When you become a parent, you don't leave your brain in the delivery suite. That's why mothers with kids of all ages come to; because they're still interested in news about entertainment, health, current affairs and food along with an inspiring and useful stream of parenting advice and support.

Most importantly, they come because they want to hear personal stories of parenting directly from other mothers, without fear of judgement.