Monday, 4 July 2011

Baby On Board

Mummy’s been working in London today.  She has to go to the Big Smoke every now and then, but I know she wasn’t much looking forward to it today because she hates the Tube when it’s hot.  Apparently she hated it even more before she had me and she had to waddle around trying to avoid the crush.
People can be so rude, it seems, so focused on their own journey and what they’re up to that day that they barge through others on the stairs, push past people in their haste to get a seat, not noticing who they’re sending skittling away from them.  And without an ounce of concern for the pregnant, elderly or less able-bodied.
It seems to me that it’s just common courtesy to offer a mum-to-be a seat in a crowded carriage.  I don’t buy the “I paid the same for my ticket as she did” argument – it’s just plain rude not to.  Mummy often says that manners don’t cost anything, and she’s right.
She was always amazed at how quickly people in the seats used to find really fascinating things to look at on their feet, or just pretend to be asleep, so they didn’t make eye contact with her.  If it’s come to that, you must know you’re in the wrong!  To give them a possible excuse, I wonder if perhaps sometimes they’re just too worried about getting it wrong – it must be pretty embarrassing to offer your seat to a lady who’s just had a big lunch!  (Although she might be glad of the seat, too!)
Mummy was in that position today – not the big lunch, but not sure if the standing lady was expecting or just likes pies.  The woman almost had her back fully towards Mummy so it was difficult to tell, but she did seem to be thrusting her belly towards the people in the seats on the other side of the carriage.  They all had interesting shoes.  Eventually, Mummy saw the telltale sign of the gentle stroke of the tummy, the subconscious pat that’s reassuring to both mum and baby.
So Mummy got up, but then had to block the path of some other passenger trying to nip in!  Outrageous!
Mummy used to get so sick of having to ask for seats, which I bet does get a bit embarrassing for all concerned, that she would undo her coat and arch her back so her bump really stuck out.  Then she properly waddled if that didn’t work!
She never got as far as wearing a “Baby on Board” badge that you can buy now, because she wanted to believe that society still has a good heart somewhere deep down, and that she shouldn’t have to label herself any further than an 8 month baby bump already did!  It did seem for a while that she would have to be in the advanced labour before anyone had the decency to get up.
As a glimmer of hope for society, there are exceptions – usually women, like Mummy, who’ve been through it themselves recently, or enthusiastic young men who still remember the good manners their mummies taught them.  So it’s not all bad. 
Just keep an eye out next time you’re on public transport.

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