The scenario is oh so familiar. I step into the carriage, and there aren’t many people standing but the seats are all full. I position myself by the priority seat (slightly in the corridor, with my bump out. I normally get offered a seat within 2 stops (although that is often because a fair amount of the carriage empties at Camden station)). But more often than not, I will just be ignored. Some people have looked up and seen my “Baby on Board” sign, and quickly looked down again.
Others just seem to pretend to be asleep (how else do they know when it’s their stop?). Many more are absorbed in their own little world, reading/listening to music. I must admit, I was in the last category, although if I sat in the priority seat I always always looked up at every stop.
So here’s my question. What exactly is the Priority Seat?
Is the onus on the person seated on the priority seat to look up and offer? Or is the person that requires the priority seat meant to ask? Is there a way of asking without sounding rude?
Perhaps it’s the years of living in London, which has rendered my ability to speak to strangers to zero. I am at a loss. One particularly bad time was when I was coming back from the Paralympics on a Friday evening. I normally plan my travel around non-rush hour times, and go to the area most likely to have seats (2nd last carriage if getting on at Belsize Park). This time, I was caught in rush hour traffic with many business people. I got on at Bank, and did not get a seat until Kings Cross. It may sound bad, but when I don’t get a seat after 5 stops or so, my ill feeling towards Londoners get worse and worse. I was on the verge of tears when I was offered a seat, and was barely able to thank the man properly (although my partner thanked him profusely)
But here’s why pregnant people want/need to sit down. During the first 3 months or so, we’re more prone to morning sickness. If you sit down, it’s a lot (lot!) better; however, you don’t look pregnant, and it seems anti-intuitive to those that haven’t been pregnant to give it to a small-bumped pregnant person. During the 3-4 months, I’ve generally been ok. I’m fine with standing, but the extra weight put on does impact your feet. & I imagine, when you’re huuuugely pregnant, you’ll need to sit down (for the standard reasons... you’re huge and penguin like)