Little did I know that the question would come up again so soon, and in a context that I hadn't even thought about. Maybe because the idea of not doing this is so alien to me?
Over the weekend, I came across an article in the Washington Post by Dana Hedgpeth, entitled "Pregnant and Hunting for a Seat on the Metro." In it, Dana says that she's 9 months pregnant, actually past her due date, and has gained a lot of weight due to the pregnancy. She talks about the time last month where she was sitting in a senior citizens seat when a blind woman came onto the bus. She tried to give her seat to the woman, and each ended up doing the "no, you go ahead" tango before finally somebody else gave up their seat for the woman.
But this instance is what really got to me.
"Another time, a friend’s husband and I boarded a rather full rail car during the evening rush hour. In a rather loud voice he said — “Excuse me, my friend here is very pregnant. Can someone give up their seat, please?”Has society gone insane?
Three people in the first row of seats looked up. Two businessmen looked me dead in the eye and then looked back down to their newspapers. A 30-something professional woman appeared to glance at me and then look back out the window."
It seems that basic courtesy has gone out the window these days. I can't even imagine not giving up my seat to a pregnant woman, especially if she was so obviously that far along.
I have to wonder whether it's a gender thing of some kind. Would these same people have acted the same way if a doddering 76-year-old man or woman had struggled onto the bus? Do they think the pregnant woman can fend for herself because she's not struggling to walk around? (and I'm sure some women do struggle to walk around, depending on the pregnancy, so that point may even be moot).
She talked with a fellow pregnant woman on another metro ride, and they agreed that it seemed the most likely to give up their seat were young African-American men and middle-aged women (who may be doing it from remembering their own problems). The least likely seemed to be women in their 20s and middle-aged white men. Of course that's all anecdotal, but it does speak from these women's experiences.
There are two other great articles linked to from Dana's post, so I encourage you to go read that and click through to those as well.
Has it come down to the point where a pregnant woman has to *ask* for a seat on a bus or subway? And even if they do, Dana's experience when her friend's husband loudly demanded it sort of implies that it may not happen even with that. I wonder how much those people felt ashamed afterwards.
Or are they just that oblivious?
It seems that people will go out of their way to make room for mothers with kids in tow, but if you're towing a kid inside you, all bets are off. Lynn Harris asks "where were you people when I was pregnant?"
It's really sad.