On Tuesday, Freddie and I went down to Lewis Cubitt Park in Central London as we were invited to the launch of the #ExpectingChange campaign, headed up by top pregnancy skincare brand Mama Mio. In collaboration with Mumsnet, the launch of the campaign was to highlight recent research findings that only 6 in 10 commuters would give up their seat for an expectant mother.
Mama Mio believe that all expectant mums should have the right to a seat on public transport, should they want it. At the event, we heard a live panel discussion about experiences of being pregnant on public transport and how often pregnant women are left to stand as commuters rush to get seats for their journeys to and from work. The discussion was really interesting and we heard from Anna Whitehouse (Mother Pukka) Candice Brathwaite, Alison Perry and Fi Anderson as they talked about public transport etiquette and general manners of others on public transport.
Pregnancy is hard work
Having recently been pregnant with Freddie, I can relate to a lot of the discussion and the findings from the research. Growing a baby is hard work. During the first twelve weeks, your body is going through an incredible change and is growing an actual human being. It’s exhausting! Whilst your body is doing its thing and you’re going about your usual business commuting to and from work should be the least of your worries and that’s where Mama Mio want change.
Their recent research has found that only 2% of people asked would stand for a pregnant woman in her first trimester. Whilst 3 in 10 people think you don’t need to offer a seat until a mother-to-be is visibly showing. This research sadly doesn’t shock me, but it should. Why are us Brits so reluctant to be polite and courteous and offer up our seats to those more in need than ourselves? The research found that one of the main reasons why people don’t want to offer their seats is for the fear of appearing rude, with 25% saying that haven’t given up seats as they don’t want to offend. I can appreciate some people don’t want to offend others by assuming they’re pregnant judging by their appearance, we’re often told not to judge a book by its cover but why are we so afraid to acknowledge each other?
Where are our manners?
I can probably count on my hand the number of journeys I took on public transport when I was pregnant. Living in the West Midlands, our transport system isn’t as reliable as Londons and therefore I had to drive to work everyday. However, having travelled down to London with Freddie in his pushchair on Tuesday I saw for myself how ignorant people are, keeping their heads down, noses buried in phones and laptops not wanting to engage or acknowledge each other. I had to ask someone to help me lift up Freddie’s pushchair onto the train and I stood all the way home from London to Birmingham as many people were reluctant to offer up their ‘paid for’ seats.
This month, Mama Mio are providing a platform for people to discuss public transport etiquette and empowering pregnant ladies with the confidence to ask for a seat should they want it. You can read more from Mama Mio on how to ensure you get a seat and read the full survey results over on their website.
I came away from the event, which was fantastic by the way (with afternoon tea in the sunshine catching up with friends and meeting new faces and their adorable babies) feeling that we need to be more aware of each other. We need to ask for help should we need it (e.g, me attempting to lift Freddie’s pushchair onto the train without dropping him or a pregnant lady wanting a seat on the bus) and we need to stop being offended by one another and take a look around and acknowledge each other more. Offer that Mama your seat and smile, it’s free!
What has your experience been on public transport whilst pregnant? Did anyone offer you a seat? Would you offer your seat to a pregnant lady? I’d love to hear from you.
Disclosure: This post has been commissioned by Mama Mio and Mumsnet. All views and images are my own.