Pregnancy // #ExpectingChange with Mama Mio and Mumsnet

On Tuesday, Bun and I headed to London to eat cake and chat in the sunshine with Mama Mio and Mumsnet. I spent such a lovely afternoon catching up with friends, meeting new faces, and listening to a fantastic panel discussion about experiences of being pregnant on public transport.

Mama Mio believe that all expectant mums should have the right to a seat on public transport, should they want one.

Did you know that only 60% of people would give up their seat to a pregnant lady on a bus or a train? And only 2% would give up their seat to an expectant mum in the first trimester?

Their new campaign #ExpectingChange is all about raising awareness for public transport etiquette; encouraging people to offer their seats on trains and buses to pregnant ladies. They also want to help empower expectant mums to ask for a seat, which is something that can feel incredibly daunting, especially in busy cities like London.

Pregnancy is hard; it’s not all cute bumps and baby kicks. It’s exhaustion. It’s sickness. It’s nausea that lasts more than ‘just’ 12 weeks. Your body changes constantly. Your centre of gravity is off. And your ankles and legs swell.

Balancing, when standing on a moving train or bus, is even more difficult as a pregnant woman. Especially in this heat, or at the end of a busy day. Growing a tiny human can be a worrying experience at the best of times, but falling over and potentially harming your bump isn’t something we should have to worry about.

Before we relocated to Yorkshire, one of the places we lived was Brighton. I was pregnant with Busby during some of this time, and I found that people were very reluctant to give me their seat. In fact, the majority of people who would offer me seats were those who needed them the most. I remember one time, a lovely old lady offered me her seat and I refused saying: “No – you need it.”  She exclaimed very loudly on the busy bus: “Yes, I do, but you also need to sit down! Perhaps someone else would like to offer up a seat?!” I’ve never seen so many people blush at once – and both the lady and I were given seats.

I’m definitely not alone in my not-so great experiences on public transport. When I posted about the #ExpectingChange campaign on Instagram this week, I was inundated with mums sharing their stories with me. One that really stuck out is @mrsawarburton‘s comment:

“When I was pregnant, I was on crutches for the last 7 weeks. I was travelling through the London Underground and no one bothered to offer me a seat on the train… Although, eventually, a woman asked her son to get up so I could sit down.”

Also, @daynapieandthelittleguy‘s comment really shocked and angered me:

“There were a lot of comments from men saying that it was my choice to get pregnant, so they didn’t see why they should give up a seat.”

I mean, because firstly, pregnancy is entirely down to the woman – men aren’t involved at all, are they?! And secondly, can you imagine if men were able to get pregnant?! There would be a designated carriage just for them… with super comfy seats, free wi-fi and food!

Finally, @susanb2p15 made an excellent point in her comment, demonstrating that pregnancy is not straight forward and, that as well as being pregnant, mums might have further reasons to need that seat:

“… the thing is, I couldn’t risk getting my tummy bumped as I’m rhesus negative, and any bump sent me straight to hospital for an injection.”

You can find all of the fantastic comments and stories on my Instagram post here.

It’s been a bit better in Yorkshire during this pregnancy (mostly because it’s less busy), but I have taken to wearing my ‘Baby on Board’ badge and pointedly stroking my bump over the past couple of weeks. People (especially men) up here are definitely more helpful when it comes to offering to take H-Bear’s pushchair on and off the train for me too. Northern kindness is not just a thing of folklore.

What has been your experience when pregnant on public transport? Has it been positive? Or do you find yourself having to employ the “look, I’m blatantly pregnant” tactics? And do those tactics even work? I’d love to hear your stories!

Hannah

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*Paid post written in collaboration with Mama Mio and Mumsnet. All views and opinions expressed in this post are my own.*

12 Comments

  1. 7th July 2018 / 9:28 pm

    I think this is a really good campaign – during Toby’s pregnancy I was in London and then Paris as I entered the 3rd trimester and I have to say not once was I left standing once the bump was spotted. However in my previous little Rutland village I was pregnant with Martha and barely able to walk from the pain of PGP, Toby was 1 and asleep in the pushchair, and the bus driver said I had to take him out and collapse the pushchair or get off. I refused and luckily some other passengers stood up for me too.

    • Hannah
      Author
      7th July 2018 / 10:10 pm

      Ah that’s amazing – especially for London and Paris! Such a shame about that bus driver though 🙁 xx

  2. 8th July 2018 / 8:51 pm

    It’s so worrying how little care people have, all I can hope is that people become more aware with campaigns like this helping to raise awareness! I thankfully didn’t have any issues when I was commuting to work on the train with a big bump, and people always offered to help me with the buggy when I used one, even though my stubbornness often meant I declined it!

    • Hannah
      Author
      11th July 2018 / 10:59 am

      Ah that’s brilliant to hear Lauren! Especially in Brighton/Worthing! xx

  3. 10th July 2018 / 2:15 pm

    It’s tough being pregnant and just how inconsiderate people are. With my first born my bump was quite small and it was winter so quite hidden but I remember shoving me out the way in a shop and I was livid!
    The bump on board campaign is great. I love your dress, you certainly coordinated well!! You look gorgeous x

    • Hannah
      Author
      11th July 2018 / 11:00 am

      Oh no! That sounds awful!

      Thank you so much! xx

  4. 10th July 2018 / 7:45 pm

    This is such a great campaign, I had to use the bus until I was 8 month pregnant on my way to work and back each day and it was worrying the amount of times I had to stand. I always offer my seat to those who need it and it’s worrying that this isn’t the norm.

    • Hannah
      Author
      11th July 2018 / 11:00 am

      I know – where have manners gone? It’s dreadful isn’t it? xx

  5. 10th July 2018 / 9:31 pm

    What a great campaign! I worked in London when I was pregnant with my eldest daughter and not once did someone offer me their seat and there was no denying I was pregnant! I always offer my seat to people in greater need and always have done x

    • Hannah
      Author
      11th July 2018 / 11:01 am

      Same here! I’m so sorry to hear that they didn’t offer you a seat 🙁 xx

  6. 11th July 2018 / 11:10 am

    Wow only 60% thats madness! What a great campaign to share awareness – its looks like you had the weather (and the yummy cakes!) for it!

    • Hannah
      Author
      11th July 2018 / 11:19 am

      It was a glorious day! And yes, only 60% is ridiculous xx

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