Kate Hitchens was traveling home from a work event in London with her 6-month-old, Charlie, but when she got on the train, she couldn't believe no one offered her a seat. The mom, who was breastfeeding her son, says she was forced to stand in the packed compartment (it was rush hour), trying to balance a wriggling 20-pound baby in one hand and steady herself with the other.
She snapped a selfie and posted it on Instagram, asking "What has the world come to? ... Not one person offered a mother carrying a small child a seat for around half an hour, or three stops!"
Hitchens, who is also a mom to 3-year-old Oliver, said she felt "silly" to ask someone to give up their seat, adding that she "shouldn't have to ask." She said other passengers made eye contact, some even smiling at her, so they definitely saw her standing with her baby.
The mom admitted though, that one woman did offer her a seat after looking up from her book. But before Hitchens could sit, another woman sat in it.
When the first woman (who was reading the book) said, "Oh, excuse me, I actually gave up my seat so this lady with a baby could sit down," the other woman "shrugged, plugged her earphones in and closed her eyes!"
The frustration Hitchens felt is one several pregnant women have spoken out about. Last year, a mom gave a man a small trophy saying "#1 Decent Dude" for being the first to offer his subway seat to her. (It took almost two full pregnancies for it to happen.) Also last year, New York City made it a lot easier for pregnant women to take public transportation in the city by introducing "Baby on Board" buttons to let other riders know they need a seat.
For Hitchens, the biggest takeaway she hopes others get from her experience is to be kinder to anyone who seem to be struggling, including parents dealing with young children. If someone looks like they could use a break, ask if they would like to sit down.
"I cannot get my head around not offering a parent with a child a seat," she wrote. "If you're able-bodied and fit and healthy, please offer your seat to them!"