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Yes, You Should Still Give Up Your Seat for Pregnant Women

Photograph by Facebook

So this is what makes news these days: A woman on a train was forced to stand for an entire 30 minutes after a male passenger stole her seat, openly laughed at her when she asked for it back, and rode the entire time looking almost directly at her 34-week belly.

"I couldn't believe it. I am the size of a small house at the moment so he couldn't have failed to see I was pregnant, he just didn't care at all," the pregnant 29-year-old Mhairi-Claire Doolan told The Mirror. "I've had people sat in my seat before like that and usually left it, but on this occasion I really needed the seat as my back ached so much."

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Look, do I believe this story is perhaps just a tad dramatized? Probably. There's no real medical reason why a healthy 29-year-old woman who is only 34 weeks pregnant (a big difference in those last few weeks, all of us mothers know) should be unable to stand for a whopping 30 minutes. And there's technically no reason why this should even be news at all: "Gestating Woman Forced to Stand On Her Own Two Feet for Less Time Than an Episode of 'Mickey Mouse Clubhouse'!"

But the point is, I don't care how physically fit that pregnant woman is, I don't care how perfectly capable she was of standing for half an hour or about the fact that her back was aching.

When it comes right down to it, giving up your seat for a pregnant woman is more than about the simple physical act of standing or sitting.

Pregnancy is definitely not a disability, but I still believe that you sure as heck better give up your seat to every pregnant woman. It's called respect and common freaking manners, people.

Now that we're talking about this, I'm all fired up because this is one of my biggest pet peeves. When did people start being so rude? How can anyone just sit there and ignore a giant belly next to you in good conscience? I just don't get it.

This story reminds me of the time I was pregnant and on my honeymoon with my husband. (Yes, I was pregnant when we got married. Very good, Sherlock!) As we were walking to board the bus from our resort that would take us in to town, a young man sprinted by us, hit me in the arm and knocked me off balance to get to the bus first. He ended taking the last seat on the bus and I was forced to spend the whole bus ride standing directly in front of him. My belly was shoved in his face the entire ride because it was simply that packed on the bus. It bugged me not because I was incapable of standing but because I think it's just plain rude behavior.

One of the first things that attracted me about my husband is that he always, always gives up his seat in public to pregnant women, the elderly and parents with small babies. In church, at the airport, on buses—he doesn't even hesitate, and 9 out of 10 times, the person he offers his seat up to is incredibly grateful because, sadly, people just don't do this anymore.

I'm all about women's rights and not treating pregnancy as a disability, but I also still believe in showing respect and recognizing that sometimes pregnancy is freaking hard physical work. Even I give up my seat for pregnant women, the elderly and anyone with small children and you better believe I am teaching my kids to do the same. We all need a little help sometimes, and I believe this says a lot about the type of person you are if you are willing to take such a small gesture out of your day to think of the comfort of another person for a few minutes of your life.

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When it comes right down to it, giving up your seat for a pregnant woman is more than about the simple physical act of standing or sitting. It's about a virtual and actual nod of respect to motherhood.

And I will always support that.

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