I see you. I know you see me. There’s no way you can’t actually, as I lumber into the train, hoisting my huge pregnant belly with me. I am pushed by the crowd and dumped in front of you. You look at my bump first, then we make eye contact for a split second. I realise in that moment there’s no way you’re going to let a pregnant mum sit.
You look down, close your eyes, and drift back into your own world. Your headphones block all noise, and your selfish soul blocks all feeling. Slim, un-swollen feet tap to the beat of the music you listen to.
Please let that pregnant mum sit…
My ankles are swollen, yours are not. My spine cracks under the pressure of my ginourmous tummy. Yours is nice and straight against the back of the seat. I have feet kicking inside me; every jab at my bladder makes it want to burst.
You on the other hand probably have the remains of your lunch comfortably digesting in your stomach. Perhaps a decaf latte is in there too?
I’m not jealous of the high level of comfort that keeps you bound to your seat and oblivious of my discomfort. But I am resentful that you will not for one moment consider letting a pregnant mum sit.
You see, it’s not about chivalry – that is stuff of the Victorian era. It’s not even about politeness. But it’s about compassion and being civic-minded. Consciously, voluntarily helping another human being – that’s what it’s about.
When I encounter people like you, I feel anxious for my unborn child. Am I really bringing a child into this selfish, unfeeling world? What if my child is taught by someone like you? How about if my child has to work with you? What about the societal values he or she will learn from this association?
Today, you refuse to let a pregnant mum sit. Tomorrow it will be a mum juggling a newborn and a toddler, and eventually, it will be a frail senior who can barely stand.
But, today I stand, dead-tired, yet pregnant and proud. Tomorrow I will be that mum with a newborn.
And as I see you consciously ignoring me and my swollen belly, I am more determined than ever to raise my child to have the values you are not fortunate enough to possess. So when my child is your age someday, he or she will have no hesitation in giving that frail senior their seat.
If you are reading this today, please let that pregnant mum sit. In her belly lives your future and a symbol of hope.
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