Singapore, are you kind to pregnant women?

My tummy started to show even before I hit 12 weeks of pregnancy.

Now at around 22 weeks, one can say that I’m erm, protruding nicely.

Getting seats on the bus, which is my usual choice of commute to work, has not been a problem as it’s usually not crowded. MRT trains, on the other hand, with the higher likelihood of crowding and resulting invisibility, people snoozing or playing on their phones, have proven to be a challenge.

For all three of my pregnancies so far, the kindest people have been those of a kindred spirit – women. I like to think that it’s because women understand the weight that a pregnant woman carries, because we’ve either been through it ourselves or we’ve heard close friends and family share about it.

The general sense of awareness is there; even semi-elderly ladies have lent a hand or given up a seat or two. These, I feel most embarrassed to accept, but my frail efforts to decline their goodwill generally go ignored.

Men, on the other hand, are prone to shove their bags or shoulder into you when they are rushing into or out of the train. Those who are  seated also tend to look down and not make eye contact, so I can’t even tell if they know a pregnant woman is in the cabin or not.

But sometimes, just sometimes, I’m tempted to stick my belly under their noses and see if they squirm.

And sometimes, just sometimes, they will get it and get up.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not trying to demonise the entire other half of the population. And I do suspect that these guys who tend not to give up their seats either don’t have a clue that pregnant ladies need them, or they don’t even know you’re pregnant. (Or perhaps they’re afraid of getting slapped from wrongly offering their seats to ladies well-endowed in the belly.)

In other words, they could either be oblivious to the needs around them, afraid of making a boo-boo, or purely unsympathetic. (Am I making a fair statement here? I would really love the hear the other side of the story.)

Or…as how my friend put it, “Women empathise.”

By the way, in case you need some tips on how a pregnant woman looks like or carries herself, here are the telltale signs:

  • she usually walks with a duck waddle
  • she usually has one hand holding her belly
  • she usually isn’t wearing high heels (ballet flats or Crocs are likely choices of footwear)
  • she usually is eyeing your seat

Jokes aside, the point of this post is really for us to take a good look at ourselves…Are we looking out for people in need? Are we willing to peel our phones off our faces and look around every so often?

Since being on the receiving end of kindness for my three rounds of pregnancy, I find myself more aware of such acts of grace, and am keen to pay it forward. Maybe that’s one of the driving factors behind the acts of kindness we see around us too.

But what do you think? How have your own experiences been thus far?

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  1. says

    The hubs once offered me a princely sum if I shamed the teenage boy who saw 8 months pregnant me but refused to give up his reserved seat. I promptly and very loudly asked for the seat. The boy looked most guilty as he got up as the other commuters glared. Haha!
    Lyn lee recently posted..Turning two-and-a-halfMy Profile

    • mamawearpapashirt says

      Haha, I seldom ask for seats verbally, although I do when I really feel I need to sit down. Your hubs is quite funny and you’re so game too!

  2. says

    Agreed that you’ll see much more goodwill on buses than trains! I prefer the bus myself.

    To be honest, I’ve been prone to daydreaming myself when I’m not with the kids. I’m also a bit slow to sense when someone’s in need. And sometimes it’s not easy to tell if someone’s pregnant! My hubby’s friend has been told off for offering a seat to a woman with a non-preggy tummy. My cousin has been embarrassed by being offered a seat when she’s nowhere near pregnant.

    Back when I was heavily pregnant, I was on the bus with a well-meaning friend, and she did the “people don’t know how to give up seats these days” loud lecture. I love my friend to bits but I don’t like to do it that way. I’m sure many people, if they aren’t feigning sleep, would give up a seat if asked nicely, and I don’t resent having to ask.

    • mamawearpapashirt says

      Hi Evelyn, I agree, many would give up their seats when asked, and it’s a more straightforward approach. For myself though, I tend to hesitate and sometimes prefer using using just body language to “ask” for a seat.

  3. says

    Hi, yeah, it’s frustrating that people do not give up seats to pregnant ladies. I remember while I was having bad morning sickness, I had to ask for a seat so that I do not throw up. Usually, when you ask for one, most people will give up seats to you readily. When my tummy showed, many people looked and wondered if I am pregnant, when my tummy is very obvious during 7 mths onwards, they pretended to sleep! I have more men and old ladies who give up seats to me than younger ones. Right now, whenever I carry my baby in the Baby Bjorn carrier, tugging 2 younger kids, and no one give up seats, I ask for the seats, I think it’s easier than expecting people to give up for you. I get the seats, thank them and have no complaints! 🙂
    Simple Mum recently posted..Our family new addition – the pet hamsterMy Profile

  4. says

    Both times I was pregnant, I acutally didn’t have a lot of trouble getting a seat. Very grateful for that! The most helpful were the army boys. They got up even though they were falling asleep in the seat. Tho now that my bro is in the army, I realise they are actually told that they have to do it, especially if they are in uniform. Hah! But I think it’s good training from the army. Let’s hope they don’t conveniently forget when they return to being civilians.
    Mummybean recently posted..A Birthday at SEAMy Profile

  5. says

    agreed with you that usually the ones giving up the seats are women.
    I have one asked me to go to the other side, as she gave up hers, the next moment, a guy sat in it. She was so pissed!
    Most of the men simply bo chup, maybe they should be pregnant to understand us, mothers, better.
    Ally recently posted..Army Museum of SingaporeMy Profile

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