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?