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Pregnant Will Travel, But Can I Have That Seat?

I am 32 weeks or eight months pregnant. And I still travel everyday, mostly to work or the doctor. I’ve got a biiiig ol’ belly. Yet still I manage to hoof it down the street and huff down the steps of the New York City subway or onto the bus. Though I must admit I’m not quite as agile as I used to be standing on a moving vehicle. When you’re pregnant, and the larger you grow, the more off-balance you seem to get. At least that’s how it is to me. (To imagine what this feeling might be like picture yourself with a 20 pound beachball tucked into your shirt. You’re probably starting to get the picture…) And yet, I stand almost everyday wherever I go. And it’s not because I am dying for the adventure — it’s because people are really clueless! And it’s not just in New York.

In Pennsylvania and Connecticut, Canada and Virginia. City or country. We are self-absorbed and pre-occupied. We’re all busy. But are we seriously too busy to look up and take in our surroundings and the needs of those around us? Or do we just want to avoid the inevtiable compulsion to do what our mother’s might call the right thing so to avoid the shame of having to do it or being asked we don’t look up at all.

Lately I’ve been surveying the crowds I’m in to come up to some understanding about this phenominon. It’s not that I think everyone is rude, though certainly for some this is the case. (And to you rudies I say, just wait for karma to catch up to you!) But for many others I think it’s a sad statement of how disconnected we’ve become from our surroundings. Our busy lives jammed with the never ending to-do list, the i-pod, iPhone, blackberry, cell phone, the newspaper, a txt message all coming at us at once as we zip from place to place leaves us without a moment for reflection about what is happening in the present where we actually are. Even for me, it’s hard to sit still and not use my time on the bus to “get things done”. But then I miss looking out the window and watching the leaves change or the snow fall. I can miss the mood of the place I’m in entirely. Or, while I am being productive, I miss the chance to be a good citizen and not notice that someone else needs this very seat more than me.

While I’m proud, not to mention lucky, to be pregnant and mobile I am more aware of my surroundings than ever. suspect it’s the maternal instinct already kicking in. I find that I get nervous in crowds and try to know where I am in relation to exit routes at all times. As a result of this looking I’ve seen teenagers flirt, kids play, and lovers kiss. I’ve helped more people who are in need of directions than I can remember in a long time. And I’m being reminded about how interconnected we all are.

There’s a chain reaction to helping someone else and it’s a good thing. So for all the pregnant women out there right now, for all the elderly, and even the haggard — lets take the time to distract ourselves and look up a little more. It will be good for you, great for your community and terrific for the person you’ve helped.

It’s really nice feeling to offer instead of being asked. Try it and see.

amy_ziff

My name: Amy is my name, but I'll answer to Ame, Ames or Aimee.

How I earn my keep: My beat is travel, but my passion is collecting stories from people I meet on the road.

Hotel I could move into: Must I pick only one?! The Palacio Duhau a Park Hyatt in Buenos Aires tops my list. For the stunning restoration of the palace and tasteful new tower that create a thoughtful intersection of old and new. Every public and private space captivates. I'd move for the grand Alvear entry as much as for the manicured garden. For the wine and cheese tastings, the dulce de leche, the art gallery, the flower shop and for all the careful attention to detail that went into creating a hotel that is transcendent. If I were to pick a hotel that most felt like me, it would be The Inn at the Manor in the Cotswolds. Oh, I could definitely live there curled up with a book in a leather chair in the bar or outside among the English wildflowers. If I wanted to live in a land far away, the Ngoro Ngoro Crater Lodge would make a unique home with a view of the crater floor from every room (including the loo!), sumptuous beds, endless roses and the most unusual neighbors - massive water buffalo who won't bother you if you stay close to your Maori guide.

If I won the lottery, I'd live in: A historic farmhouse with an enormous barn and hundreds of acres tucked into a small town in New England or a Malibu beach house with stunning views and the surf just steps away. On second thought, winning the lottery means I could jet from coast to coast and enjoy them both.

Favorite way to get around: By foot. Whether in the city or country, I find the best way to get to know someplace is ambling around to discover and sample the distinct sights, sounds, smells, and tastes a place has to offer.

View that took my breath away: Looking toward the sky in Arusha and watching black and white Colobus monkeys scramble among the treetops, jumping from one tree to the next, floating through the sky like a primate version of Superman. Monkeys know how to have a good time!

My most beloved place in the whole world is: The place I visited last. What can I say? I'm fickle.

Follow me on twitter @amyziff

Comments

Charlie
Reply

Amy, you give people too much credit! No one is so aloof that they can’t see a pregnant woman standing on a subway car. If they are, then they are too self-possessed and need to get a grip.
Say what you want about equal rights, but people–men and woman alike–need to get a grip and be more aware and more polite in their day-to-day lives. Nowhere is this more evident than NYC where everyone thinks he or she is busier than everyone else. Especially when traveling, folks need to make an effort to make life easier for the person next to them. Like you mention Amy: karma is going to catch up. Quickly, too, I hope.

Anne & May
Reply

I’m so excited for you! All the big changes coming up!

And yeah, it makes me ill when people don’t offer their seats to pregnant ladies. They should be sentenced to carrying a bowling ball in their shirts for a few weeks.

Genevieve
Reply

I appreciate the sentiment of your post –to slow down and take in your surroundings. You’re right, we’re often so rushed that we miss the little things that make life so wonderful!

HOWEVER. I get very upset on the subway when I see pregnant women standing while people — men in particular — sit there taking up at least one seat and often more than one. I ALWAYS give my seat to a pregnant lady, an elderly person, a person with a stroller, a person carrying a heavy package, or anyone else that looks like they could take a load off. If I happen to be standing as well (while a pregnant lady is standing nearby) I give the seated folks dirty looks and make comments about how rude they are until someone gets the message and stands up :)
I would also like to remind people that you should help mothers carrying strollers up and down the stairs to the subway. Not only is it difficult but it is also a bit unsafe — imagine if she accidentally dropped the stroller wih the baby inside?!
Amy — I hope people read this and give you their seats for the next few weeks and then help you with your stroller when the time comes!

Nothing But Bonfires
Reply

I wonder if it depends a little on the city. I’ve found that people in San Francisco (on the buses especially) are really awful about giving up their seats to pregnant women or the elderly. Conversely, when I was in London last year with a really heavy suitcase and trying to go up and down various staircases (on numerous occasions!) to get to the Tube, I couldn’t even take ONE step without someone offering to help me with my bag — often carrying it all the way up or down for me, while I trotted along beside them gratefully. (And it wasn’t just men, but women too — although when it was women, it kind of took both of us to carry it!) Not sure what that says about anything, since London is as big and busy as NYC and San Francisco, but still….

And many congrats, Amy — so incredibly exciting!

Vacation Rentals
Reply

Genevieve,

i wish we all had the same gesture for elderly people, children and pregnant women.

A very strong women Amy seems to be unlike most of the women out there. Congrats Amy!

Song
Reply

Come on New Yorkers!

It’s just a seat and it’s ok to give it to someone who really needs to sit for physical reasons.

I hope we’re better that and not let a pregnant woman, elderly or handicap person stand and struggle!

P.S.
I’m a proud seat-giver!

john-travel
Reply

Its nice to know such sensible info from your posts on the topic. Thank you!

Jennifer
Reply

I teach my son (6) to be on the lookout for elderly or other folks who need a seat, or just to be allowed to go ahead without being jostled. It’s hard, because that’s not necessarily the norm here, so I have to make sure he doesn’t feel “picked on”.
I do remember very clearly fighting with myself over this once on a fairly long busride as I woman in her early 60s stood nearby. I eventually listened to my conscience and got up. I was stunned and tongue-tied when she turned to the teen-agers behind her and said “doesn’t one of you want to sit down? There’s a seat free.” Sure enough, one of them took it. Somehow it made my feet ache 10x more.

Jennifer
Reply

It would seem like common courtesy to get up and give your seat to a pregnant woman, but it is obvious that alot of us are not trained that way. Hopefully that will change. Online Certificate Programs

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