I'm pregnant, but I'm not super pregnant. I can't fit into my jeans anymore, but I'm not obstetrician-on-speed-dial kind of pregnant. I'm in that weird zone where strangers don't know whether I'm expecting or am just a curious shape.
So when I got on the bus late, and it was full, I didn't want to make a fuss. For all anyone knew I just had a big lunch, so I didn't want to be that stereotypical entitled pregnant woman demanding a seat.
I settled in to stand for the 90-minute trip, feeling fine, but then the bus lurched forward and I realised I no longer had any core strength. Like, at all. I don't know where my abs have migrated to, but they're certainly not keeping my spine upright anymore.
After about 30 minutes of being rag dolled around, I genuinely thought I might be doing some damage. I needed someone's seat. I scanned around the bus and no-one met my eye. All of these smug, un-pregnant people sat there on their phones, intentionally ignoring those lesser bus goers standing in the aisle.
Then, unexpectedly, a young woman looked up. She stared quizzically at my bump and then a flash of recognition crossed her face.
"Excuse me, have my seat," she said.
Suddenly, I was bashful. Embarrassed. I said I was okay.
"But you are pregnant, yes?" she asked.
"Well yes, but just a bit. Really, I'm fine," I heard myself saying. I really didn't want to cause a fuss but a huge fuss was about to come my way.
A man sitting beside the woman weighed in to say he insisted I take her seat, or his. Another man stood, saying: "Which seat would you like?" Suddenly there were three people standing, looking expectantly at me. Telling me to take one, or all!
I took the nearest seat, said a big thank you, and waited for everyone who'd seen the interaction to get off the damn bus so I could exhale.
That was about two months ago. I'm now proper pregnant. Strangers spot it. They open doors, hold lifts and give you a smile as you walk past. There's a sense of community -- that they're looking after you because you're harboring the next generation. It's a swelling, heart filling sense of kindness.
Unless you're on a bus. Then you and your unborn child can still go and get stuffed before anyone offers you a seat.
Despite my undeniable basketball out front, I hopped on a loaded bus last Friday and no one gave me their seat. After the embarrassment last time, I plucked up the courage to ask those in priority seating "can anyone spare their seat?".
The 20 and 30-somethings sitting up front seemed much happier to watch me sway and struggle as the bus lurched on. Actually, they didn't watch... they did everything possible to avoid my glare. Yes, it's a glare.
I hate you all -- people who watch a visibly pregnant woman stand while you sit. I hate you.
So now, I'm headed for the bus again today and I've reached breaking point. I'm not going to timidly smile at people in priority seating. I'm not going to calmly ask for a seat. I'm going to go full nutbag pregnant woman. I will yell. I will haul the bus driver into this. I'll feign freaking contractions if it helps. I will be that stereotypical entitled pregnant woman demanding a seat -- and you all had it coming.Suggest a correction