OPINION: I’m pregnant - here’s how you can make my day
PUBLISHED: 10:59 27 October 2020 | UPDATED: 08:10 28 October 2020
Pregnant columnist Ruth Davies explains how you can keep people like her happy
I’m 25 weeks pregnant but actually, to any onlookers, it would be very hard to tell. In the morning I’ve barely a bump at all, it’s only come the evening when I look vaguely pregnant at all – I wonder if my tummy muscles begin the day with a determination to cling on but by 6pm have given up the ghost entirely and simply can’t be bothered anymore?
It got me thinking though that when I’m out and about no wonder people don’t offer me a seat on the train or any assistance with lifting things because seriously, who wants to be that person? The one who offers their kindness to a stranger only to be met with “I’m not pregnant, I just ate all the pies?”
One time when I was heavily pregnant with Raffie a man offered his assistance with pushing my big kids on a roundabout swing – I decided to be a devil and say “What you trying to say mate?” only for him to look like he might burst into tears as he replied “I’m so sorry, this time I was sosure, I was sure this time” showing he’d clearly been burned in the past. I put him out of his misery, apologised and very gratefully allowed him to push the kiddos taking it in turns with his own.
I think before then I’d always been quick to judge. Standing on the Tube when we lived in London silently seething on my way to work in a packed compartment as no one had gallantly stood up and I would look around at everyone thinking “Well, you’re the absolute worst of society, clearly I need a seat more than you” and always had running around in my head something an ignorant man had once said to me about it being my choice to be pregnant but he’d paid the price of a ticket just like me so was no way going to give it up. Actually I think the reality is that most people aren’t like him, they are good and kind and caring and if only I had asked I expect the majority would have gladly given up their space for me and my potentially pregnant self to sit down. Actually, thinking about it, if I was offered a seat on the central line in rush hour even when not pregnant I think I’d gladly take the hit of being “fat” as those journeys are beasts!
So, how to tell if a woman really is pregnant or just been on an all inclusive holiday then? What should you do and when should you decide to take the leap and say “Hey love, can I help there?” without offending.
Look for a badge
Lots of pregnant women wear a “baby on board” pin because the time when you really need that seat or someone to give you a bit of a hand is usually the time when literally no one would have a clue. The first trimester is by far the hardest in terms of tiredness and sickness yet with no bump to show at all, the pregnancy badge is the best you can do. So use your eyes well and if you see someone wearing one they definitely need the seat more than you. And yes, they chose to get pregnant and you paid for a seat too but being gallant doesn’t cost anything, yet knowing you’ve been helpful pays dividends for the rest of the day. What goes around comes around!
Is she holding her tummy?
We women tend not to draw attention to our tummy area in normal circumstances, patting, stroking and holding a Monday morning weekend beer belly is not a thing – we tend to hide that bloat baby to the best of our ability. If a woman is holding her tummy gently she is more than likely sick (and in ned of a seat because…) or pregnant. Here’s where you can afford to step up, stand up and say “have my seat” with confidence!
Does she look pained with a hand on her back?
Another tell-tale sign of pregnancy is that we tend to get back ache from very early on. It’s rubbish and comes with the territory so if a pregnant lady is huffing and patting the lower part of her back then again, even if not with child, she probably needs you to offer to get that top shelf supermarket item down for her. Go on, be a gent/lady and offer her your kind hand in return for a smile!
It’s a minefield I know and we never want to offend anyone but speaking as a second trimester fourth time mum I can honestly say being helped is very definitely what we want! Go on, make a pregnant lady’s day by being kind and noticing her today. It’s only gonna make you feel good I promise!
Ruth Davies has a parenting blog, www.rocknrollerbaby.co.uk
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