Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Being a pregnant lady working & travelling in Mumbai

You can get a dozen of books and thousands of articles on pregnancy, with all the symptoms and to dos and not to dos mentioned. But there are some things not talked about, like for instance, how it is for a lady in India to be working & travelling by public transport.

I am 23 weeks now and almost ending my second trimester. And before this, whenever I used to see a pregnant lady, I have always made it a point to give her my seat. So I obviously expected the same for myself, but how wrong was I!

First of all, women are getting obese day by day in our country (No offense to you people, just stating a fact). So there are soo many females who look bulkier and have a bigger protruding tummy than me and who are not pregnant, but who can tell? It would be so awkward to offer a seat to someone who looks pregnant but is not, so I totally understand when people do not offer me a seat because I am of average built and could pass off for someone who has a beer belly or something like that.

Only if you're very obviously looking pregnant, probably in your last month or something can you expect people offering seats, but I don't plan to travel anymore by then, and seriously don't know why other ladies take that kind of risk?!

God blessed me with a colleague cum friend, who travels with me and who got to know about my situation and whenever we're in the same train she gives me her seat and stands herself. Other passengers obviously observe this and get to know, but when I am alone in the same train, I am not offered a seat (even though they know). The max is they will suggest me that this lady is going to get off at this station so you better claim it (Another weird unstated rule if you're travelling by the Mumbai locals).

I wouldn't mind as long as I got to stand comfortably, in peace. But when that happened a couple of times I would get dizzy and my doc told me if you stand for too long or are hungry for too long your Blood Pressure can go low resulting to dizziness. So sitting is a must.

What I do at times when I don't get a seat is start rubbing or protectively placing a hand on my tummy, giving subtle hints to others. It works sometimes! But I have also sometimes stated that I am pregnant only to hear in shock from other ladies that you should have taken another train or you should not travel. So, don't expect a lot of compassion, you'll get that only 1/10 times.

Travelling by buses, well as per a rule you're allowed to climb from the front if you're handicap, of old age or pregnant. So I tried that once, only to be humiliated by the conductor & driver yelling at me telling me to climb from the back door like others. I had to yell back & say "Hey! I'm pregnant!" to shut them up. Now if I have to make a public announcement everytime, thats so not happening. I might as well wear a tshirt that says so.

The doc suggests to avoid autorikshaws because of the bumpy ride. I do that whenever possible but sometimes you cannot help it. In such a case I tell the guy to be careful on potholes & speed breakers, which can be found in abundance everywhere.

I'm sure cabs and your own car are the safest bet. But not all of us have the privilege to use them on a daily basis.

And before I forget, whenever someone helps you, offers a seat etc do not forget to thank her/him profusely and encourage & reinforce the behaviour!

Do share your personal experience & anecdotes with me! Even if its you simply offering a seat to another expecting woman! :)

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