They canít get seats on public transport easily:
She stood. No one gave a seat for her. I looked
around, still no one came forward. I couldnít give her my seat because I
sat at the corner of the compartment. She was in the other corner. She
couldnít reach me as passengers crowded in. The train was late (which
seems the norm usually in Sri Lanka). It was also the Poson Poya day.
She was a pregnant woman in her latter stage having trouble getting a
seat on public transport
Pregnant women find it hard to get a seat in public
Most of the events related by pregnant women are similar. There are
several reasons for this, I think. The public transport system is
chaotic to say the least. Add to this the selfishness of most passengers
towards fellow passengers and what do you get: Anarchism Plus.
I often see young people, as if plastered to their seats and refusing
to look up in case they should catch the eye of a needier passenger.
Are these people unsocial? In the train I take regularly, I notice
some young women too (not pregnant ones) who seem to be happy to jostle
and elbow their way, quite ruthlessly, to get a vacant seat.
Thereís another difficulty. It is sometimes not easy to tell if a
woman is expecting a baby or is plump in the middle. With an
apple-shaped woman, for example, how can you tell for sure whether she
is pregnant? Very few expectant mothers, actually, are tall and skinny
but with a massive bump.
The best thing obviously is to assume that she is pregnant. And,
besides, even if she is not pregnant, she would probably like to sit
down, so no harm is done if she is offered a seat. There are ways of
offering a person your seat without causing any embarrassment even if
youíve made a mistake in identifying her as pregnant.
You donít have to shout at the top of your voice, ďAre you pregnant,
or fat?Ē Some pregnant women experience discomfort in their feet, which
may grow in size, and most mothers suffer from extreme morning sickness.
Itís only after a few minutes that an expecting mother could have a
seat from a middle aged man. Most of the time it looks men are the ones
offering their seats to pregnant women.
I looked around again. There were many elderly people standing and
one man was carrying his daughter standing. No one gave them seats. And
almost all the young people sat simply and chattered while some were
eating. The train was over-crowded and there were much luggage and
baggage too. I assumed since it was Poson Poya day the majority of
passengers were travelling to Anuradhapura. I felt sorry for the
unfortunate people. Visiting Anuradhapura on Poya day is good but if
they could give a seat to a needy people it could have been better on
this great day.
Looking from one perspective I found not all pregnant women can get
seats. Men appear to offer seats for pregnant women. There may be a
reason for that too. It is the men who are the sitting majority in a
compartment since they are able to jump in on even a moving train to
grab a seat. I noticed out of 10 seated passengers 6 were men. So if a
pregnant woman gets into the train the chances are that itíll be a man
whoís offering her a seat.
Itís also common to see when a pregnant woman gets in passengers
looking away or seemingly dozing. There may be a sociological aspect to
all this. Healthy looking passengers may be suffering from an invisible
ailment and are unable to stand. Still despite their illness there are
folk who still offer their place. It made me wonder that all this boils
down to oneís upbringing and compassion towards another.
Personally what Iíd wish is if one is able to offer a helping hand or
seat at your young age. It is a meritorious service. If you are pregnant
you must TRY to avoid facing these unnecessary problems. This is only a
small example. If you want to travel to mMatara by bus from Colombo the
best thing is, to embus from the starting point if you can help it.
The other suggestion is if you are pregnant please wear a maternity
dress. Itís just like your uniform and it is only for this period of
pregnancy. There is a very good selection for them in shops and most of
them are inexpensive. When you wear this dress, passengers can easily
recognise you and they can offer their seat without any doubt. And you
should remember to give your seat again to the passenger who offered you
a seat when you get down.. Most mothers donít do it.
When you have a seat if you say Ďthank youí or give a smile in
acknowledgement, they will be happy without you sitting snootily.
Remember words are more powerful. Your kindness will encourage a
passenger to give a seat to other pregnant women in the future. Your
kindness will be the best gift!