As soon as I told people I was pregnant, it was a matter of minutes before they cried, “you need one of those badges!’.
But so far, this is the most pointless accessory I’ve ever had the displeasure of wearing. I find myself more embarrassed than anything. One seated commuter actually looked me in the eye, looked at my badge and then looked away. (And not before they gave me their seat.) I have never felt more awkward in my life.
I’ve seen many an article on the matter. Some saying how disgusting it is that pregnant women even need to wear a badge. That those more able should simply have the common courtesy to give up their seat to an exhausted woman carrying a second human around all day.
Others suggest that true Londoners wouldn’t wear them but would take pride in the usual fight for a seat. Because ‘any real Londoner knows, it’s every man for himself during rush hour’.
Well I’m a Londoner. Born & bread (with a 10 year hiatus age 4-14). And I wore the badge because I’m so petite many friends & colleagues didn’t realise I was pregnant – and even now at 22 weeks. (They just think I’ve eaten one too many Krispey Kremes.) But some days, when you’re so tired you’re swaying and a headache’s coming on and your growing bump feels like the weight of the world; when you’re carrying your laptop and charger, a bottle of water, your wallet, a notepad, other bits & bobs… You really do just want a seat. Even for 5 minutes to take the weight off.
And if I’m honest? Even as a Londoner, born & bread, I think those ‘less able’ should be given priority. Whether you’re pregnant, elderly, disabled, whatever. Because having been previously fully ‘abled’, I can guarantee, no matter how tired you are after a day at work, they are more so. So do them a favour. Give them your seat. Because one day, you might find you need one. Karma bites people.