Molly Lynch: Pregnant pause on giving up seat

Nick Clegg and pregnant MP Jo Swinson. Picture Danny Lawson/PA Wire.
Nick Clegg and pregnant MP Jo Swinson. Picture Danny Lawson/PA Wire.
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Ever stood clinging to a lukewarm coffee cup on a freezing cold railway platform, delayed and dreaming of resting your backside in a warm seat on the last leg of the journey, only to be crammed into a carriage like a sardine and forced to stand when the train finally arrives?

You’re then sandwiched between the loudmouth who chooses now to call his pal and discuss ‘LITERALLY THE MOST EPIC NIGHT EVER’ and the toilet, so foul-smelling it would repulse a Victorian slum-dweller.

I’ve certainly been there. But now I believe I have found the solution - to stuff a cushion up my jumper.

Giving the impression I am with child means that the moment I step on board, all passengers will stand to attention and offer me their seat.

Or at least that’s what should happen, if you buy into the backlash which ensued when Equalities Minister and mum-to-be Jo Swinson had to stand for a few minutes in the House of Commons.

It is ‘common decency’ to give up your seat for a pregnant woman, according to the Cath Kidston clan. Nick Clegg and Vince Cable agree.

I don’t. The way I see it, pregnancy is self-inflicted, so it’s high time the bump-bullies stopped expecting to be treated like a divine being.

You want to park in parent and child bays and enthuse on Mumsnet about the vibrant colours on display in little Horatio’s nappies? Then you must suffer swollen ankles, and uncomfortable moments, too.

Don’t blast men for lack of chivalry, or women for lack of solidarity for not falling over themselves to accommodate you and bump. Unless its little brain is carrying a cure for cancer, your offspring is not the gift to the world you believe it is.

Not the Messiah, probably just a very naughty boy.

Let’s not forget that by offering a seat in everyday life you risk insulting a woman who is not actually pregnant. Oft I have sat and examined the bulge of a woman opposite me, attempting to decide whether it is a result of one Gregg’s too many or a visit to Greg after one too many.

If an expectant mother asks to take my seat I’ll stand, just as I would for anyone so uncomfortable on their feet they need to sit down.

The very essence of ‘common’ decency, surely, is that it is equally shared. It isn’t one rule for one and another for the mother.