Pregnancy is better known for its symptoms than its benefits. But before I got knocked up, there were a few things I looked forward to, like feeling the baby kick and always getting a bus seat at rush hour.
While I did get kicked and punched (quite a lot, actually), it was shocking to learn how little metaphorical weight my big belly carried on public transit. There were times when, clearly pregnant, I stood rubbing my belly and clearing my throat only to receive guilty glances from healthy looking, comfortably seated non-pregnant folk. Often they just didn’t notice.
Protruding flesh hides well in a crowd, and most commuters are so immersed in their books and devices that it’s easy to overlook a fellow passenger in need. (That’s an explanation, not an excuse: if you’re in priority seating, and you’re not sick, elderly, or with child, it is your social obligation to look up). When I was offered a seat, invariably it was a woman getting up, and most often a mom. (I know because the donor usually commiserated with memories of swollen feet and fatigue).
Pregnancy and the early months of maternity are exhausting, and I’m thankful I have more energy now. I certainly need it, since my new transit challenge is hauling Babydude’s stroller up the subway stairs when elevators are broken or nonexistent, which is often. Just as it was when I was pregnant, if I receive a hand, nine times out of 10 the person offering is a woman. And that’s one of the biggest social lessons motherhood has taught me: chivalry isn’t dead, it’s just practiced almost exclusively by women.