Imagine this: You're seven months pregnant - with an extra 10kg hanging out around your waist. You can't feel half of your left leg because of a pinched nerve but you can feel your pulled groin muscle.
Despite being in the third trimester you still have morning sickness (although not as bad as the hyperemesis you suffered during the first part of the pregnancy). You've got low blood pressure that makes you feel light-headed.
You're slightly sleep deprived from your unborn baby kicking you in the ribs all night and you're desperate to sit down from all of this for a moment's reprieve.
But each day, as you waddle on to the bus with your handbag and visible extra body weight in tow, you are surprised that nobody stands to give you a seat. Not even those sitting in the "priority" seating section. Say what?!
This is a daily occurrence for my pregnant self. Every day I stand alongside a few other public transport-users, holding on to the railing as the bus eagerly takes off, making a beeline for the motorway. Travelling at around 80km/h, my already unstable body battles the driver's heavy foot on the accelerator and brake as the bus navigates from Takapuna, over the Harbour Bridge and into the city.
This morning, as I sat at the bus stop, I decided to pull out my phone and film the experience - not necessarily to name and shame people who wouldn't stand, but to bring to light how common the issue is.
Like every other day, I hobble on to the bus and eagerly look for a seat. Alas, none are free. As the bus zooms off, I take a small stumble before managing to save myself from an embarrassing fall by grabbing the railing.
I look around at the other occupants as they comfortably sit in their seats and slowly make my way to the priority seating area when I feel it's safe to move. All five of the priority seats are taken by people who appear to able-bodied - i.e. not pregnant, disabled or elderly.
One woman notices my presence but decides to look the other way while pretending I don't have a baby bump right under her nose. The woman sitting next to her looks up at me from her phone before turning back to it again. Three others don't even take their eyes off their phones to register I am there. Fair enough, Facebook updates are important. I get it.
To me, the attitude of people on public transport is unacceptable. People sitting there with their noses in their phones, ignorant to their surroundings. What is it going to take for people to actually have some manners to stand? Even when I ask to sit down I am made to feel like I am being rude.
A lot of women probably don't have to imagine this scenario. They endure this daily struggle alongside me. And it seems to be something commonly reported in the news.
What frustrates me most isn't that it's painfully uncomfortable for me to stand. It's the fact that it puts my unborn baby at a greater risk if the bus crashes. Do people not understand this concept or are they just pretending to be naive?
If you're not pregnant, disabled or elderly don't sit in the seat - unless you're willing to move when someone who needs it gets on board. But from my experience that's not usually the case.
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