If we want to sit down, surely we can simply ask?


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The Independent Online

Should MPs have stood up for Jo Swinson? Nobody likes to be patronised, and the age of chivalry – which promotes the myth of feminine weakness – is thankfully dead. But pregnancy is no piece of cake, with the morning sickness, numb arms, swollen feet and overwhelming tiredness.

Ms Swinson’s camp has branded the outrage elicited on her capable behalf “sexist”. I can sympathise. It is not easy for pregnant women, still strong and healthy (albeit tired), to accept that we are suddenly eligible for “priority seats”, along with the elderly and disabled. We are not sick, or weak, merely producing another human.

Like Ms Swinson, I find the idea that I am “severely incapacitated” by my bump ludicrous. But I have been grateful for the hundreds of seats that have been given up to me in the past nine months – especially those proffered during rush hour.

The solution to the stand up/sit down debate? Women should simply ask for a seat if they need one and nobody has offered. None of us should feel obligated to shift our backsides at the sight of a “Baby on Board” badge, but basic human compassion surely demands the recognition that a pregnant person is probably feeling rougher than you today.