Watching the news last night, the pregnant Duchess of Cambridge was visiting Baker Street underground station to help celebrate the 150th anniversary of the tube. A TFL official gave her a Baby on Board badge, resulting in much hilarity all round, as well as confusion from Prince Philip.
If you’re not already familiar with them, the Baby on Board badges are given out to pregnant women to wear on London’s public transport, to let people know you’d like a seat. The badges were the inspiration for the name of this blog – for the obvious connection – but despite my daily commute to and from Soho until I was eight months pregnant, I never actually got one for myself.
This was for a couple of reasons really; my route to work meant I almost always got a seat, and when I finally started to look pregnant, people would mostly offer. And used to the faceless anonymity of the tube, I thought it would make me feel ever-so-slightly self-aware.
However, there were many occasions where I had to stand for ages, as people either didn’t notice my bump, or pretended they hadn’t. Should I have been less stubborn and just worn one?
Here’s what some mums had to say on the matter:
Tamara, Gingernut Fox – I did wear one, after about 5 months people generally ignored it though – I was standing at 36 weeks. My worst two stories: the man who pushed in front of me to get the last seat realised I was heavily pregnant and then pretended to be asleep all the way and the delightful two young ladies who shouted at me and told me they hated people who thought a badge entitled them to a seat and that they wanted to sit down…I see shocking behaviour everyday of women with badges displayed and being totally ignored
Emilie, @mrsramskillI had one and LOVED wearing it! Still have it now…I was quite sorry when I had to stop wearing it – people were kinder to me when I had it on…
Natasha, @foodqueenI put it on just before got on tube to help get a seat…although I wore it, on so many occasions people looked up at me, clocked the badge and looked down again at their paper!
Rachel, The Little Pip – No, but we only moved back & used the tube from 32 weeks onwards when was pretty clear. Wouldn’t have had one I don’t think though…
Alice, More than Toast and MamaUK– I had one but only wore it once or twice! It made me feel self conscious
Emma, Born in 2001 – We lived in London when I was pregnant and I wanted one but never did get one! I couldn’t quite bring myself to it!
Obviously Kate’s badge was all for the photocall as she never has to take the tube, but what do you think?
Did you wear one when you were pregnant, and would you wear one again?
P.S – I love this Daily Mash article – Kate STILL explaining the badge to The Queen and Prince Phillip.
March 21, 2013 at 5:19 pm
I’ve been wearing one since about mid-way through my second trimester (I’m 36 weeks now), mainly because my train route gets very crowded on the way home and I don’t always have the guts to ask for a seat (or the stomach for standing up for the whole journey). That said, it’s only been since my bump has been obvious (which has been a long time coming) that I’ve felt comfortable wearing it – at first I felt really self-conscious and funny about it, like I was shoving the fact that I was pregnant in other people’s faces. By and large, though, it can be quite helpful – though I find that a lot of women clock the badge and then pretend not to have seen it, which really annoys me as I always used to give my seat up for pregnant ladies, and men are generally a lot better at giving up their seats. That said, the badge has been particularly useful on really busy trains when people have clocked it from the other side of the carriage and shouted out that I could have their seat – which is always a nice way of making everyone else a little bit embarrassed for not giving up their own seats…
March 25, 2013 at 6:03 pm
I didn’t wear a badge as I was too self conscious. I did have a big bump from early on though and found people were mostly really kind and offered me a seat straight away. I mainly get the bus around London and have to say that bus users were a lot better than people on the tube at giving up seats. Although I’m still grateful to the man on a packed rush hour tube who got someone to give me their seat and made a path for me to reach it when I was about 8 months pregnant!
PS my bubs is an Eliza too – great name! xx
March 27, 2013 at 9:28 pm
What a lovely man – although everyone should be like that, really! I used to get the bus from Victoria to work and it was fine, generally because if the bus was full I’d wait about 2 minutes for an empty one. Good work on the naming! Such a good name, isn’t it? 😀 How old is your Eliza? x
April 1, 2013 at 6:09 pm
My Eliza is just six weeks – tiny really but she’s growing so quickly! We’re already packing away some of the newborn things which feels so sad! We obviously love the name but have also had such lovely reactions from everyone who hears it. Xx
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April 12, 2014 at 11:30 pm
[…] think I’d wear it – would you? Here’s what some London mums told me about their Baby on Board badge experiences last year. And here’s some tips on getting around public transport in London with a pram, […]
February 11, 2015 at 3:11 pm
I’m 23 weeks pregnant and have been ill from 10 weeks with what I call all day all night all week sickness. I always almost never get a seat on those packed tubes to and from work and at the times I really need a seat people aren’t too generous to give up theirs (although my stomach is huge). I goggled this because the chairs are clearly marked “pregnant, disabled or less able to stand” and saw the baby on board badge and thought “hmmm what a lovely idea” This was at 14 weeks I requested one and I’m still waiting for it….think i’m better off taking the bus
February 20, 2015 at 10:04 pm
Sorry to hear you’ve been so ill, must be awful – hope it gets better soon. It makes me so cross when people don’t give up seats, especially when they’re sat in the priority ones. I know it can be difficult to tell, but not when you have an obvious bump, right? Grrr x
March 29, 2016 at 1:43 pm
Funny, I’m still waiting for mine too – over two weeks now. Did yours ever arrive? I just reordered. Annoying, as we were hoping to incorporate it into our announcement.
March 29, 2016 at 9:33 pm
Oh no, what a pain! Mine did turn up pretty quickly. Hope your new one arrives soon x
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February 13, 2015 at 11:25 pm
[…] If you want to read more about the “baby on board” badge issue, including some experiences from pregnant women, see here: https://www.ababyonboard.com/a-very-royal-baby-on-board-badge/ […]
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