If you live in or have been to New York, you’ll probably have heard the announcements and seen the signs about giving up your seats to elderly people or pregnant women.  As a pregnant woman in New York, riding the subway became a whole new experience.

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I heard that if you live in London, they have a little pin for you to wear that says “baby on board.”  What a lovely, polite way for people to acknowledge that they’re pregnant and for others to give up their seat.  No such luck in New York.  Fortunately being pregnant with twins is its own physical badge that most people seem to recognize! BabyOnBoard

I started having people offer their seat at 17 weeks.  Of course the issue was that I honestly needed the seat more during the first trimester.  I also became really conscious of others who looked like they needed a seat, as I think other people who have children have done as well. Overall, honestly people were very polite to me.

Interestingly, I noticed a pattern though in who would be more likely to give up their seats- and it was most often women in the 30-40 year age range.  I suspect that they had been pregnant themselves not too long ago, and so were particularly sympathetic.  They were also the most likely to loudly ask if I needed a seat if standing near me, hoping to shame some seated person into giving up their seat.  That would often follow with a story of how they were previously 35+ weeks pregnant and so tired, and no one would give them a seat.  I would smile and explain that I was no where close to 35 weeks, that I was just huge because I was having twins. I met a number of really nice people on the train in that way.  Its funny how in the city where you typically ride the subway with your eyes down and never talk to another person, suddenly becomes so friendly when you’re hugely pregnant. Those people who didn’t want to give up their seats were masterful at never looking up. Apparently if you are “asleep” or “reading” or “listening to music with your eyes closed” you can do whatever you want on the train, and disregard all others.  I quickly began making sure I didn’t board near others who might need a seat (just to increase my odds), and I began profiling where I should stand.  I looked for those women in their 30’s and would take off my coat (it was always hot to me on the train), and rest my hand on my belly…

Another thing I quickly figured out was the coolest locations on the train.  In the heat of the summer, I was sweltering.  So- here’s the key.  Don’t enter on the far doors of the train – those soffits are solid and dropped slightly so they don’t have AC vents.  Instead, enter at the doors closer to the center of the train.  If for some reason you are stuck on one end or the other, go directly below the doors leading between cars.  However, standing at the center of a run of seats is the most likely way to getting a seat, as you are in the field of view of the most riders. If you hang near the door, it’s easy for people to not see you.  (Then proceed with hand on belly routine described above).

I rode the subway up until the end.  In fact, Zach and I took the subway to our final doctor appointment, the morning that the twins were born.  By that time I was moving rather slowly up and down the stairs, but I took the train nonetheless.