Dear Businessman in the Fancy Suit,
You have your head down and headphones stuck in your ears, but I see you. I see you eyeing my belly as I lumber onto the train. You try to determine whether or not I'm disproportionately fat or pregnant. You stare a half-second too long, notifying me of your internal debate, before you eventually decide to stay seated.
You avoid my gaze for the remainder of our communal trip, your eyes planted on your nice dress shoes as they anxiously bounce up and down to the rhythm of whatever music you're listening to. What you don't see, and what you can never know, is how inexplicably exhausting it is being pregnant, working, and trying to navigate public transportation. Walking through the turnstile and platform has become a navigation of twists and turns, trying to avoid bumping into the bars with my protruding belly and clumsily trying not to bump into strangers.
This is, of course, after having been standing all day, practically running from desk to desk in my classroom. You could never know this, but when our eyes lock, I'm screaming internally from how swollen my feet are and how painful they feel.
All you seem concerned with is the belly. To you, it's a nuisance and a reminder that you might have to think of others. To me, it's an itchy and aching thing carried a growing child, who is currently pushing on a nerve in my back and causing an obscene amount of pain.
Yes, you may have your own pains and struggles. You could have had an atrocious day at work where you are also physically exhausted. But judging by your suit and relaxed demeanour, I'm going to guess that you spent most of your day sitting at a desk and having someone else fetch you coffee and lunch.
I recognize that you're not the only one on the train. In a car full of a few dozen people, there are at least 20 or so who are able-bodied enough to offer me their seat. And one eventually does — a woman who is seated directly across from you.
In truth, it's not about you. It's about everyone who hesitates and makes a conscious choice to ignore other people. You saw me, examined my condition, and determined that you didn't care. Would you stand for a woman and a child? Would you stand for those navigating a disability? How about the elderly? I am hesitant to think you would. Maybe next time you'll prove your fellow passengers wrong.
Pregnant and in Pain