Kate Hitchens, a 32-year-old in England, was traveling home to Wickford from London during rush hour on Tuesday, September 4, with her six-month-old son Charlie. Despite the fact that she was breastfeeding, Hitchens was forced to stand on the busy rush hour train.
According to reports, despite the fact that commuters saw that Hitchens was nursing her six-month-old son Charlie, no one offered assistance until the “very end” of her 35-minute commute.
Hitchens, a blogger who is also a mother to a three-year-old, urged people to “be kinder” in an Instagram post where she described the incident.
On my way home from London on a packed commuter train and this is what I faced.
What has the world come to that a mother has to stand up on a moving train breastfeeding a wriggling and writhing 6-month-old, 20lb baby?! The point here isn’t just that I found it difficult because I was nursing (although that was bloody difficult!), but that not one person offered a mother carrying a small child a seat for around half an hour, or 3 stops!
I could have asked, but I didn’t. I felt silly. I shouldn’t have to ask. Maybe some people didn’t see. I know for a fact some did; they made eye contact and actually smiled at me. I was thinking stop smiling and offer me your seat, please!
One lady looked up from her book and immediately offered me her seat, another lady then sat in it and when the lovely lady said ‘Oh excuse me I actually gave up my seat so this lady with a baby could sit down’ the sitting lady shrugged, plugged her earphones in and closed her eyes!
I like to think that she needed that seat more than me, perhaps she was newly pregnant and in that early exhaustion period, perhaps she was knackered after a day at work, perhaps she was ill. Or perhaps she was just a twat. I hope not.
I can somewhat understand not offering your seat to someone elderly; perhaps they might be offended you think they look old! I can understand not offering your seat to someone you suspect might be pregnant; maybe it’s just their time of the month or perhaps they are just naturally curvy and they aren’t pregnant; perhaps you worry you might offend them.
I cannot get my head around not offering a parent with a child a seat.
Next time you see someone with a child on a train – if you’re able-bodied and fit and healthy please offer your seat to them!
Hitchens currently runs the parenting blog Hitchens’ Kitchen.