AS PUBLISHED IN MAMAMIA
Pregnant women are special and they deserve a seat on public transport.
There are fresh calls this week for pregnant women to wear badges on public transport and it’s a grand idea.
Now there’s an Australian version of the badge, that is coming soon to a bus, train, light rail or tram near you.
The new "baby in belly" badge comes after New York City's transport authority introduced a "baby on board" button for pregnant women.
The UK has been handing out "baby on board" badges for years and I pinned one to my jacket every time I rode the tube during my first pregnancy in London.
I wore that badge to and from my work, even during my first 12 weeks because I was just so tired.
It made me feel safe. The badge let people know I was pregnant and gave me permission to sit down during my commute. It also gave others an opportunity to be considerate, and they really were.
When I had the badge on, busy Londoners slowed down around me, they offered up their seats and gave me space on crowded stairwells and escalators.
It felt like everyone on the tube was aware on the badge. It worked so well, strangers noticed my tiny hidden baby.
It brought out the best in people - in a city of eight million.
For the last five months - while pregnant with my second child - I have missed my London "baby on board" badge during my Sydney commute.
My work trips are not as busy as London but it's still necessary for me to take care on the bus - especially when I am pregnant.
For months I have wanted to let my fellow public transport travellers know that I am expecting - without an awkward exchange or having a large bump to prove it.
Let's face it, no one talks on the bus or the train. Nobody is going to ask "Are you pregnant?" or "Do you need a seat?" but a pregnancy badge certainly helps.
If you get on a packed bus or train with a clear message that you have a baby in your belly, you are safer. People are more considerate.
People looked out for me in the past when I wore my baby on board badge. People were so kind. I've seen it happen it in the UK and Japan and I think it can work here too.
That's why I designed an Australian version of the badge and Public Transport Victoria (PTV) think it's a good idea.
"It's great to see people thinking of innovative ways to strengthen the culture of good etiquette on public transport," Jake McLaughlan, a PTV spokesperson.
"We expect all commuters to make priority seating on public transport available to passengers who need it," he added.
I hope the badge I've made will give pregnant women permission to take it easy before their world is turned upside down.
Women can win The Australian Open when they are pregnant and not everyone will want to sit down on public transport but a pregnancy badge gives other travellers the opportunity to be considerate and offer a seat.
So please commuters look out for the badge - it'll be pinned to a pregnant woman travelling on a bus, train or tram near you soon.