CTA’s Pregnancy Button Is Genius And Can We Get These Everywhere, Please

by Karen Johnson
Originally Published: 
Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group/Getty

Raise your hand if you ran out of a restaurant to puke in the parking lot when you were newly pregnant and everyone probably just thought you were drunk at 6 p.m. on a Wednesday? Anyone? Just me? Cool.

Or you flew across the country at 14 weeks preggo to join your husband on a business trip, but you were green and sweaty the whole flight and had to ask someone to help you with your bag? (Also me.)

Or you waddled through Home Depot to pick out paint samples, and when you swung your gigantor belly around the wide-eyed male employee said “WHOA!” and backed away in horror? (Anyone else??)

Yes, these and so many other scenarios happened to me throughout my three pregnancies, and that’s why Chicago Transit Authority’s new initiative—a “pregnancy” button for expecting women to wear on public transportation—is, in my opinion, a fantastic idea.

However, I have questions.

How do women get the button? Will they have to pay for it? What will it look like? What will it say? (A simple “Pregnant”? or a more blunt “Move TF over so I can sit down, jackass?” And will other buttons become available, such as “If you touch my belly I will cut you” for women to wear to work and holiday dinners where they’ll run into creepy coworkers and uncles with no boundaries?)

I mean, the possibilities are endless…

But I guess we’ll have to wait for more info, as the “specific launch date, distribution plan, button design — are close to being finalized,” according to a spokesperson for CTA named Brian Steele, who also added that CTA is “stoked” about the initiative.

So are we, Brian. SO.ARE.WE.

This isn’t the first time CTA has tried to improve conditions on public transit for pregnant women. In 2015, they launched a “courtesy campaign” encouraging riders to keep their area clean, limit noise and phone conversations, and yes, give up seats for pregnant women. Unfortunately, however, some people are still assholes. So they’re trying again, and we appreciate it.

And, it’s quite possible that this movement (like lots of societal change) was influenced when even Hollywood stars such as Olivia Wilde weren’t immune to the unpleasant experience of having to stand on the subway while 725 months pregnant:

Or when this story made the rounds on internet-land, of a woman who went through two pregnancies before a man switched seats with her and finally received the trophy she’d been carrying around.

When Chicago mom Erin Fowler, who’d struggled many times to find a seat on the Chicago L train on her daily commute, saw women on the London tube wearing “Baby on Board” buttons, she went to a CTA board meeting with her thoughts.

Well, CTA listened.

While we don’t know exactly when these buttons will make their debut, it would be superb if they came out ASAP, when it’s hotter than the devil’s armpit outside and pregnant women have been on their swollen feet all day and probably have had to pee for hours. Rather than looking around and hoping someone will look up from their phone or book and have a heart (or common courtesy, really), they would be able to affix an “I’M PREGNANT MOTHERFUCKERS” pin to what’s probably the very last maternity shirt they have that offers full coverage of their growing stomach. (You’re welcome, fellow bus and train riders. Now MOVE.)

The other great thing about this idea is that it helps newly pregnant women who maybe aren’t obviously showing yet, and don’t have bellies blocking the aisle—these women need rest too, as they may feel even sicker and may be even more tired than they will be later on. Being able to wear a button that tells the world to move over or stand up so they can take a seat and maybe not vomit or pass out is really a huge help.

I mean, we all know women are bad-ass and tough as nails, but pregnancy is no joke. Gynecology instructor Dr. Julie Levitt of Northwestern Memorial Hospital says in an interview with Chicago Sun Times that pregnant women are more prone to motion sickness, especially when not doing the driving. She also adds that “expectant mothers who are standing for long periods of time are more prone to fainting because the circulation in terms of moving blood back to the heart is a little slower.”

In short, pregnant women often feel like shit, so able-bodied people should move.

Looking back, if I’d had a pregnancy button that day I ran out the door of a seafood restaurant to barf up my lobster ravioli, I wouldn’t have felt the need to cry-yell “I’m not drunk! I’m fucking pregnant!” at passersby who were dodging my vomit.

Or, feminist I CAN CARRY MY OWN SHIT THANK YOU VERY MUCH me wouldn’t have felt embarrassed asking the guy next to me to put my suitcase in the overhead storage compartment on that flight all those years ago. I could have just pointed to my button!

By the end of my pregnancies, I didn’t need really need an “I’m pregnant” button since I was one of those giant bellied people whose stomach knocked stuff off shelves like a bull in a china shop.

But know what I could have used? One of these:

A button that read: “No, the baby isn’t going to fall out in the paint supplies aisle, so relax Tyler, Home Depot employee.”

Or, a “No, you may not touch my belly. It’s creepy and intrusive, so kindly GTFO” button would have been fab.

How about “No, it’s not twins. Just one giant child I’ll have to, at some point, push out of my lady hole, but thanks for asking”?

And, in response to the daily, “OMG! You STILL haven’t had that baby?!” I REALLY could have used a button that read, “Yes! I did have it. Then I pushed it back in so I could come back to work and waddle around some more just so I could hear your comments, Laura.”

(Or, a simple “Please fuck all the way off” would have worked too.)

Anyway, as a woman who spawned three humans in 5 years, I am grateful to the CTA for the “pregnancy button.” However, if you really want to win pregnant women over, we have some suggestions.

Pregnant women can be a bit sensitive since we are carrying a human who thinks they’re on the USA women’s soccer team in there. So don’t mess this up. Here are some great choices to model your button after.

First of all, we’d like to think we’re as hilarious as Ali Wong…

Or as glamorous as Bey…

Or even as bad-ass as Cardi B…

But, CTA, do NOT make the button look like this (even if we look and feel like it), or you’ll have some regrets…

Finally, since you’re making buttons and all, if I could get a “Not pregnant, just ate a big burrito” button for my food baby, that’d be GREAT.

Thanks CTA!

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