Commuter struggle – need we say more?
You know the despair and frustration that comes akin with public transport only too well. Whether it’s a bus driver ignoring the existence of speed bumps or a tube carriage come writhing sweat box, in a very un-sexy way – memories of this morning are making us shudder.
That struggle is all too real when you only have your iPhone to look after, let alone when you’re a mother-of-three trying to breastfeed, standing up, in a moving vehicle.
Which is exactly what happened to mum Bryony Esther, who was forced to breastfeed her 15-month-old daughter while standing precariously on a moving train, after not a single commuter offered her a seat.
Rightly outraged and upset, Esther took to Facebook to share her story. She urged friends and family to help the post “go viral”, so that the “mothers, girlfriends and wives” of her fellow train riders could see how they “behaved”.
In the post, which has now been deleted, Esther described her ordeal: “Having to stand on a train whilst breastfeeding my baby thanks to the lovely bunch of charmers giving more priority to their suitcases and rolling joints!!”
According to The Indy, Esther continued to out a cyclist who was sat in the disabled seat, “It stinks. Plus the cyclist with a fancy bike that keeps rolling into me, sat in the disabled seat. Please share cos I'd love it if their mothers, girlfriends and wives get to see how they behave.”
The post takes an even darker turn, as the mum recounts how public transport users also appeared to be using illegal substances near her young daughter: “I did ask the guy in the cap and even sat my daughter down briefly (before baby woke) and he told me the seat was taken, then I realized they were doing drugs so moved her.”
Esther’s plight highlights society’s problem around normalising and respecting mothers breastfeeding in public, which becomes all the more apparent from some of the comments on the post.
According the The Metro, the post gained a huge amount of support, being liked over 23k times, with many mothers coming forward to share their own negative breastfeeding experiences as well as hailing Esther as a “hero”.
One commenter allegedly wrote, “I’ve sat on a suitcase in a door way on a train breastfeeding before.
“Nothing shocks me anymore. Some people are just plain ignorant and I am so proud of you Bryony Esther for taking a stand and making this public. You’re a hero.”
On a positive note, Esther’s shocking experience has raised the issue as a talking point and attracted the attention of the train company.
“We are aware of the Facebook post made by a passenger regarding breastfeeding on one of our trains.
“We welcome breastfeeding on all c2c trains and would hope our customers would be considerate to their fellow travellers and give up their seat when requested.
“Unfortunately this does not appear to have happened on this occasion, and we are sorry for any inconvenience this caused.”
Sadly we can’t change what must have been a difficult situation for this mum, but we hope that it encourages more people to look up from their newspapers and offer compassion to someone struggling on public transport.