I have one last little rant to go off on before I find myself ensconced and heavily sedated at the hospital tomorrow: pregnancy parking spots.
Now, I realize that unlike actual handicap parking lots, these are a courtesy feature some stores have for their customers. There are no fines or threats of towing because there aren’t any real rules, other than a thing I like to call common courtesy, governing them. Still, with the exception of stores specifically targeted at babies (like say Babies R’ Us), few stores have more than 2-4 of these special spots reserved. Not only that, but often they aren’t on the closest aisle to the store, just a first or second slot on an aisle.
Being a pregnant woman with a toddler, I think it’s great that stores have these special spots. I’ve actually only used the spot once this pregnancy and maybe two or three times during my first pregnancy. While I’m not the fittest person in the world, I can usually find a perfectly decent parking space that requires me to walk, oh, maybe five feet more to get to the store, and hey, why not leave the spot for someone who is struggling a bit more than I, right?
What pisses me off though, is when people who are obviously not pregnant (or not far enough along to even sort of show a little) and have no other small children with them, pull into these spots because they are too darn lazy to take those few extra steps to get into the store.
Today, I pulled in to the local grocery store because I had to get batteries and some nose spray. I took my son to the sitter’s one day last week and he managed to pick up a cold from the little girl my husband and I jokingly refer to as Typhoid Mary. Both my son and I are doing better, but my nose is still a bit stuffy, so in a desperate attempt to sleep a bit better tonight, I decided to give in and try some more nose spray.
Now, I am the person these special parking spots were designed for. Not only do I have a toddler who can be difficult to wrangle, but I am literally one day away from giving birth. Over the past week I think I’ve over exerted myself a tad (pre-baby fun mommy and son trips to the children’s museum, zoo, store, playground, etc) and today I was just a bit tired. For once, ok, well twice this pregnancy, I was going to use one of those spaces. As I was pulling in to the lot, I saw a woman and her teenage daughter approaching the van that was parked in the spot. If the woman was pregnant, she couldn’t have been more than two or three months, and to be very honest, she looked a bit old to be having another baby (not being mean, but she looked about 50).
There was another space on the other side, which I could have driven around to, but what was even more irritating is that the parking space directly next to the pregnancy spot, was empty. It’s the spot I ended up pulling in to because it was nearly as close as the pregnancy spot and it saved me from having to drive around the entire aisle (which may also be a form of lazyness, but I’ve never been one to hunt for parking spaces). The woman and her daughter had one bag to load in to the van, so I can’t imagine it was a very long shopping trip for them either. Plus, when she saw me, about ready to pop trying to free my son from my car seat, she gave me a rather sheepish look which seemed to imply she knew she shouldn’t have taken the space.
Now, I realize I’m being judgmental here. I’ve heard several people argue that since there is no actual rule to those spaces, it shouldn’t matter who parks there. I’ve heard others mention the fact that not everyone who has some sort of physical issue which makes it hard for them to walk has a handicap tag and they should also be allowed to park in those spaces. I’ve heard cases made for the elderly to park there if they don’t have handicapped plates yet. And maybe the woman was pregnant or had some other sad story that made it hard for her to park the extra five feet to get to the store. I don’t mean to imply that no one ever has a good reason to park in one of those spaces, but since I’ve been pregnant this time around, this is the fifth or sixth time I’ve seen someone pull into one of those spaces without a small child or any outward sign of pregnancy and I think it’s just cruddy.
I’m not saying I expect the world to change for me because I’m pregnant, but if a store goes to the trouble to try to help those who are pregnant or have small children lives a little easier, be a good human being and comply. If you’ve never been pregnant or had small kids, I realize you may think it’s unfair to give away those spaces, but let me just say sometimes it’s damn hard to get from point A to point B with a fully formed infant weighing on your bladder 24 hours a day. I realize I made a decision to have kids. But the store also made a decision, and it’s only two parking spaces.
Take the extra five seconds, be a good person and walk a little farther. It won’t kill you.