I am about to out myself as a horrible person. As far as irrational anger goes, I'll be the first to admit that I veer dangerously to intolerance. Hating people who take a bus for one stop, or my instant distrust of food labelled as 'guilt free snacking' is hard to rationalise. But I think that wanting to destroy all 'baby on board' badges is something that I can justify.
The reason why people wear the badges is to get a seat on the bus or tube. This is symbolic of all things British. Never would we actually use words and ask someone for a seat, no. Instead, we hide behind a passive aggressive badge and let it do the talking for us. In my view, this is a slippery slope. If this is the extent that we Brits go to to avoid talking to strangers, I predict that by 2050, people will only brave TFL with 'pensioner' or 'I twisted my ankle last week playing badminton' tattooed to their foreheads in an effort to avoid the horrors of verbal communication.
What's more irritating to me is that they are worn at inappropriate times of pregnancy. I have seen them being worn by women, urine still dripping from their clear-blue test, such that it is unnecessary to inform the public of their news. They are so barely pregnant, that they really don't need a seat on the tube more than any other person. On the other end of this irritating continuum are the mothers to be of around 8 months, heaving themselves on to the tube at rush hour, badge ready to ping off. To be honest the badge is not the most ostentatious indication of pregnancy in this scenario.
Women seem to wear these badges as a medal of self congratulation. A pat on their aching back. Maybe this is the heart of why I find the badges so infuriating. Apologies, but I could not care less about your womb and its occupancy. You are not the first person to be pregnant, and people have carried pregnancies to term in far more harrowing situations than the Northern Line. Reproduction is such a natural and insignificant part of the continuation of the human race, that it would be just as relevant to people if I devised my own set of badges, with ones such as 'I need a shit' and 'I'm a bit peckish'.
The badges have a smug, arrogant and knowing feel about them. The wearers have a sense of entitlement for a seat on the tube which is ridiculous. If I saw a heavily pregnant person on the tube, then I would offer my seat to them. As a community, we are polite and well-mannered people who will do this without the non- verbal prompting of a badge. The problem is that as life gets easier and more comfortable we still seem to have a growing proportion of people that think that they are soldiering on, being brave troopers through the trenches of modern middle class suburban life. The children that are born to mothers who think that they are special for being pregnant will be raised to think that they too are special. These will be the children who celebrate their half birthdays so little Fergus can have a June soiree as well as his chilly December birthday. These will be the children who will be forced to play the tuba at age 5 whilst learning conversational Arabic. These will be the children stuffed with oat cakes and carrot sticks like geese creating foie gras. And I am embarrassed for the lot of them.