Name: Annie C.
Profession: L&D for education nonprofit
Likes: Eating, laughing, iced milk tea, reading in the bath, educating (kids and adults)
Hometown: Hong Kong and La Crosse, Wisconsin
Current City: Los Angeles
WHY DID YOU JOIN THE UP-STAND MOVEMENT?
I was so thrilled to hear about this brilliant idea! In 2009 I had my first pregnancy while living in Brooklyn (and commuting to work in Manhattan every day). Both of my pregnancies were hard (the first three months with each were like being on a boat, rocking in choppy waters, and never being able to get on land!), but having an hour-long commute on public transportation 2x/day made it so much harder the first time around! Being a firm believer in the potential of people to be awesome—as well as a lover of NYC—I was pretty shocked by some of what I went through.
Once, I almost passed out standing by the doors of a crowded A train going under the river to Manhattan. I stumbled out (many stops before where I was heading) as soon as the doors opened and threw up into the garbage can on the platform. I had countless other public vomiting mishaps, but that one was particularly memorable because there was a group of kids on a field trip gawking at me, with their teachers trying to rush them past me and avert their eyes. It was particularly humiliating.
I broke my ankle at the beginning of my second trimester, and ended up spending a few months in a walking cast and crutches. Even with my growing belly sticking out from my winter coat, a work bag on my shoulder, and a cast on my ankle, I was still not getting seats offered to me by so many people who would just pretend not to see me and concentrate really hard on their handheld devices.
Not to mention just actual personal safety. I don’t know if everyone has this problem, or if it was something about me personally (The “Midwestern friendly” on my face? The fact that my belly was particularly impressive, given my 73-lb. weight gain?), but so many strangers felt the need to reach out and touch my belly, uninvited. Once, a fight broke out in front of me (incidentally over the fact that I wasn’t being offered a seat), and another time a man poked me (on purpose, and HARD) in the pregnant belly with the point at the end of his umbrella as I was standing (because nobody offered me a seat). I have more—and I’m just one mom! Imagine all the other stories out there…
WHAT DO YOU WANT TO SAY ABOUT YOUR UP-STAND EXPERIENCE SO FAR?
Aside from wishing it had existed when I was pregnant myself?! Really, though…I recommend it all the time. Even here in LA (where I was pregnant the second time around), I no longer depend on public transportation, but I regularly find myself in spaces where I’m expected to stand for long periods of time while waiting. I stood in line—in the hot sun with no shade!—for over an hour when I seven months pregnant with my son so my daughter could meet the Easter Bunny. There were a few benches in/around that line, but they were full and I had to stand. Or long waits for tables at restaurants where just a few people are lucky enough to get the chairs sitting out and everyone else is standing-room-only. I rarely speak up for myself in situations like this, but—had I been wearing my UP-STAND button—I’d like to think it would have made a difference.
I am just so glad you’re bringing awareness of this to public spaces. Not everyone is physically able to help by giving up their seat or making other accommodations (just like a woman may not be “showing,” many others who aren’t pregnant live with ailments and disabilities we cannot “see”), but—if you are—it’s so nice to have a simple and effective way to make that known (since we shouldn’t go around asking people: “Are you pregnant?”). And, if you are someone who could really use the added safety measure—or comfort—of sitting down, this provides such a simple way of notifying those around you.
WHAT’S SOMETHING WE DON’T KNOW ABOUT YOU?
I am committed to raising socially conscious and anti-racist children. Two years ago, I co-founded (with four other amazing mothers!) a community of parents with similar goals. It started as an employee resource group at the organization we work for, but we’ve opened parts of it to be more inclusive of others who’ve expressed interest in joining. If you’d like to engage in our discussions, search for our closed group on Facebook for Parenting Anti-Racist Children (PARC).
I also find a lot of joy in planning kids’ themed parties and eating delicious foods!
TELL US SOMETHING YOU ARE LOVING ABOUT YOUR LIFE RIGHT NOW:
My kids! My 7-year-old daughter is a bright light in our lives—she is a thoughtful, reflective, compassionate, and caring human being. And our two-year-old son is a ball of boundless energy who keeps us all on our toes. If you were a fly on the wall at our home, you’d hear a lot of: “Get down from there!” and “Did you do that on purpose?!” and “Be careful!” mixed with a healthy dose of laughter.
Follow Annie on Instagram @milk_dreams for pictures of yummy food and family-friendly activities around LA!