restroom-signA neighborhood restaurant in D.C. denied a pregnant woman (who was not a paying customer) use of their bathroom last weekend. She took to a local neighborhood blog to complain about it and got berated by most of the people on the forum. I’m on her side. Denying a pregnant woman use of a bathroom is a mean thing to do. Have some common decency.

…I was shocked by The Heights’ response to me asking to use their restroom last Saturday during a trip to the farmers’ market. No, I wasn’t patronizing the place – I do go there often enough, but I don’t think being a regular is the issue. The issue is honoring and accommodating mothers-to-be. I respectfully asked the hostess if I could use the restroom (I wanted to tell her that I did go around 4 times before I left my home, but that I drank a lot of water because I had calf cramps…but decided that was TMI). The hostess asked me if I was sitting outside on their patio and when I said no, she gave me a fake “I’m so sorry.” I was in such disbelieve that I just mumbled, “are you kidding me?” before walking out.

Lesson to all pregnant women who need to use the bathroom in an establishment where they are not a paying customer: act like you are meeting someone there, walk right in, and make a beeline to the facilities. Problem solved.

I consider myself a reasonable person. Whenever one of these stories pops up about mothers complaining about their treatment at a private place of business, barring breastfeeding shaming I usually take the side of the establishment. Having been in the service industry for years, I know rules exist for a reason and the general public usually doesn’t understand those reasons and makes a big deal out of nothing. But I’m sorry, denying a pregnant woman access to your bathroom because she’s not a paying customer is just dumb.

The restaurant is busy, they may have limited facilities and need to keep them free for paying customers – but let’s not pretend that a landslide of pregnant women are going to descend on the restaurant and inconvenience their paying guests. Sometimes it’s necessary to use some judgment rather than robotically follow rules.

The commenters in the forum think she’s acting with a sense of entitlement by expecting to be allowed to use the restroom:

Why should anyone have to “accommodate” you just because you’re pregnant? It’s not like you’re disabled. I’m sorry, but having children or being pregnant doesn’t make you more special than the rest of us. This type of entitled thinking is what really grates me about some parents (or parents-to-be as it is).

Literally 99% of the human female population that survived to adulthood over thousands of years has been pregnant at some point in their lives. It doesn’t make you special or deserving of any additional accommodation, sorry. Also, calling yourself a “desperate” pregnant woman is a pretty big stretch. There are many places you could have used the bathroom within a one-block radius, why did you spend time arguing when you could have just gone somewhere else?

I’m sorry, what? The “entitlement police” are getting more annoying than any pregnant woman out there. I understand where the entitlement-rage comes from – a lot of people acting like jerks have ruined it for everyone. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t expect to be treated with common decency and kindness. D.C. is a city. Any woman who has been pregnant in the city knows that the frequent need to use the restroom is a nightmare. Waddling around with an eight-pound weight pushed up against your bladder is not fun. Businesses that act tone-deaf to the fact that these woman may need a little extra kindness are making bad business decisions.

There were several nice establishments in my neighborhood in Brooklyn that I visited with some regularity. Had I walked in when I was pregnant and was denied use of the bathroom, I would have thought it was a jerk move, too. This woman took to a part of a local blog that exists for complaints like this, so I don’t think it’s obnoxious. People hate to hear others voice that they think they are “entitled” to anything – but in this case, I think she’s right.

Let a pregnant woman use the bathroom, for God’s sake.

(photo: photospublicdomain)