I am 18 weeks pregnant. Probably because I’m overweight and wear loose-fitting clothes, I’m not showing yet. A grocery store that I go to has a parking space with a sign saying the space is for new or expectant mothers. Should I park in this space, or not?
(I meant to have a poll here, but I forgot. I’m still interested in your answers).
Use it if you need it. I’m sure the intention was for the space to be available for women in the later stage of pregnancy, but they’re certainly not going to fix a number of weeks along that someone needs to be, so use your judgement. If walking a short distance isn’t an issue, use the normal spots. If you need to be careful or get out of breath easily, use the expectant mother spot.
In my state and I think most if not all, there is no legal weight behind those signs. It is a courtesy only but legally anyone can park there. But they are there for those who have trouble waddling to the store. So if you want to go with the accepted courtesy, wait till the waddling stage. But there is no reason why you can’t now. Just be prepared for dirty looks.
To me “expectant” implies being fairly close to term. Maybe third trimester? My wife is 18 weeks too and we laughed at the thought of using one of those spots the other day. I’m sure she’ll feel differently by week 30.
Wait until you need it. When you are wrestling with a load of groceries while trying to restrain a 2-year-old from running across the parking lot, you’ll be happy that some perfectly capable pregnant woman left that space open for you.
I never felt that I needed a special space when I was pregnant (though some women could have issues that might make them necessary), but I always wished for a spot like that when my kids were small. Unfortunately, by the time such spaces became common my kids were past the stage that they were needed.
A preferentially located spot is not a bonus prize for getting pregnant, it’s to help people who need it because they are incapcitated to some degree by their pregnancy. If you don’t need it, don’t use it just because it so happens you are knocked up. That said, if you do need it don’t worry about whether you’re showing or not.
Don’t worry about justifying it somehow…those are courtesy spots, and you may wish to use one even before your third trimester. Pregnancy can do such weird things to you, and if you would be more comfortable not walking from the back forty, go ahead.
And I agree with an upthread idea–that you may appreciate that spot even more then you have baby in arms. In my neck of the woods at least, those are “pregnant women or parents with toddlers” spots.
Would you object if you were 30 weeks along and all the spots were full, because women who were 18 weeks along and didn’t need them were using them? If yes, then don’t use them until you need them. If not, then do whatever you want.
If you’re at the point where being pregnant is making it more of a strain than it used to be to walk from a regular space, then park in the expectant/new mothers space. If you’re not there yet, then park in the regular spaces.
If you’re overweight and not experiencing any pregnancy-related health issues, you absolutely should not use this space. If fact, you should be parking as far as possible away from the store entrance and walking - it’s good for you and the baby for you to get plenty of exercise.