It's pretty much standard operating procedure that if a pregnant woman needs to use the restroom, you just let her go.
But is there ever a time when it's ok to say no?
And does that make you a terrible person?
One man took to Reddit to ask those very questions after an incident with a pregnant co-worker left him less-than-popular among the rest of the staff at the office.
Things started after a particular dinner didn't sit well with him. He had a stomach ache throughout the evening and most of the morning.
At one point during the work day he felt trouble brewing, so he went to the men's room to find the only stall was occupied.
So he waited...
And waited some more...
The other person started to make his way out of the men's room stall when life hit our precariously poo-crastinating hero with a major plot twist. The door to the men's room came flying open and in barged not another man, but a visibly pregnant woman.
They had a mini-moment of bathroom line tango before he told her that he needed the restroom and she needed to go back to the women's bathroom. She complained, but eventually left and went on to tell their other co-workers how rude he was for not allowing her to cut in.
Those co-workers are now treating him differently and outright told him he should have waited and just let her use the men's room. But he's not sure he could have held it and wasn't willing to risk a mid-work craptastrophe.
He gets that normally giving a pregnant person the right of way is common practice, but was he really the unforgivable bad guy she had made him out to be?
"I ate something that really didn't agree with me last night, and have been having digestion issues all last night and this morning. Half an hour ago I needed to go to the bathroom, so I went."
"My job has a men's and women's bathroom like most places, I don't know what the women's is like but the men's only has one stall. I go in and there a guy in it so I wait, and just as he's getting out an obviously pregnant woman throws the door open and tries to push past me into the stall. At this point I'd been waiting to go for a decent while, and I didn't know how long I was going to be able to wait. Additionally, it's pretty annoying that she just ran in, didn't knock or warn anybody, and just assumed she could use the stall. I couldn't just sprint into a women's bathroom with no consequences."
"So I said I was next and went in before her. She yelled that (well not quite yelled, it was like the volume level below) she had to go so I said go to the women's. She said it was full and so I said sorry, but there's nothing I can do. I did my business and I heard her leave. I probably took 5-7 minutes, not too long."
"Well she told some of my coworkers and now they're all up on me about being rude to a pregnant woman and selfishly not letting her have the bathroom. I've explained my digestion problem but they say I could have waited and let her go. I might have been able to wait, I don't know."
We know normally not letting a pregnant woman use a bathroom is grounds for the internet to totally rip you to shreds, but this case was unique. And so were people's responses.
Reddit was absolutely OK giving this guy a pass.
"Nope, you're not the a$hole (NTA). Men's was full, women's was full, why didn't she cut the line in the women's room instead of the men's room?" - SaturdayMorningSwarm
"Unfortunately this was a no-win situation for either party."
"On the one hand: I personally STRONGLY feel that pregnant women need special consideration due to bladder complications during pregnancy--no doubt about it in my mind at least."
"But in this case, the choice came down to:"
"A) A guy with an upset stomach, on the verge of pooping his pants."
"B) A pregnant woman on the verge of peeing herself."
"(Wait... didn't I once see a movie on the Internet about this scenario?!)"
"So... I guess in this no-win critical bathroom emergency case..."
"The person in line first gets to go first? (Plus poop is a much bigger issue to deal with, I would suspect in such a situation?!)"
"PLUS, what bothers me: the woman then actively tried to shame him socially afterwards, and turn people against him, even though they were both trapped in a no-win situation."
"I don't think she handled/reacted to this very graciously--based upon the way the story was told above." - Synaptic_Response
"Being pregnant doesn't give you the right to be a jerk. I've been pregnant. I know what it's like to be on the brink of wetting your pants. I know what it's like to have imminent vomit. But I also know how to have like basic manners."
"If she had to go super bad, I don't think there's anything wrong with trying to use the men's room; we've all done it. But at the VERY least she should have asked "hey, I have to go SUPER bad. It's just pee, but the ladies is full too, would you mind if I went super fast?""
"It is a little odd to just burst into an occupied men's room too. While all of us ladies have probably used a men's room in a pinch, I wouldn't just waltz into one that wasn't single-use without announcing or asking first!"
"And it's totally ok for you to say no. Especially if you really needed to go too. Your tummy troubles aren't less real than her bladder problems."
"I've also got IBS so I know what it's like to HAVE TO go. And we've all had diarrhea before from something we ate. She should have understood she doesn't get priority just because she's growing a human."
"When you said no, she could have waited, or gone go the women's to ask if she could cut in line there. Or just wait her turn." - Youre_ARealJerk
"Maybe I'm going against the grain but I don't think anyone here was an a$hole. I totally understand where you're coming from but also if I had a fcking watermelon sitting on my bladder and needed to pee I bet I would act in a complete panic and yeah barge into a men's room of pissing on the floor seemed like the alternative." - whatforthen
"She's not an a$hole for trying to cut in line, that much is understandable. She's the a$ for telling coworkers, and you should absolutely report that part to HR." - vatniolo
What are your thoughts on the potty priority politics in action here? Who had the right of way?
One thing offices can do to eliminate bathroom lines is make all bathrooms, non gender specific.