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Frustrated by waiting for the CTA to issue buttons to pregnant women, moms take matters into their own hands

The buttons will be given away Tuesday morning outside Goddess and the Baker, 225 N. LaSalle St. The effort will be funded by the The Mom Project, a Chicago company that connects moms with companies looking to hire.

Colleen Curtis, left, and Megan Nufer with her three-month-old daughter Charlotte at the CTA’s Merchandise Mart stop Wednesday. Both young mothers are wearing Baby on Board buttons made by The Mom Project.
Mitch Dudek/Sun-Times

Don’t mess with pregnant women.

Several moms decided they’d had enough of waiting around for the CTA to make good on their word that at some point this year they’d begin handing out special buttons for expectant mothers to wear to signal to riders aboard crowded buses and trains that it would be nice if they’d offer up a seat.

So they’re taking matters into their own hands and plan to hand out their own “Baby on Board” buttons beginning Tuesday.

The buttons will be handed out 7:30 to 9:30 a.m. Tuesday outside Goddess and the Baker, 225 N. LaSalle St., near the CTA’s Clark & Lake stop.

Baby on Board buttons created by the folks at The Mom Project as a stop gap to offer women until the CTA rolls out their own version of the button.
provided by The Mom Project

The effort will be funded by the The Mom Project, a Chicago company that connects moms with companies looking to hire.

It came together after the Sun-Times broke the news in July that the CTA was planning to roll out a button program for pregnant moms. But the transit agency was non-committal on exactly when it would happen — definitely this year, they said, hopefully by the end of the summer.

However, Megan Nufer, a new mom who lobbied the CTA to enact the program, didn’t want to see it stall.

So she reached out to The Mom Project to talk about creating a sense of urgency and pressuring the CTA to act.

“There was a buzz about this program after the Sun-Times story, and then other news outlets picked it up, but then it kind of went away,” Nufer, 32, who has a three-month-old daughter, said.

“I don’t want this to be a great idea that goes nowhere. I want people to be held accountable,” she said.

Colleen Curtis, an executive with The Mom Project, was receptive.

“She wanted to make sure the story didn’t die and urged the CTA to set a date to hand out the buttons,” Curtis said.

“And we figured we could get something out there in the interim to help pregnant moms and and show the CTA that there’s a real need and that moms are here for it and this is worth doing,” she said.

Curtis had 1,000 buttons made and said if the demand is there, she’ll have another 5,000 made and set another date to hand them out, too.

“My hope and belief is that the folks at the CTA are just dotting their “I”s and crossing their “T”s and and they’ll be making an announcement soon,” said Curtis, who has two sons.

Nufer said she reached out to the CTA seeking information on when their program would be rolled out, but never got a response.

A CTA spokesman didn’t immediately respond to messages left by the Sun-Times Wednesday.

The button idea has been in place for commuters in London for years.

Curtis, living abroad at the time, once counted herself as one of those commuters.

“I was pregnant with first son and took Tube (London’s subway) exclusively and I was extremely sick my whole pregnancy, especially the first few months when I wasn’t showing as much, and for me not having a seat was almost not doable,” she said.

“The button just creates this signal without there having to be this awkward exchange between a pregnant lady who needs a seat and another commuter.”