Dear Miriam,

I am a new mother to a baby girl. We are hoping to have the christening in early summer. Even before I was pregnant, I always imagined that if I was lucky enough to have a baby, I would ask my best friend to be the godmother. We are friends since primary school, we lived together in college, did the year in Oz together… you get the picture! She has been a very important person in my life and I hope that she will be part of my daughter’s life as she grows up.

My only concern is this. At the start of this year, she and her husband had a miscarriage. I did my best to comfort and support her, but she can be quite private about things like that, so I wanted to respect that too. I assume that they are trying/will try again for a baby and I hope and pray that everything will work out for them.

I just wonder if asking her to be godmother after her own loss might come across as insensitive? If she had not had the miscarriage, she would be looking forward to her own due date in the next few months. The last thing I want is to upset her, but I don’t want to exclude her either.

My husband says that I am over-thinking all of this. But what do you think?

Sarah, Leinster

Miriam responds

Dear Sarah,

Thank you for your email. You sound like a very sensitive and caring person and I think it shows your kind nature that you are really mindful of your friend’s feelings in this situation. I would not say that you are over-thinking it; you are just trying to be considerate.

While everybody is different, this is my take on it. You have always imagined your friend as your child’s godmother because she is such an important person to you. You probably cannot even imagine another person for the role. You want her to be godmother because you value her so highly. It’s almost like a compliment of the highest order. This is where you are coming from, in your heart.

I understand very well the trauma of the miscarriage and how difficult that has been for your friend and her husband. As you say, she should be looking forward to her baby’s birth later this year and perhaps in time, her own christening plans. Life after pregnancy loss can seem like unchartered territory and it can be a very lonely place at times.

However, my feeling is that if you were not to ask your friend based solely on the fact that she had a miscarriage, such a decision may add to those feelings of exclusion and isolation that can often come with a pregnancy loss. Even with the best of intentions, this could turn out to be more painful for her.

I would still ask her; but maybe there is a way to do it that gives her a little time and space if she needs to process it all. I know I have often seen “Will you be my bridesmaid?” cards sent to wedding parties; well, you can also buy and post “Will you be my godmother?” cards. You could just write a very heartfelt message about how much you value her as a friend and that you would love her to be your daughter’s godmother; but you can also add that you know it is a big commitment, so that it’s completely up to her. That way, she still has an “out” if it is too difficult at the moment, but I suspect she will be very honoured to be asked.

My advice after that is just to continue to show up for your friend as she walks her own fertility journey, whether it’s meeting up for a coffee or tea or regular texts to say hi and check in. Even if she does not want to talk about it directly, you can still let her know in other ways that you are always there for her.

I hope this is helpful and wish you all a lovely christening day.

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