Dear Miriam,

I hope you can help me with a problem. A good friend of mine is getting married in late August. It is a big wedding, with over 250 invited. In normal circumstances, I would love to be there, but I am expecting my first baby and will be on the home stretch by then.

Being pregnant, I’m probably more concerned about COVID than most other people. It’s not just the fear of getting sick and the impact that might have on the baby, but having to isolate, and perhaps miss or have to postpone important hospital appointments as a result of that. It’s all just a bit of a nightmare.

The invite arrived recently and I have been holding off responding to see how cases will go etc. But even if cases do drop, I feel that weddings are just higher risk for me, given my situation.

Nobody is really wearing the masks anymore or social distancing, and when people are celebrating, they are not thinking about COVID or who might be at risk around them.

I know my friend is assuming I will be there to celebrate with her and I’m afraid of hurting her feelings by not going. But I just feel in my gut that it’s not the right decision to attend.

How would you advise me to tell my friend that I probably can’t go to her wedding? I don’t want to just text her or tick a box on the RSVP like you might normally do. I would love to hear your advice.

Mam-to-be, Munster

Dear Mam-to-be,

Thank you for your email and first of all, congratulations on your lovely news. I hope that you are feeling well and enjoying this special time.

I know that pregnancy can be an anxious time too, though, and I can absolutely understand why you would be nervous about attending your friend’s wedding given the ongoing pandemic.

You are not just thinking about yourself here; you are also looking out for your baby. Even if you did not catch COVID at the wedding, I can’t imagine that you would really enjoy the day much if you are on edge the whole time.

You seem to be getting a very strong message from your gut on this and I feel you should listen to it.

I’m certain that your friend would love you to be there. But a true friend will understand the predicament that you find yourself in. The longer you leave telling her though, the bigger it’s going to get in your own head.

I think it would also be fairer to tell her sooner than later too, so that she can get on with getting her numbers for her venue etc.

I would suggest either giving her a call or arranging to meet her in person to explain the situation.

You can emphasise how much you would love to be there – which is the truth – but considering the stage you will be at in your pregnancy, you feel that it will be better to cocoon and that, sadly, you won’t be able to join her due to the risk of catching COVID.

You can let her know how you have agonised over the decision, but that ultimately, the genuine health concern means that it is really out of your hands.

I can imagine that she will be disappointed, but ultimately, she will have to understand. And there are other ways that you can be part of the day.

For instance, if she was getting married in a big church, perhaps you would feel comfortable going along to the ceremony and sitting away from the crowds, while wearing your mask?

If something like that is not an option, however, there are other ways you can still mark the occasion such as by arranging a nice afternoon tea or outdoor lunch or something like that for just the two of you in advance, if you feel it is safe.

At the end of the day, your friend will have a magical wedding regardless and she is really not going to have time to be mulling over who could not make it, especially when you have such a genuine reason.

I hope this is helpful and wish you the best with the rest of your pregnancy.

Read more

Bringing daughter's cousins on days out is costing me a fortune

How can I support my friend after the sudden loss of her mother?