Adapted from a recent online discussion.
Hi, Carolyn: A good friend of 20 years — we met in high school — got engaged last fall and asked me to be in her wedding. I eagerly accepted. She is getting married next summer.
We met up a few weeks ago and she said they’re not inviting kids to their wedding. I am newly pregnant and I also have a toddler.
No problem at all, toddlers don’t belong at weddings. At the time, I didn’t realize that she also meant newborns. After a very uncomfortable conversation and some thinking on my part, I decided to bow out as a bridesmaid, because she said I would not be able to bring my baby to the “getting ready” portion of the day, or the ceremony or reception. The baby will be around 10 weeks at that time and need to nurse every three hours. My husband and I will be guests, and my mom will watch my toddler and baby.
During the conversation, she kept saying that she hoped there were no hurt feelings. I tried to be gracious, but to be honest, I am very hurt. I feel like she is choosing a vision of a child-free day over our 20-year friendship. I can’t help but feel like this is the end of our friendship.
I’m mourning the loss but also know it doesn’t have to end. Any tips to help me get over this hurdle?
Brides and Babies Don’t Mix
Dear Brides and Babies: Well, she could say you’re choosing your vision of a child-ful day over your 20-year friendship.
I’m saying this despite being more sympathetic to your position than to hers; a newborn can fit in to a wedding quite easily and non-disruptively by not ever actually being at the wedding, per se, if you have support in the form of a child-minder like your mom. A sitter can keep the baby out of the party but close enough for you to nurse. Churches typically have side rooms your mother could use during the ceremony, and for the reception, any place that’s comfortable and within a 5- or 10-minute drive would do.
And, spending hours away from a nursing baby is just a non-starter unless you’re able to pump and the baby is comfortable taking food from a bottle, which isn’t information you'll be able to get and count on until the event is upon you.
But, this is not stuff people commonly know unless they’ve lived it in some way. Much more common is for people to have been at a service or reception where a crying baby has made his or her misery known to all.
So, please consider forgiving your old friend. Treat this as her making the best decision she can, for her, given what she knows.
Or, as her making a decision under the influence of weddingitis. That’s pretty common, too.
And forgive her in advance in the event she has her own newborn someday and has a miracle conversion to your viewpoint as soon as the diaper is on the other butt. If you will.
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