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New mom: COVID-19 and difficult decisions

After weeks of putting it off, I finally made the difficult decision last week. For a second year in a row, I won't be seeing extended family for Thanksgiving.

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Jessica Patrick
, WRAL Sr. multiplatform producer

After weeks of putting it off, I finally made the difficult decision last week. For another year, I won't be seeing extended family for Thanksgiving.

With COVID-19 cases rising slightly and several family members unvaccinated, I made the call. Thanksgiving this year will be my husband, our daughter and our parents who, thankfully, are vaccinated.

This is just one of the difficult decisions I've been forced to make during the pandemic, and I know others can relate. I'm a family person, a social butterfly, and I've always hated the thought of hurting anyone's feelings.

But my 6-month-old daughter is more important than that. Based on advice from my pediatrician, I believe the risk of gathering indoors with unvaccinated adults isn't worth it. Even if my baby doesn't get sick, my husband or I could, possibly dealing with weeks of work and childcare schedules out of sync.

I hate that I'm disappointing family, but I've already made arrangements to see some loved ones in smaller settings after Thanksgiving. I'll also have my booster shot by then.

The decision to not see family during the holidays isn't fun, but it's not as hard as some of the decisions I made last year, when I found out I was pregnant just a few months into the COVID-19 pandemic.

I was so lucky that vaccines were in progress by the time my daughter was born in April. I can't imagine turning family and friends away from meeting her, and I feel for the other parents who had to make that awkward call.

No one was vaccinated during most of my pregnancy, so per my OBGYN's advice, my husband and I followed the "only see people in your household" rule for months, making a few exceptions for birthdays and special events, which were celebrated either outdoors or masked and across the room.

I know I hurt some feelings. It was awkward. It was awful.

Another difficult decision came when I decided to get the COVID-19 vaccine in March, when I was 7 months pregnant. I talked with healthcare professionals, family and friends for a week before I made my decision.

At that point, doctors couldn't officially recommend the vaccine for pregnant women, but they didn't discourage it either. I made my choice and got the shot. A couple weeks later the announcement was made -- vaccines were recommended for pregnant women. By that time, I was just a few weeks away from my due date, and I was relieved I got the COVID-19 vaccine when I did.

As humans, and as parents, we're faced with all kinds of difficult decisions daily. Now that I have a daughter, I feel like there's even more at stake, but that's why I'll keep doing my research and trusting my gut. It's all I can do.


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