Dear My Pregnant Friend

Joanna ZuidemaComment

One of my best friends became pregnant a few months after Norah had died, and because I process everything through writing I wrote her a letter to give to her over dinner (totally normal, right?). I wanted to be the best friend that I could be in this new season of her life, and one of the ways I have been able to do that is by tackling the awkwardness head-on.

I used this letter as a roadmap to help us navigate an uncomfortable experience, knowing each of us is simply trying to love the other well in the season that they’re in.

Supporting others in their parenthood can be, well, a whole thing after your experience of motherhood or becoming a parent has been full of heartache. But when we can have tender, open, and honest conversations about our experiences, it can be so, so good.


The letter to my pregnant friend:

Hey, Mama!

I can’t believe it!!!! It happened! If I haven’t hugged you already, consider this a hug times a million. I know the road to get here was paved with uncertainty and fear, and love, my heart is absolutely bursting with joy for you and the hubs on your fresh new parenthood.

This is a magical, beautiful, joyful, overwhelming and (slightly) terrifying phase of life you’re entering; it will truly be the greatest adventure of your lives. It will pick you up and knock you down in more ways than you could ever imagine. Your marriage will look 100% different after adding ‘mommy’ and ‘daddy’ to your resumes, but in the absolute best of ways.


I’m selfishly so happy that there is another new mama in my tribe. Parenthood rearranges your world in a huge way, a way that is hard to understand until you experience it yourself.

While our version of parenthood looks different than the norm, I absolutely loved being pregnant and I am so, so glad that I can be there for you when things get weird – and hormones are involved so, darlin, they will get WEIRD. 

Along with my excitement for you comes a lot of griefy weirdness. I have zero idea what navigating this will be like for us or what to expect on this new journey, but I’m familiar with some of the terrain so I’m going to fill you in. I’m hoping that this will help you to not be caught off guard or hurt by any of our actions that are, well, less than normal.

Love, I just need you to know that any weirdness you’ll feel from us has and will always have zero percent to do with you and 100% to do with us missing Norah.

Norah has a better wardrobe than I do :)

Norah has a better wardrobe than I do :)

Before Baby Comes

I love this one-on-one time with you. I want to be there for you through your pregnancy, planning with you, dreaming with you. But being around big groups of people joyfully dreaming for your new little family may be uncomfortable for us. It’s hard to hear about the likely reality of a child leaving the hospital and growing up when our story didn’t have that same happy ending. That’s why I may be weird at group things, I may show up and leave early, or I may not show up at all. This is also why I will 100% unfollow you on Facebook/Insta/everywhere, but please POST ALL THE FUN MOMMY THINGS! Fill your feed with baby bliss, you’ll just have to fill me in later :)

I may seem a little disconnected, and because of that let’s make a point to get together regularly. I don’t care if it’s once a month or every week, but I want to see you as much as possible to make sure I don’t let my grief impact our relationship.

Welcome, Baby!

This season holds the biggest unknown. I may be able to visit you and your little one or I may not for a while. I very likely won’t hold them – not because they won’t be the squishiest, most adorable pile of love in the world, but because the last child to be in my arms was Norah, and the only time I was blessed to feel her entire weight or hold her in a natural way was at the funeral home. Lane is the same; with Norah passing away in his arms there are a lot of emotions surrounding holding babies for him too. So please, please don’t be offended if we visit you, but refuse to hold your little one. And if for some reason it takes us a long time to come visit you, maybe even months, it’s only because it’s easier to see a baby that’s not so close to the newborn stage of Norah.

And lastly, if I seem awkward when your awesome mama is being the amazing grandma that she is, please know I’m just missing my mom and dreaming of all the amazing grandma-ing she would’ve done.


Ok, that’s enough heavy weirdness.

Whatever you do, love, don’t be afraid. Do not allow Norah’s death to cause you guys to lose one single ounce of joy from your experience of parenthood – she simply wouldn’t allow it.

Honor Norah and honor us by appreciating every single moment of your pregnancy, every single hard moment during labor, every single breath your newborn takes. Celebrate every little detail – each new week, each doctor’s appointment, every single heartbeat, every hair on their head. Post a million photos. Be obsessed.

As a mama who prayed for months for the possibility to experience those things, don’t take them for granted.

You are truly blessed more than you could possibly know.


“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” — Psalm 139:13-16