As I started to show enough for strangers to be confident enough to assume I was expecting, I began to dread this question. What would I say? I tried to come up with a plan for what I would say and how I would handle it. Would I say "yes" and then feel guilty? Or would I say "no", and then have to face the follow up questions that would inevitably follow? I scoured forums looking for advice on this from women who'd been there.
In the event, it just happened, and it just felt right to say yes. I was at work, it was a patient who was crossing paths with me for 20 minutes. I needed to maintain professionalism and did not want to reveal the deepest, most sensitive part of myself in that moment. So, "Yes" it was. Something along the lines of "oh, you must be so excited!" followed; whilst I outwardly smiled and nodded, and inwardly cringed and apologized to my son. After that first time, it has gotten easier. My rule now is, strangers get the "yes." Anyone I am likely to form a lasting relationship with in any way, gets the truth.
And it's OK.
I know Bertie doesn't mind. People who would have met and known him, know about him. Who else matters? I could speak about him to a stranger, upset myself, and they will feel sad for me for a few minutes, before moving on with their life and forgetting the both of us. So really, why spoil their day and mine? What is interesting to think about is whether I would have, could have, thought about it this way had I conceived this second baby within a year, or two, or even three of Bertie's death. Not that the four 1/2 year wait has made the issues around a rainbow pregnancy any easier per se- my grief has settled enough that it feels alright not to mention Bertie sometimes, to some people, in some situations. I know in the early weeks and months the idea of not mentioning him was unbearable to me, like I was denying his existence, and denying my status as a mother. What time has given me is the perspective that those who matter, know. And everything else is just expectations I have been putting on myself.