Andrea is a 35-year-old pregnant, neurotic single lesbian. She wets herself when she sneezes, she pukes at the roadside and pretends that she’s praying, and she worries about getting a girlfriend.
“I hope I have a super-wide vagina. I certainly will after birth. I know this isn’t sexually ideal for most women, but I think lesbians like a wide, stretched-out vagina on their partner. The more she can shove in there, the more sexual prowess she thinks she has. Maybe someday this will be one of my selling points.”
My Miserable, Lonely, Lesbian Pregnancy is extremely funny. It follows Andrea’s pregnancy from the days of sperm-hunting to insemination to birth, but it’s also the story of her complicated relationship with her ex-girlfriend, family, Jewish community, lesbian community and therapists (she is from Los Angeles, after all).
The book is a mixture of fascinating insights into pregnancy and hysterical hysteria:
“Week 9. I take a bath to try to relax. The books say baths in the first trimester are okay as long as the temperature doesn’t go above 98 degrees. The bath feels perfect, warm but not too hot. But to be safe I take out my basal body thermometer, the one I used to track my cycle, and take the bath’s temperature. 103 degrees. I’m sure now, at 3:45 a.m. that I’ve boiled my baby.”
“Week 34. With just six weeks to go, the Birthing Centre strongly advises beginning perineal massage to avert ripping the vagina or the need for an episiotomy (cutting the perineum) during childbirth.
“Instructions for perineal massage: place the thumb into the vagina and press back towards the anus until a stinging sensation is felt. Hold the thumb in place for two minutes or until the area becomes numb. For three to four minutes, slowly massage back and forth the lower half of the vagina, working the lubricant into the tissue.
“Perineal massage is best done with a partner. I find it very difficult to lean over my belly and insert the thumb at the proper angle. Instead, I take the backdoor approach and use my middle finger. I press it gently, and ow. I have a lot of stretching to do.”
Despite the name, My Miserable, Lonely, Lesbian Pregnancy is surprisingly uplifting. It’s an unflinchingly intimate story, wrapped in black humour but delivered with honesty and warmth.
Review by Milly Shaw