Michelle Tea: "Inseminate When You Feel Pretty"

Is there a baby-spirit up there in the ether, looking down at me and saying "Fuck naw, that crazy bitch ain’t gonna pull me into her whirlwind and use me for blog fodder!"
Publish date:
August 6, 2012
pregnancy, getting pregnant with michelle tea, insemination, twins

"Inseminate when you feel pretty, and drink wheatgrass every day!" I get an email from my very pretty friend Lyra, who is also trying to get knocked up.

Inseminate when you feel pretty? I love that advice! But for reals – I ALWAYS feel pretty! I often catch a glimpse of myself in a mirror and am shocked – SHOCKED – that I am not as pretty as I feel! Part of my psyche truly believes I look exactly like Scarlett Johansson hawking Dolce and Gabbana makeup from the pages of Vogue, and is confused when that appears to not be the case. What is this strange affliction? Is it delusion, or really, really good self-esteem? Either way I do think the syndrome is linked to my basic joie de vivre, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I’m in a strange limbo, peeing on both Ovulation Sticks and Pregnancy Sticks. The preggers sticks keep saying Nay, so I try not to get obsessed with them and discipline myself to peeing on them every other day. I’m also a bit worried about my Clomid intake if I am, as Dr. Heidi has suggested, six weeks pregnant. It’s probably not great to pop these black market pills while gestating a fetus. Between that and the possibility of having The Clap I already feel like an unfit mother. I can’t have nice things!

As far as the ovulation sticks go, after months of squinting at faint pinkish lines I’ve come to understand that my Yes line is NEVER as dark as the control. It gets darker for sure, and then it gets lighter. I don’t know if this means I’m a weak ovulator or what -- can a woman be a weak ovulator? Either way, I can tell by the deeper shade of fuchsia that I’m ovulating, weakly or not.

I also know I was ovulating because of the weird energy I felt coursing down my legs last night while trying to sleep. It was like a current came alive in my vag and traveled down my legs to burn the soles of my feet.

Since paying this new, minute attention to my body I’ve recognized this phenomenon, which I’ve experienced a lot, to be synched up to my ovulation. Dashiell noticed my restlessness, murmuring from her pillow, “Do you want me to rub your legs for you?”

“It’s in my legs,” I mused, “But it’s really happening in my vag.”

“Do you want me to rub your vag for you?”

“Go to sleep!” I laughed.

In the morning, I went to acupuncture. I had a new practitioner, with long hair and a nose ring. She went through my files, and I told her I believed I was ovulating, and would be getting inseminated that night.

In the morning I would fly to New York to host a fundraiser for my non-profit. Confusion over who would send out the press releases led to none being sent out; the high cost of renting the venue required a ticket price I worried not much of our audience could afford. I wasn’t looking forward to the trip, which was proving to be a logistical nightmare we were bound to lose, not raise, money. But at this late date all I could do was show up and hope for the best.

But my acupuncturist didn’t think going to New York was a good idea either, and not just because the event was doomed to be a flop, with one of the headlining literary stars canceling at the last moment.

“It is not ideal for you to be flying on an airplane,” she told me. “How we see it, this is a time for you to be still, not to be running around. Just relaxing, taking it easy. It’s a dark time, but not in a bad way. We call it ‘yin time.’”

I breathe through a sudden and tremendous defensiveness. What if it’s not possible for me to "relax and take it easy"? I make my living running a non-profit and writing. Which means I make my living hustling.

I can’t really recall a time in my life when it would have been reasonable for me relax and take it easy, and the thought that I might not be able to get pregnant unless I adopt a lifestyle off limits to most working women fills me with class rage. But it flares so quick and fierce that I don’t trust it at all. I’m triggered!

While I seethe at this woman, who I have labeled a tool of the patriarchy; as I bite my tongue so as not to lash out with quips like, ‘Cool, I’ll just put my whole life and livelihood on hold and hang out and get Yinny with it,’ she perhaps senses an Occupy Acupuncture revolt ready to happen, and speaks again. And she is not judgmental, or unkind.

“All kinds of amazing things happen at different times,” She says gently. “No one is to say. It is only what’s ideal.”

And I agree with her. It would be totally ideal to not have to fly to New York in the morning. It would be ideal for it not to lose money, money I have pledged to my Managing Director to reimburse for having dropped the ball with the press. It would be ideal if I didn’t forget my computer in Brooklyn, having to take the train back in, thus being late for the show and not even needing the computer anyway because the filmmaker didn’t bring the DVD. None of this is Yin activity.

I’m all Yanged out, and I fear that this is not only my primary or default setting, it’s my only setting. I might be wholly devoid of Yin.

I am pretty freaking New Agey, with my tarot cards and my New Moon intention lists and color-coded candles. But I try to steer clear of woo-woo philosophies that say if we haven’t banished every bit of stress and are floating at all times on a buoyant cloud of bliss and trust in the Universe, then we are responsible for every misfortune that comes our way, somehow manifesting it. It’s so victim blaming.

And yet, everyone knows that stress has an effect on the physical body. I fear I’m too ramped-up, running around, juggling a million projects and problems, behind on my emails (3,000+ currently unread), behind on Facebook (900+ messages currently unread), working on three novels and preparing to leave on a month-long performance tour of the United States.

Is there a baby-spirit up there in the ether, looking down at me and saying "Fuck naw, that crazy bitch ain’t gonna pull me into her whirlwind and use me for blog fodder! Hmmmmm, now look at that woman over sipping tea and reading Sunset Magazine all day, she’s hella Yinny, all yoga and green smoothies and long naps, that’s the shit I’m after!"

Fun Mom!!!!

Would I blame this baby? I would not.

And yet, if this were really how it worked, there would be no babies born into abusive families, or to homeless women or drug addicted women, or babies born into war zones or slavery or any other mind-numbingly stressful conditions that babies have always been born into.

In the grand scheme of things, I may work hard, but it’s creative work I love that happens on a computer. I’m kind of elite. And I’m so fun! Surely any baby-spirit spying on me from the ether would totally be like, "That one’s fun! Totally most likely to pull me out of middle school to spend a year eating microwave popcorn in the Caribbean! I pick that one!"

And not to stress myself out any further, but I only have Quentin for another four months, and then he is off to grad school. All fantasies aside, I am 41 and need all the help I can get. I have to figure out a way to get more Yinny, fast.

The acupuncturist asks me why I’m traveling to New York in the morning, and I tell her all about my doomed benefit and how stressed out I am about it. She takes my pulse.

“Try to relax,” she suggests. “Be good to yourself while you’re there.” We sit with her fingers gripping my wrist. “Your pulse is fast,” she says.

“I just drank coffee,” I say. Defensively. Officially sick of myself, I retire onto a recliner and receive my needles. As I drift away to the low chanting music piped through the room, I begin to pray. I pray for the willingness to drop any resistance I have to getting pregnant, any resistance I might not be consciously aware of. I pray for the understanding that I can conceive; I pray for the ability to believe in my body. I pray to whomever to help me conceive. I visualize babies. Suddenly I feel my heart totally open to the possibility of twins!

I had been dreading twins. I know they are more likely for late-life mothers. I know they are more likely for women who use any kind of fertility treatment. I see the double-strollers wheeled around San Francisco. My sister, having been asked by her OB receptionist if she was expecting multiple births, engaged the woman on the topic.

“We used to see twins once a month,” The receptionist said. “Now we see them multiple times a week.”

How will culture change as the result of so many twins, I wonder. I was in an LTR with a twin and noted how, with that primary bond the main reference points for relationships, all close friends and partners were sort of pushed into twin-ship. My ex delighted in friendships with other twins, because they already knew how to do it.

As babies, they barely needed their mother because they had each other. As adults, their bond is sort of love-hate; no one will ever be as important to them as the other, but they can fight like psychotics off their meds duking it out in a padded room. Later, the forgiveness is so tender it dips into twin-talk (yep, twins really do have their own language). Other twins I’ve known, though not as closely, seem to have similar dynamics with their other halves.

Needless to say, I don’t want to raise a couple of spooky freaks who talk shit about me in secret code. But there in my acupuncture chair, my heart opening, it opened to the possibility of twins. "If I have twins," I thought, "we’ll be able to name TWO babies!" That seemed exciting. But beyond anything, if became pregnant with twins that meant I'd be PREGNANT. Bring on the twins, I prayed. And Stevie, if you’re listening, bring me some yin.

My babeez!!!!!!