I was older than most women who decide to have children. In fact, once I became pregnant, my medical provider let it slip that I was in a category called “elderly primigravida,” (“old first-timer”) although I had been pregnant numerous other times before that with children I did not bring to term. I didn’t argue. Neither did I get pregnant right away. When I was trying to get pregnant (that’s how to strip all the urgency out of, “When I knew I would die if I did not have a baby”), my medical doctor told me that it was unwise to combine artificially inseminated sperm with sperm acquired directly from a friend’s penis. The problem, he said, was that sperm was naturally chauvinistic; sperm from Source A would usually try to kill off or suppress sperm from Source B. In fact, he suggested that prostitutes who do not insist on condoms or use other birth control become pregnant at lower than expected rates because of the natural aggressivity of sperm. I, however, was not convinced, and I continued to bed actual penis-bearing lovers while charging my insurance for the inseminations. Because I knew that otherwise I was going to die! And that’s how I became pregnant with a set of twins from both expensive, thawed sperm and another set from a guy named Peter Cobb, a jack-of-all-trades from my home state that flew into town to help me out in my time of need. Although the world just sees them as flat out quadruplets, my children are two sets of twins from what is called heteropaternal superfecundation. One sperm fertilized this extra egg I let fly when my womb was already hosting another fertilized egg. I mean wow! What are the chances?
As the result of the purchased sperm’s successful encounter with my egg, two people emerged from my body. I named them Paolo and Helen. What attractive, mystical, eager and intelligent people they are! I named the second set, for which I have Peter Cobb to thank, Fabian and Clio. These two look significantly different from their other two siblings–blonde where Paolo and Helen are dark, short where the others are tall. Fabian has a pronounced competitive instinct that we keep trying to channel to cooperativeness; but he is also warm and good-natured, and not an angry sort of person. Clio is a cunning little minx, and in fact I don’t know if I could love her so much if she were not my daughter. I would never tell her this and should not have written it down. She seems to want to make it a challenge for anyone to love her. She’s, and I say this with compassion, a topper. I believe she is reacting to the fucked-up nature of our society’s expectations for women, and so really, all I can do is applaud her. From a little ways back, lol.
Helen is a maker of things—bags and collages and music and pots—dreamy-beautiful, who loves to spend time with Paolo, who is class president and team captain and a lover of nature. Paolo has recently started dating, so Helen has too. All four children were supposed to be going on a class trip to Montreal, but Clio has come down with a cold. So she and I will stay here and drink hot soup. Maybe we’ll watch some Justine Triet.
Here’s what I know from Paolo: Helen was sitting with her date, Manny, on the school bus to Montreal. At a truckstop near the border, when she went in to get an apple and some water, she was abducted at gunpoint by a man who shoves her into his Peugeot. Manny, Paolo and Fabian abandon the school group to give pursuit; they throw rocks at the Peugeot. One of them— not sure who—while running and rock-chucking, calls Clio’s boyfriend, Aga, who was still on the bus, to come join them. He does. Nevertheless, the Peugeot gets away. Twitter reports that they went to an armed compound / sex cult in WaTroy, Ontario.
Much to their surprise, wings sprouted out of Manny, Paolo, Fabian, and Aga’s ankles as they followed the Peugeot to WaTroy….The battle was on!! It’s all over Twitter and the NYT. The standoff even has its own reddit thread. It seems like Peugeot is doomed! It’s just a question of time. It’s a story that has been told before and could be told again.
In any case, it’s not my story. It’s my kids’ story. I am letting them all go. I'm just going to keep on having kids. And someday I’ll die, but I’ll be forgotten long before that. My tombstone will say Leda, Beloved Mother and Breeder. Polyamorist. Zoophile.