Andrea Askowitz


Andrea Askowitz is a full-time mom, writer and founder of Bike Out, a non-profit created to introduce gay and lesbian inner city kids to the outdoors. She performs and produces the program "Lip Service: True Stories Out Loud" at Books & Books in Coral Gables, Florida.

“Andrea Askowitz brilliant debut memoir is the exact kind of thing I’m always looking for at the bookstore—something that reads like an intimate yet super funny, painfully true letter from my very best friend. Andrea is like a girl version of David Sedaris or Augusten Burroughs, mining perfect comedic moments from the very worst of life’s offerings. You don’t have to be miserable, lonely or a lesbian to completely relate to the hilarious journey that is Andrea’s life.”—Jill Soloway, writer on Six Feet Under

“This is one whiny, bitchy pregnant lady—and you can’t help but love her. Askowitz is funny and fearless.”—Louise Sloan, author of Knock Yourself Up: A Tell-All Guide to Becoming a Single Mom

“Hilarious and all too true. After my own miserable lesbian pregnancy, Andrea Askowitz’s confessions cheered me up immeasurably.”—Ariel Gore, author of The Hip Mama Survival Guide


An antidote to sugar-sweet pregnancy guides and memoirs, her debut My Miserable Lonely Lesbian Pregnancy is a funny, whiny, all-too-real account of one girl’s true adventure in maternity. Andrea gives Kara Wuest an update on motherhood and the aftermath of her candid confessionals.

KW: After years of planning to have a child with your partner, you wound up single at 34 and baby hungry. What did deciding to bear a child on your own feel like?

AA: I always imagined I’d have a partner and create a family. But because I’m a lesbian I think I was already used to the idea of creating a family in a different way. So at first, deciding to have a child on my own felt like a necessary decision. I was approaching 35 and I didn’t want to lose the chance. I was scared, but I felt strong. I never expected to be so depressed and lonely the way I was when I actually got pregnant.

KW: Becoming a mother was something you had dreamed of since being a kid yourself. How did you go about getting pregnant?

AA: When I reached 30 and I didn’t have a husband and two kids, I realized I had to do a little more planning. At first, when Kate and I were still together, her brother offered to donate sperm. But Kate didn’t want me to be entangled with her brother and she didn’t know how we’d explain his relationship to the kid, so she nixed that idea. I really wanted to know the donor so I resisted going to a sperm bank idea until I exhausted all other options. I asked this wonderful man named Erik who said he would help me and then he ended up having no sperm. So suddenly I was a lesbian with male fertility problems.

One surprising thing I learned during this time was that when a lesbian makes it known that she wants to get pregnant, lots of guys say they want to have sex with her. I wasn’t about to do that for lots of reasons, mostly legal. And I realized with the Erik experience what a deep, emotional commitment this was. So I went online and picked my sperm, much like Internet dating. I’m so glad, in the end, that I did it that way.

KW: After the sixth-month mark, you declare that your mission is now to tell everyone just how terrible pregnancy can feel. In your book, you spare none of the details: 24-7 nausea, ex-girlfriend drama, depression, and flaky friends. Did you ever question how much to reveal?

AA: I think I have a different sense than most people for what is private and what is public. And I don’t really care if someone knows something about me that might be embarrassing. I also think that real details make for a much more interesting story and those are the details I want to know when I read or hear someone else’s story. So, while I’ve been accused of being an exhibitionist, I like to think that I’m just generous with details.

The hard part though, even for me, is knowing how much of someone else’s story to reveal, because all of my stories involve other people. Like with Kate, I hope she knows that I wrote what I wrote out of love. If not, I’m sure I’ll hear about it. But like with Robin, that was even harder because she can’t rebut. Her mom is really angry about some of the ways I portrayed her. And I feel terrible that I’m hurting my friend’s mom, who I love, and who lost her daughter. So I struggled a lot with what to write about Robin (and whose name I changed). Ultimately, after talking to all of my friends and family and my writing mentors, I decided that I have to tell my stories the way I feel them. And thank God I have the family I have. My dad, for instance, said, “That’s your story, I can always tell mine.”

KW: Did having a child make you closer to your family?

AA: Absolutely. Growing up, I thought I had the best family. My mom, especially, was my biggest fan. Then at 23, I came out and everyone freaked, even my dad, who’s totally mellow, and my brother, who for years tried to set me up with his fraternity brothers. My mom was the worst. She suddenly got concerned with how much makeup I was wearing and if I had armpit hair. She acted like she was embarrassed of me, even though she’s a total feminist, but I think her biggest fear and sadness was that her baby was not going to have a baby. So it really changed the minute Tashi was born. My mom is back to being my biggest fan and my brother has stopped trying to set me up with frat boys.

I realized something else after my daughter was born—that maybe much of the distance was coming from me. I felt like an outsider for years with my family and I think it was because I didn’t feel like a legitimate family member. Not because of anything they were doing, but I saw myself as the crazy, alternative, hippie kid, living alone in Venice, California and riding my bike everywhere while my brother was a home-owner and a father of three. Maybe my emotional exile had nothing to do with them. That realization was both sad and liberating.

KW: Some of the most touching parts of the book describe your friend Robin, who died of cancer shortly after giving birth. Was your friendship an inspiration to you?

AA: I think Robin was the first woman I was in love with. She was my best friend in high school. By the time she died, we weren’t friends like we had been, but being pregnant sort of brought her to life for me. Robin was the authority on most things, including pregnancy. She was the first in my group of friends to have kids, so when I’d ask Janet for advice, that advice had trickled down from Robin. Also, I had a big fibroid. Robin thought she had a fibroid while she was pregnant, which turned out to be terrible cancer.

Robin didn’t think I should get pregnant alone, so I was mad at her about that. Throughout my pregnancy, I held on to this feeling that she didn’t believe in me the way she had in high school. This was all in my head, of course, because it was too late to ask her how she felt.

Depression is such an interesting and terrible thing because it can really distort your entire perception. While I was depressed and pregnant, I saw Robin as a coward. I was mad at her for not being more emotive, mostly because she didn’t talk to me before she died about how scared she was. She was always very stoic.

Then, once I had the baby and I wasn’t depressed anymore, I started to think of her differently. I sort of woke up and realized, Hey, Robin was an adult. She was a loving wife and mother who dealt with the worst thing possible: her own death, and she left two small children. I can’t think of many things sadder. And she was poised and elegant the whole time. To put it ridiculously mildly, she had real problems. Who knows how I would deal in that situation? Probably like a huge baby. I’m inspired by her now, that’s for sure.

KW: What was the biggest surprise about being pregnant?

AA: That it wasn’t fun.

KW: Late in your pregnancy you try to have sex with a man. Even your friend Ravi says, “But you’re a lesbian.” How would you describe your sexual identity ?

AA: I think sex can be just sex, although I prefer sex with love. But I have always enjoyed sex with men. So if I’m made to label myself, I’d say I’m a bisexual lesbian. I can have sex with a man and like it, but I can only love and have only been in love with a woman. That has been my experience.

KW: You held on tight to the idea of Kate for all of your pregnancy, even though you two had broken up months before you got pregnant. Would you characterize your feelings and actions as romanticism or fantasy?

AA: Now I see that I wasn’t exactly Florentino Ariza from Love in the Time of Cholera who held a spark for 50 years for the woman he loved. But then I really loved Kate and I wanted her back. I was a tragic romantic and also a fantasist. I had a selective memory problem. We loved each other, but my relationship with Kate was not so good.

KW: You say that having Tashi made you the best you that you have ever been. Has having a child affected your faith?

AA: This is such a hard question and I love it. If you are asking, did becoming a parent bring me closer to God, I don’t know. Because I still don’t quite know what God is. But if God is love, then something divine did happen to me. As corny as this sounds, since having Tashi, my capacity for love is more enormous than I ever thought possible.

If you’re asking about faith in terms of religion, then having a child has definitely affected my faith. My mom would say that I’m a total pagan, but since having Tashi, I care more about Judaism than I ever did before. Sometimes I even light candles on Shabbat. And this year I got really into Chanukah, which I usually regard as the bastard child of Christmas. I’m realizing that I want my daughter to be Jewish, if she wants to. She doesn’t need to have a Bat-Mitzvah or to go to synagogue, I just want her to feel she’s Jewish. For me, it’s about identity.

KW: Would you do it again?

AA: No. Next time I want to be the daddy.

KW: Are you still single?

AA: No. I’m totally in love.

I have one bit of advice or insight for women contemplating having a baby alone. Do it—especially if you have good friends and family around you. And a little money helps too. Women and I suspect men, will still be attracted to you with a baby on your hip. More so, I think.