Pregnancy is magical. When you become pregnant, you unknowingly enter into a world of physical/emotional/spiritual shifts previously unprecedented in your sad, miserable, meaningless existence. Once you become a life-giving precious vessel to the tiny miracle inside of you, everything changes.
Your body, no longer your own.
Your emotions, foreign even to your sweet husband who has until this point endured monthly mood swings comparable to natural disasters.
Your spirit, broken.
I wake up in the morning joyously anticipating what new discovery my body brings. Every day is different. Yesterday, it was foot cleavage coming out of my cute little Frye ballet flats. Today, it was a gush of vaginal discharge rushing out of me, through my underwear and onto my pants while chatting with a coworker in the staff kitchen. “Excuse me,” I said, as I pushed past her and to the ladies room to investigate the strange, sticky, visually horrifying mess between my legs.
Until this point, I’ve considered my vagina to be relatively predictable; a loyal partner in life. I know what she likes. Latex, no. Probiotics, yes. Riding a bike with a very hard seat, no. Cotton crotch underwear, yes. Sitting for too long in wet bathing suit bottoms, no. Brazilian bikini wax, no. God no.
Historically, I’ve considered our relationship to be mutually beneficial. I’ve done everything I can to keep her happy, and for the most part, she does the same for me. But now, it’s like I don’t even know her anymore.
The thing is, nobody really prepares you for any of this. Your midwife/OB-GYN/witch doctor will display a surprisingly low level of empathy as you painfully describe first trimester symptoms, like nausea, vomiting, weight loss and migraines. “Hmmm,” she will say. “Are you taking your prenatals?”
“Vitamins?!,” you will think to yourself. Here you are describing the worst hangover you’ve ever had on top of flu symptoms and this woman wants to know if you’re taking your goddamn vitamins? “No,” you will say. “No I am not taking my vitamins.”
“It might help with your symptoms,” she will respond flatly.
The discussion of vitamins to me seems like an enormous waste of an hour-long prenatal appointment with a trained medical professional. Instead of talking about stupid stuff like whether or not my maternal grandmother had high blood pressure, I would have preferred she took me by the hand, looked me in the eye, and sincerely asked me if I had ever had anything come out of my vagina that resembled caulk/gutter water/sinus infection snot.
Make good use of my time here, and let me know that in the coming weeks my nether regions will explode with a substance I’ve only ever seen in Ghostbusters and that it’s completely normal. No, my husband isn’t stepping out on me to bring home venereal disease. No, my vagina is not melting into a puddle of goo. It’s “leukorrhea,” (the root for which is leukemia + horror + diarrhea) a completely harmless and very normal byproduct of the miracle of human gestation.
Speaking of white gooey substances here is a simple, quick and satisfying recipe to try (when your appetite has recovered from all the vaginal discharge talk). I’m talking meat and veggies in a pan with some white Gruyere sauce poured all over it – perfection. Now if you never want to see anything white and creamy again after reading this, you can always substitute the Gruyere for a medium cheddar. Obviously, I strongly recommend serving this with hot sauce. (If I can’t put hot sauce on it at this point, fuck it, I’m not eating it.)
Sweet Potato, Kale, and Sausage Bake with White Cheese Sauce
Adapted from Pinch of Yum/serves 4-6
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed (3-4 cups)
- 16 ounces Italian pork or chicken sausage, cut into small rounds
- 2 cups low sodium chicken broth
- ¾ cup milk
- ¼ cup flour
- ¾ cup shredded Gruyere cheese
- 2 cups finely chopped kale
- Heat the olive oil in a large pan over high heat. Add the sweet potatoes and Italian sausage. Shake to coat in oil, let sit for a few minutes to brown, and shake the pan gently again to move everything around. Repeat until the sweet potatoes and sausage both have golden brown exteriors. Toss with the kale and transfer to a greased 9-inch square baking dish.
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bring the broth and ½ cup milk to a low boil, then turn the heat to keep it at a low simmer. Whisk the flour and remaining ¼ cup milk to form a thick paste. Add this to the broth, whisking to keep the sauce smooth. Add ¼ cup Gruyere and stir until melted.
- Pour the sauce over the sweet potatoes, kale, and sausage in the baking dish. Top with remaining ½ cup cheese and bake for 10 minutes or until the sauce is bubbly and the cheese is melted.