Ali Wong’s first special Baby Cobra debuted on Netflix last Friday, but she’s got plenty else on her mind. The stand-up and writer for ABC’s Fresh Off The Boat recorded the hour while she was seven months pregnant; that was in September. As she told Paste in a recent interview, “The baby’s out!”
Her impending motherhood is a prominent theme in Baby Cobra, which is largely a (very funny) look of the challenges facing women who want to maintain equally fulfilling domestic and creative lives. (For more on that, read that interview, already.) In her own words, here are six things that surprised Wong most about motherhood.
1. On abandoning her child
“I didn’t expect to be so comfortable handing my child off to a nanny without getting any of her information. As soon as she arrived at my house, I threw my baby in her arms and went to Target. She gave me her driver’s license a week after—she was like, ‘Uh, you should probably have my address, since you gave me the keys to your house and your child.’ And we were like, ‘Oh, yeah, that’s probably a good idea.’”
2. On excrement
“I did not expect to have poo be on my mind so much. How much she poos, the consistency of it—and then also after having the C-section, I was consumed by me having to poo. It’s a major surgery—the anesthesia makes your colon lazy and then you don’t shit for like a week. So I didn’t expect that.”
3. On the Sisyphean nature of breastfeeding
“It used to take like an hour to breastfeed her. I’d have to get a pillow in place, and then I’d put a towel on one boob, because when your titties spout out milk—when you’re sucking out of one boob, it’s not like the other boob will just stop. It’s like crying, and asking one eye to stop crying. Both eyes make tears. So I put a towel on one titty and it just takes a really long time to breastfeed her. And then she’d poo and I’d change her diaper, change her outfit, and then she’d be hungry again. And then I’d breastfeed her all over again, start the whole cycle all over again. So it’s relentless.”
4. On her sex life
“I did not expect how much I would not feel like a sexual being anymore. How much my body would still continue to be sacrificed to the baby.”
5. On laughter and exhaustion
“I also did not expect to laugh out loud so much, from my baby. [Asked if this is a side effect of exhaustion:] Yeah, but—it was really hard when I was going on the road, doing B rooms, waking up at four in the morning for flights, waking up the next day for radio. That was worse—that sleep deprivation and that loneliness was way worse.”
6. On the highest highs
“But the highs I’ve experienced are highs that I’ve never experienced in my life. It’s simple stuff—the first time she laughed, I’d just kissed her cheek a bunch of times in a row and she started giggling. And I just felt this euphoria. It’s really simple, but I was really, really excited.”
Seth Simons is a Brooklyn-based writer, performer, and birdwatcher. Follow him @sasimons.