Motherhood: It Gets Easier (And Harder And Easier and Vascillates Back And Forth Forever)

I still remember very clearly the first few early days of being a new mom. It wasn’t that long ago; just last year around this time.

I remember being in the hospital with the baby, alone on the first night and wondering, “Now what?” The baby slept and cried; I fed him at my breast, or tried to, my body a mangled, freshly cut pile of deli meat, wrapped in bandages and stitched together, swollen and bloody. Not one of my better looks. I took a photo because I wanted to remember the rawness of the moment. I won’t share it here now because it’s graphic and still too soon. Maybe someday I will feel comfortable sharing it with the world at large. For now, enjoy a photo of the old me, in Scotland, years before I was even thinking about having a baby. (photo by Ben Lerman)

When I left the hospital, I was petrified. I was in pain and numb at the same time. My husband drove us to our apartment where our family met us with bagels, very excited to see the baby. When they left, my husband and I looked at each other and the sheer reality and fear set in. We were parents, alone, a family, alone. Just us three. I wasn’t sure if I should do a handstand or cower in the corner.

The days passed so slowly, yet I can’t believe a year has gone by. I remember the terror of our first doctor visit when we learned the baby had lost a pound; the sound of his tiny screams as we worked out how and when to feed him, his adorable face and my tears dropping onto it as I came to grips with the death of the old me and the birth of my son and my new self. The death of my own childhood. I’d postponed it for as long as I could.

Eventually, ever so slowly, we began to get the hang of things. I learned to read his cues to know when he was hungry or tired and how to help him. I learned how to dress him and bathe him and make him smile. I learned to put my old life away and start a new one, and then take my old life out of the closet, shake it out and use the fabric from it to make a quilt with my new one. I learned how to sleep, shower, eat, exercise, clean, make art, have sex, write, work, play my instrument, grocery shop, put on makeup, do all the things in my day to day that I used to do without a baby, now with a baby.

I remember the first time I drove my car after the baby was born, I felt like a teenager again, getting into the driver’s seat at 16 with a new license. It was so liberating and exciting. I felt like I was flying; like I was reborn.

I don’t think I knew that there would be such a metamorphosis from woman in the world to mother. It was one of the many, many things about motherhood that no one really tells you, probably because they can’t; they can’t explain it, or they forget, or it wasn’t their experience. But it was mine, and it may be yours, too.

Now I’m a mother and I see the world differently. I see my mother differently, and all mothers, and all women. I see comedy differently and hear music differently. My diet is different, many of my interests and hobbies and passions have changed or evolved or ended. Some have not.

As I venture on into year two, I understand that things will get easier, and harder again, and then easier and harder, and that’s how it will be, from now until forever.

As the baby begins to learn to communicate, things get a little easier. As he learns to walk, things get easier in some ways and harder in others. As he gains his independence, things get easier and harder.

I am excited and fearful and wary to see what being a mom looks like at 2 years, 5 years, 10 years, if I am allowed the chance to continue on, with politics and health and nature to contend with, the future as ever is uncertain. But I’ll cross my fingers and hope for the best.

It makes me think of all the nature shows on Netflix that I watch before I fall asleep at night. They use the term, “successful mother” a lot. A successful mother in nature is one who is able to keep all their offspring alive for the first year or two until they can go be alive on their own.

We human mothers have a much harder job. The law says 18 years, many of our instincts / hearts / souls say until we take our last breath. Now that my son is here, my life seems mapped out in front of me very clearly in a way that it never has been before. I feel for the first time ever, I have a real duty, above and beyond all my other pithy tasks, errands, jobs and responsibilities in life that have come before. I only hope, like the animal characters that David Attenborough speaks so highly of, that I can be a success. It’s truly the only success I care about anymore. Sure, I still have dreams, I still have aspirations, I still have hopes and I still love and care and seek knowledge and have passion. But being a mom has given me a newfound sense of duty, and I really do love this role. It feels like I got a promotion in life from pawn to Queen, not to say that any woman who does not have children is “merely” a pawn, that is just how I personally felt — like I was waiting for my life to begin. I accept the position, the pay cut, the extra work and all that comes with it, the good and the bad.

I accept and with honor.

Jessica Delfino is a comedian, musician, writer and new mom who writes about life with one baby, one husband and one cat. She is currently developing a TV show about motherhood and writes about #momlife at,, her blog Jessy Delfino’s Blog, on The Coo on Facebook and Twitter, and more.

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