For comedian Michelle Buteau, life and motherhood are a balancing act. The busy actress is preparing for the release of her latest film, “Babes,” while juggling her family which includes twins, Hazel and Otis.

“When people ask me how I’m doing, boy what a loaded question, but really, I’m occupying two states. It’s grief and gratitude. The losses that I’ve had but the children that I do have,” Buteau told 21Ninety.

Buteau is open about her struggles with infertility which have included four miscarriages and several rounds of IVF. She and her husband eventually had their twins, who are now five, via surrogate. The long journey to motherhood has given Buteau a unique perspective on the whirlwind that is parenting two little ones.

“For me being tired is a privilege. Being a tired mom is a privilege. Having a dirty kitchen full or love and weird things on the floor and I hope it’s playdo is also a privilege,” Buteau explained. “I don’t know if I’m a weirdo that way. But when people ask me how I’m doing. I actually tell them and they’re like I got to get off this elevator.”

A New Movie Centered on Motherhood

Buteau’s new film is set to release on May 17. In the film, fellow comedian Ilana Glazer stars as Eden who gets pregnant from a one night stand. She leans on Buteau’s character, Dawn, who is a mother of two. Buteau acknowledges that the film really does feel like art imitating her life in many aspects.

“There were so many parts of the film where I’m like ‘I relate to this and I know about this,'” Buteau said.

She says she along with Glazer and the film’s director were committed to making sure the portrayal of childbirth and motherhood felt authentic.

“We all had these very different interpretations of what that is, what healthcare is,” Buteau said. “But how do we come together and make it this story but also positive but real. And so, I just love the mindfulness with just approaching each scene.”

Black Maternal Health and a Message to Daughters

Buteau is also very vocal about how being a Black woman impacted her care during her journey to motherhood. She says she experienced racism and dismissal in healthcare spaces. She has now started contemplating how she will guide her own daughter when she eventually starts occupying medical spaces by herself.

“Now that I have a daughter I really have to think about the tools I want to give her.” Buteau said. “If I have to liken it to a list, the way I would send her in to get an oil change at Jiffy Lube. Everything has to be matter of fact. You have to do your research before you go in. If somebody knows more than you do then how do you even ask questions.”

The comedian says it’s unfortunate that this is the advice she has to give her friends and daughter but recognizes the necessity. One of her biggest pieces of advice to other Black women is to seek out medical professionals who look like them.

“I also encourage my friends and encourage my daughter to go see female doctors of color so you can have a conversation without feeling like you’re taking up someones time. You have to check your tone. You’re going to be reprimanded,” Buteau said.

The mother of two says she wants to ensure the safety and mental health of those she knows and loves.

“Whether or not people want to think that that is real or not, it is. It is real,” Buteau said. “Instead of debating if it’s real or not, much like racism, it’s like ok how do we push forward and how do we protect ourselves.”