Normally, when we see comedian Michelle Buteau, she’s bubbly and hilarious. But in her personal life, there were five years when she was struggling with infertility. And with that came discrimination from doctors and insensitive comments from friends and family.
Thankfully, Buteau’s infertility journey ended happily with the birth of healthy twins—a boy and a girl she and her husband named Otis and Hazel. They’re almost 2 now.
If you follow Buteau on social media, you know that for the most part, she keeps their little faces hidden. But recently, Buteau posed with both of her children for the cover shoot of Parents magazine.
She shared the image on her Instagram page, writing:
This is my first magazine cover. It’s a big deal. For someone who’s been told for years that I wouldn’t be able to carry a child and that I’m too fat to be on camera – here I am on the cover of Parents magazine, holding my beautiful, healthy twins in a dope plus size onesie with a wedgie I’ll never get to.
This election is more important than ever because diversity matters.
Access to healthcare matters.
Alternative family planning matters.
For the cover story, Buteau was interviewed by fellow comedian Wanda Sykes—who also happens to have a set of boy-girl twins.
You can check out highlights from their conversation below.
Parenting them can be overwhelming at times, like I’m the only waitress working Thanksgiving at a diner. But then when they play with each other, I’m like, “This is so beautiful,” because I’ve always wanted someone to play with. I’m an only child, and I think it’s a miracle that they will always have each other and have this bond. Plus, people are into twins. I get stopped in the street. Twins make people happy.
Parenting in a pandemic
I didn’t know if I could do it. Up until then I had always had help with the babies. So being alone with them, it felt like I was snorkeling for the first time and didn’t know how to breathe yet. I felt bad for being impatient. I don’t want to be that parent yelling all the time. I was so tired that I had to write down who pooped! But I quickly learned that it’s all about taking five in the bathroom, recollecting your thoughts, putting on the TV, giving them a crayon, letting them eat the crayon. Don’t quote me!
Realizing that I can do this. Up until the pandemic, we had an amazing nanny, and I had friendships. Now that we’re really broken in as a family, I feel like, “Oh wow, I got this.
Given the cultural climate right now—and as it has always been in this country, Wanda Sykes asked Buteau how she plans to raise the next generation of more sensitive and aware children.
For me, growing up in a very working-class Irish- and Italian-Catholic part of New Jersey, it was really annoying that I felt like the Obama at every dinner table, where I had to explain to people what colonialism is and how diverse the Caribbean is. There’s no excuse for us not to know anymore. There’s Google, there’s YouTube. The world does feel smaller with social media—that’s probably one of the good parts. It’s important to be educated and have conversations about derogatory words and colorism. I don’t ever want my kids to feel bad for being who they are.
You can read Michelle Buteau’s full interview, here.