After a TikTok showing my night doula went viral, I was shamed for not taking care of my newborn. But there’s no badge of honor for struggling as a mom.

·3 min read
Brittany Bright and her family
Brittany Bright, right, her husband, Marquis, and their two children.Courtesy of Brittany Bright
  • Brittany Bright is a mom of two, and she hired a doula to help with her newborn overnight.

  • In December, a TikTok showing her night routine when a doula is there went viral.

  • This is her story, as told to Ronny Maye.

One of the things I value is incorporating self-care into my routine. That includes outsourcing services so I can redirect my attention and show up fully for those who depend on me.

For my family, that meant hiring Camille, a doula, as additional support during and after my second pregnancy.

In December 2021, I posted my nighttime routine as a mother of two on TikTok. I shared that from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m., my partner Marquis and I were off duty because the care of our newborn, Maddox, was in the hands of Camille.

The comments were mostly supportive, but no viral video goes without criticism. Viewers made wild generalizations shaming me for hiring an overnight doula. People called me names, judged my parenting, and commented on how much money my family must have.

To me, what's shameful is the expectation that moms must never ask for help. Even after literally bringing life into this world, it was unfathomable that I was prioritizing time for myself.

We needed to hire a doula

In 2016, I experienced complications during labor with my now 5-year-old son Jaxon, caused by a fibroid the size of a grapefruit in my uterus. Despite my concerns, doctors insisted that the tumor was not an issue.

However, Jaxon was born via emergency C-section, leaving me traumatized and suffering from postpartum depression.

Part of a doula's role is to advocate for mothers and families. I didn't have anyone advocating for me during my first pregnancy, so I wanted a doula the second time around.

We reached out to Arkansas Family Doulas and were blessed with godsend Camille.

My partner and mother could only do so much

Some of the comments on my TikTok video suggested that my family and spouse should have been the only help that I needed.

While I had that support, Camille brought a level of expertise that none of us had. My family was helpful with Jaxon but no one, including me, knew exactly how to help me after a traumatic birthing experience.

Imagine being new parents, still shouldering household tasks, work responsibilities, marriage, and more all while trying to repair yourself during bouts of depression and forming a bond with this precious newborn. It was mentally and emotionally taxing.

With Maddox, we were 10 hours away from family and only had my mother for a month, but having my partner, mother, and our doula working in harmony made a world of difference.

My mom focused on taking care of the house and cooking for all of us, my husband took care of our 5-year-old, and my doula took care of me and our newborn son. This group effort eradicated the feelings of being overwhelmed, tired, or stressed.

I wish more people knew about doulas

There were also comments on my video from women who never wanted children but are now reconsidering because doula services exists.

I want new mothers, new parents, and growing families to know it's OK to ask for help. You can't pour from an empty cup and be the best you can be if you're not whole.

We're not supposed to struggle, nor is there a badge of honor for doing so. Having a village of people you can trust is of the utmost importance. That quick glimpse into my life showed millions another side of motherhood. For that, I am grateful.

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