Michelle Obama opens up
Michelle Obama says she felt alone after a miscarriage 20 years ago, and she and husband Barack Obama underwent fertility treatments to conceive their two daughters, according to her upcoming memoir.
In some of her most extensive public comments on her White House years, the former US first lady also lets her fury fly over President Donald Trump’s ‘‘bigotry and xenophobia’’ – dangerous, deliberate rhetoric, she writes, that risked her family’s safety.
‘‘For this,’’ she never forgive him.’’
But it is her deeply personal account of her marriage to the future president that sheds new light on the Ivy League-educated couple’s early struggle with issues of family, ambition and public life.
‘‘We were trying to get pregnant and it wasn’t going well,’’ Obama, 54, writes in due for release on Wednesday. ‘‘We had one pregnancy test come back positive, which caused us both to forget every worry and swoon with joy, but a couple of weeks later I had a miscarriage, which left me physically uncomfortable and cratered any optimism we felt.’’
The Obamas opted for in-vitro fertilisation. Michelle Obama writes of being alone to administer herself shots to help hasten the process. Her ‘‘sweet, attentive husband’’ was at the state legislature, ‘‘leaving me largely on my own to manipulate my reproductive system into peak efficiency’’ writes, ‘‘I’d
is one of the most anticipated political books in recent years, ranking at the top of Amazon’s best-seller list yesterday. That’s often the case with the memoirs of former first ladies. But Obama defied her exalted status by cultivating an image of a modern woman with whom many Americans would like to sip wine and chat.
‘‘I felt like I failed, because I didn’t know how common miscarriages were, because we don’t talk about them,’’ the former first lady said in an interview broadcast on ABC’s
‘‘We sit in our own pain, thinking that somehow we’re broken.’’
She said the couple underwent fertilisation treatments to conceive daughters Sasha and Malia, now 17 and 20.
She also writes about falling in love. The Obamas met at Chicago law firm Sidley Austin LLP, and Michelle was sceptical at first. But she was then impressed by his ‘‘rich, even sexy baritone’’ and by his ‘‘strange, stirring combination’’ of serenity and power.
Their first kiss set off a ‘‘toppling blast of lust, gratitude, fulfillment, wonder’’, she writes.
Confronting racism in public life – being the first black first lady, wife of the nation’s first black president – has been a bracing experience, in Obama’s telling. She remembers being labelled ‘‘angry’’ and, by the Fox network, ‘‘Obama’s Baby Mama’’.
In the White House, she knew she would be labelled ‘‘other’’ and would have to earn the aura of ‘‘grace’’ given freely to her white predecessors. She found confidence in repeating to herself a favorite chant: ‘‘Am I good enough? Yes, I am.’’
In the memoir, Obama lets loose a blast of anger at Trump.
She writes that Trump’s questioning of whether her husband was an American citizen was ‘‘crazy and mean-spirited’’ – and ‘‘dangerous.’’ Trump suggested Obama was not born in the US but on foreign soil – his father was Kenyan. The former president was born in Hawaii.
‘‘What if someone with an unstable mind loaded a gun and drove to Washington? What if that person went looking for our girls?
‘‘Donald Trump, with his loud and reckless innuendos, was putting my family’s safety at risk. And for this, I’d never forgive him.’’
As he left for Paris yesterday, Trump chose not to respond to the former first lady, telling reporters: ‘‘Oh, I guess she wrote a book. She got paid a lot of money to write a book, and they always insisted you come up with controversial.’’
Trump instead changed the subject to his predecessor, Barack Obama, saying, ‘‘I’ll never forgive him’’ for making the country ‘‘very unsafe’’.
Michelle Obama also expresses disbelief over how so many women would choose a ‘‘misogynist’’ over Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election. She remembers how her body ‘‘buzzed with fury’’ after seeing the infamous
tape in which Trump boasted about sexually assaulting women.
She also accuses Trump of using body language to ‘‘stalk’’ Clinton during an election debate, ‘‘trying to diminish her presence’’.
Obama will launch her promotional tour on Wednesday not at a bookstore but at Chicago’s United Centre, where tens of thousands of people have purchased tickets – from just under US$30 to thousands of dollars – to attend the event, which will be moderated by Oprah Winfrey.
‘‘I felt like I failed, because I didn’t know how common miscarriages were.’’
In her new memoir, former US first lady Michelle Obama says she will ‘‘never forgive’’ a ‘‘reckless’’ Donald Trump for putting her family’s safety at risk by questioning whether her husband Barack was an American citizen.