Michelle Obama had mis­car­riage, used IVF to con­ceive girls

Connecticut Post - - OBITUARIES/NEWS -

Michelle Obama says she felt alone af­ter a mis­car­riage 20 years ago and she and 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 first lady also lets her fury fly over Pres­i­dent Donald Trump’s “big­otry and xeno­pho­bia” — dan­ger­ous, de­lib­er­ate rhetoric, she wrote, that risked her fam­ily’s safety.

“For this,” she writes, “I’d never for­give him.”

But it’s her deeply per­sonal ac­count of her mar­riage to the fu­ture pres­i­dent that shed 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,” Mrs. Obama, 54, writes in “Be­com­ing,” set for re­lease Tues­day. The As­so­ci­ated Press pur­chased an early copy. “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 IVF, one form of as­sisted re­pro­duc­tion that typ­i­cally in­volves re­mov­ing eggs from a woman, fer­til­iz­ing them with sperm in a lab, and im­plant­ing the re­sult­ing em­bryo. It costs thou­sands of dol­lars for every “cy­cle,” and many cou­ples re­quire more than one at­tempt.

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,” she said.

“Be­com­ing” is one of the most an­tic­i­pated po­lit­i­cal books in mem­ory, rank­ing at the top of Ama­zon’s best-sell­ers on Fri­day. That’s of­ten the case with the mem­oirs of for­mer first ladies, in­clud­ing Hil­lary Clin­ton and Laura Bush. But Obama de­fied her ex­alted sta­tus in the an­nals of his­tory by cul­ti­vat­ing an im­age of a mod­ern woman with whom many Amer­i­cans would like to sip wine and chat.

But un­til now, she’s not ex­ten­sively shared so many de­tails. Some fam­ily strug­gles, such as los­ing a baby, are known by mil­lions of women.

“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 Fri­day on ABC’s “Good Morn­ing Amer­ica.” “We sit in our own pain, think­ing that some­how we’re bro­ken.”

Obama said they un­der­went fer­til­iza­tion treat­ments to con­ceive daugh­ters Sasha and Malia, now 17 and 20.

She also writes about fall­ing in love. The Oba­mas met at the Chicago law firm Si­d­ley Austin LLP, and Michelle was skep­ti­cal at first. But she was then impressed by his “rich, even sexy bari­tone” and by his “strange, stir­ring combi- na­tion” of seren­ity and power.

Their first kiss set off a “top­pling blast of lust, gratitude, ful­fill­ment, won­der,” she wrote.

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 ag­o­nized over what she feared was a car­toon­ish, racist im­age. She re­mem­bered be­ing la­beled “an­gry” and, by the Fox net­work, “Obama’s Baby Mama.”

In the White House, she knew she would be la­beled “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 U.S. 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?” she writes in the mem­oir. “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 on Fri­day, 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.”

Obama also ex­presses dis­be­lief over how so many women would choose a “misog­y­nist” over Clin­ton in 2016. She re­mem­bers how her body “buzzed with fury” af­ter see­ing the in­fa­mous “Ac­cess Hollywood” tape, in which Trump brags about sex­u­ally as­sault­ing women.

She also ac­cuses Trump of us­ing body lan­guage to “stalk” Clin­ton dur­ing an elec­tion de­bate. She writes of Trump fol­low­ing Clin­ton around the stage, stand­ing nearby and “try­ing to di­min­ish her pres­ence.”

Obama launches her pro­mo­tional tour Tues­day not at a book­store, but at Chicago’s United Cen­ter, where tens of thou­sands of peo­ple have pur­chased tick­ets — from just un­der $30 to thou­sands of dol­lars — to at­tend the event mod­er­ated by Oprah Win­frey.

AFP/Getty Im­ages file photo

For­mer first lady Michelle Obama

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