OBAMA VS. TRUMP

First lady used IVF to con­ceive girls, her mem­oir says

Hartford Courant - - Front Page - By Lau­rie Kell­man As­so­ci­ated Press

Fury in Michelle Obama’s book prompts re­tort from pres­i­dent.

WASH­ING­TON — 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 in vitro fer­til­iza­tion, or 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.

The for­mer first lady 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 of her 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 daugh- ters 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 impressed by Barack’s “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 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 News 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.

As Trump left for Paris on Fri­day, he 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 what he did to our United States mil­i­tary. I’ll never for­give him for what he did in many other ways.”

JEWEL SA­MAD/GETTY-AFP

In her book, for­mer first lady Michelle Obama calls out Pres­i­dent Donald Trump over “big­otry and xeno­pho­bia.”

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