For­mer first lady gets per­sonal in new mem­oir

‘Be­com­ing’ touches on her strug­gle to have kids, anger at Trump

The Dallas Morning News - - Nation -

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 sheds new light on the Ivy Leaguee­d­u­cated 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 Be­com

ing, 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.”

Be­com­ing is one of the most an­tic­i­pated po­lit­i­cal books in mem­ory, rank­ing at the top of Ama­zon’s best­sellers 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.”

She said they un­der­went fer­til­ity treat­ments to con­ceive daugh­ters Sasha and Malia, now 17 and 20.

In the mem­oir, Obama also writes that Trump’s ques­tion­ing of whether her hus­band was an Amer­i­can ci­ti­zen was “crazy and mean­spir­ited” — and “dan­ger­ous.” Trump sug­gested Barack 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.”

Obama launches her pro­mo­tional tour Tues­day at Chicago’s United Cen­ter, where tens of thou­sands of peo­ple have pur­chased tick­ets to at­tend the event moder­ated by Oprah Win­frey.

Doug Mills/ The New York Times

Michelle Obama (left), along with her daugh­ters and hus­band, walked their dog Bo at the White House in 2009.

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