Be­com­ing the Obamas

FROM smok­ing pot to a heart­break­ing mis­car­riage, Michelle Obama is open­ing up about her younger years.

People (South Africa) - - Contents - BY AN­GELA BEKIARIS

BE­ING the First Lady of the United States was one of her big­gest achieve­ments, but 20 years ago, Michelle and Barack Obama had other things go­ing on. Now that they are out of the White House Barack Obama’s wife is open­ing up in her new mem­oir, Be­com­ing; about life back in the day – be­fore pol­i­tics, be­fore kids, and when smok­ing pot wasn't such a big deal to her.

Talk­ing about her mem­oir re­cently, Michelle got emo­tional as she opened up about a very hard time in their lives – the dif­fi­cul­ties she had fall­ing preg­nant, and a heart­break­ing mis­car­riage that hap­pened 20 years ago.

De­scrib­ing that time in her life, Michelle says she felt ‘lost’ and ‘alone’ after suf­fer­ing a mis­car­riage and un­der­go­ing in vitro fer­til­i­sa­tion (IVF) to con­ceive her two daugh­ters. In an in­ter­view on Good Morn­ing Amer­ica – talk­ing about her new mem­oir, which has just been launched in the US – Michelle said she felt like she ‘failed be­cause she didn’t know how com­mon mis­car­riages were’ they’re not talked about, adding, “We sit in our own pain, think­ing that some­how we’re bro­ken.”

The 54-year-old re­vealed the pair had to do IVF to con­ceive their daugh­ters Sasha and Malia, now 17 and 20, ex­plain­ing that, be­cause of her age at the time, she was wor­ried about be­ing able to get preg­nant nat­u­rally. “The bi­o­log­i­cal clock is real,” she said. “I re­alised that when I was 34 or 35 … we had to do IVF.”

But Michelle says at that time peo­ple didn’t speak about things like that – she never spoke about her preg­nan­cies, mis­car­riage or fer­til­ity treat­ments. “I think it is the worst thing that we do as women, sit around and not talk about our bod­ies,” she noted, adding, “That’s one of the rea­sons why I think it’s im­por­tant to talk to young moth­ers about the fact that mis­car­riages hap­pen.”

But that’s not all she and hus­band Barack hid from peo­ple. While daugh­ter Malia has made head­lines for her so-called wild be­hav­iour on more than one oc­ca­sion – and has been snapped with mar­i­juana – it seems her par­ents weren’t so in­no­cent in their youth ei­ther.

In her mem­oir Michelle writes openly about ev­ery­thing from grow­ing up in Chicago to con­fronting racism in pub­lic life and be­com­ing the coun­try’s first black first lady. But she also ad­mits that the cou­ple smoked pot as teenagers. She men­tions an old high school boyfriend and says they ‘fooled around and smoked pot in his car’, as well as her hus­band’s ‘wilder’ days when he was younger and smoked mar­i­juana while liv­ing in Hawaii. And when asked why she wanted to share this in­for­ma­tion, the former First Lady said she didn’t want to hide that from this gen­er­a­tion. And of course, the book wouldn’t be com­plete with­out Trump’s name ap­pear­ing some­where. Michelle hit back at US pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump about ques­tion­ing whether her hus­band was an Amer­i­can cit­i­zen, say­ing it was ‘crazy and mean-spir­ited’ – “It’s un­der­ly­ing big­otry and xeno­pho­bia hardly con­cealed. But it was also dan­ger­ous, de­lib­er­ately meant to stir up the wing nuts and kooks.”

She also ex­pressed dis­be­lief over how so many women would choose a ‘misog­y­nist’ over Hil­lary Clin­ton in 2016, say­ing she re­mem­bered how her body ‘buzzed with fury’ after see­ing the in­fa­mous Ac­cess Hol­ly­wood tape in which Trump bragged about sex­u­ally as­sault­ing women. Michelle also ac­cused Trump of us­ing body lan­guage to ‘stalk’ Mrs Clin­ton dur­ing an elec­tion de­bate.

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