Michelle Obama re­veals mis­car­riage, use of IVF

Ex-first lady de­tails cou­ple’s strug­gles early in mar­riage.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution - - NATION & WORLD - By Lau­rie Kell­man

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.

Her deeply per­sonal ac­count of her mar­riage to the fu­ture pres­i­dent 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,” 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 Fri­day. That’s of­ten the case with the mem­oirs of for­mer first ladies, in­clud­ing Hil­lary Clin­ton and Laura Bush.

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.”

The for­mer first lady 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 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 her 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, Michelle Obama crit­i­cizes Pres­i­dent Don­ald 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.

As he left for Paris 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.”

Michelle Obama launches her pro­mo­tional tour Tues­day at Chicago’s United Cen­ter.

CHARLES SYKES/IN­VI­SION/AP

In her new book, Michelle Obama dis­cusses the fer­til­ity treat­ments to con­ceive chil­dren.

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