Michelle Obama was thrust onto the world stage in 2007 when her husband Barack Obama decided to run for president. Now, over a decade and two presidential terms later, the former first lady is speaking out about some of the many challenges she has faced throughout her life and her marriage.
Speaking to ABC News, she candidly revealed that she had suffered a miscarriage before her two daughters were born and had later conceived 20-year-old Malia and 17-year-old Sasha through IVF treatments with Barack.
“I felt lost and alone and I felt like I failed because I didn’t know how common miscarriages were because we don’t talk about them,” she explained of her emotional state after the miscarriage. “We sit in our own pain, thinking that somehow we’re broken. So that’s one of the reasons why I think it’s important to talk to young mothers about the fact that miscarriages happen”
She became acutely aware of her so-called biological clock and realized that for women that biological clock is very real as it limits the number of years women are capable of carrying a pregnancy. For her, it was a realization that she would have to undergo IVF treatment if she still wanted to have children.
“I think it’s the worst thing that we do to each other as women, not share the truth about our bodies and how they work and how they don’t work.”
In her upcoming memoir Becoming, Michelle also spoke about the early days of her relationship with Barack, sharing that she had tried to friend-zone him in the beginning but had been unable to prevent the deluge of feelings for him from the moment he kissed her.
And despite how happy and stable the couple seems today, she writes in the memoir that at one point the pair was seeking regular counseling to keep their relationship from falling apart. For Michelle, their counseling was a pivot point in their relationship and the key way she and her husband learned to discuss their differences.
“I know too many young couples who struggle and think that somehow there’s something wrong with them. And I want them to know that Michelle and Barack Obama, who have a phenomenal marriage and who love each other, we work on our marriage,” she explains, adding that she and Barack will get help with their relationship whenever they need it.
She also opened up about her husband’s presidential run, and how she was labeled as “an angry black woman.”
“I was female, black and strong, which to certain people… translated only to ‘angry.’ It was another damaging cliché, one that’s been forever used to sweep minority women to the perimeter of every room,” she writes.
To make matters worse, the stereotype started to make her angry, which she felt was almost as though she were fulfilling the prophecy of the box she had been placed into because of her skin color.
As a result of the vitriol spewed at her during her husband’s campaign and presidency, Michelle came to dislike politics even more than she had already done and writes that the past decade of her life has only confirmed for her that she has no interest in the political stage ever again.