Michelle Obama Opens Up About Having a Miscarriage and Using IVF

The former First Lady is opening up about infertility.

November 25, 2018
By: Amanda Mushro
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speaks onstage The Streicker Center hosts a Special Evening with Former First Lady Michelle Obama at The Streicker Center on October 25, 2017 in New York City.

Photo by: Michael Kovac | Getty Images

Michael Kovac | Getty Images

Michelle Obama has grown accustomed to being in the spotlight and sharing parts of her life with the world. However, the former First Lady is now getting very candid about a topic many women experience but don’t always talk about—pregnancy loss and infertility. Sharing her own stories of heartbreak and hope, Mrs. Obama says she hopes talking about her journey to become a mother will help other families feel less alone.

While we often see the Obamas with their daughters Sasha, 17 and Malia, 20, the road to a family of four was not an easy one. Opening up in an interview with ABC’s Robin Roberts, Mrs. Obama shared that her first pregnancy ended in a miscarriage that devastated her.

“I felt like I failed, because I didn’t know how common miscarriages were because we don’t talk about them,” she said. “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, and the biological clock is real.”

According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, 25% of pregnancies end in miscarriages. Even though doctors agree, miscarriages rarely occur as a result of something the mother has done, according to several studies, more than half of women who have suffered a miscarriage feel they were to blame and feel guilty for having lost a pregnancy. While many women still believe they could have prevented their miscarriage, doctors say this isn’t the case. So if more women, like a Former First Lady, talk about their miscarriage and how the loss deeply affected her, more women will understand they do not need to suffer in silence.

Another personal secret that she shared was that when faced with the issue of infertility, the Obamas started the in vitro fertilization (IVF) journey. However, Obama said that much of the burden was on her. In her soon-to-be-released memoir, she writes of being alone and having to administer hormone shots to herself because her “sweet, attentive husband” was at the state legislature, “leaving me largely on my own to manipulate my reproductive system into peak efficiency.” While the stress and anxiety of IVF can be overwhelming, the Obamas did have a prize at the end—their two daughters.

Now Obama wants to help women change the conversation surrounding pregnancy loss and infertility by having real and frank conversations. “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,” she said. So for the millions of women who are standing where Michelle Obama stood twenty years ago—they know there is hope and a reason to share their sadness and our joy.

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