In her recently published memoir, ‘Becoming’, former First Lady of the United States, Michelle Obama chronicles her experiences from childhood to her years as a working mother and the two terms in the White House.
For a family that is known to keep their personal lives private, for the first time, we get a glimpse of their struggle to have children.
“We were trying to get pregnant and it wasn’t going well,” she writes. “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.”
“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.”
She added, “That's one of the reasons why I think it's important to talk to young mothers about the fact that miscarriages happen.”
In an exclusive interview with ABC’s Good Morning America, she revealed that at the age of 34 and 35, she realized that “the biological clock is real” and “egg production is limited”.
It was 20 years ago, when, following the miscarriage, they went on to use In-vitro-Fertilization (IVF) to conceive their two daughters, Malia (now 20) and Sasha (now 17). IVF is a fertility treatment which involves removal of the eggs from a woman, fertilizing them with sperm in a specialized lab and re-implanting them back into the uterus.
In the book, she writes about being alone during this period as she had to administer the IVF shots herself, while her “sweet, attentive husband” was at the state legislature, “leaving me largely on my own to manipulate my reproductive system into peak efficiency.”
Known for her support and advocacy of women’s rights, she decided to open up and remove the stigma associated with infertility and help women around the world. “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," she told the interviewer.
People don’t openly discuss these experiences as they find it increasingly difficult to talk about the associated struggles and pain. Despite IVF being around for over 40 years, there is still a stigma attached to talking about infertility and the available treatments.
Michelle Obama by opening up, joins a growing list of influential celebrities, who are doing their part to create more awareness and reduce the stigma for the millions of parents who are going through their own IVF journeys.
Partners & Parents - Resource Center:
Alternatives To When You Can't Conceive Naturally
An Overview of Male Infertility
Understanding Female Infertility
IVF Expert: Overcoming The War Of Psychology And Sex
Helping Your Wife Prepare for IVF
What is IUI or Artificial Insemination?
Donor Sperm - Everything You Need to Know
Donor Eggs - An Overview
The Rise of Fertility Tourism in India
IVF: A Husband’s Journey