In the public eye, Michelle Obama appears to have it all. She is a former first lady, Harvard Law graduate, and is happily married to former president Barack Obama. But in her upcoming memoir Becoming, she addresses her private struggles in motherhood and marriage, including her miscarriage and the in-vitro fertilization (IVF) process she underwent to conceive her two daughters.
“It turns out that even two committed go-getters with a deep love and robust work ethic can’t will themselves into being pregnant,” Obama writes in the memoir that will be released on Tuesday, November 13.
In an exclusive interview with Good Morning America, the former first lady discussed the miscarriage she had weeks after becoming pregnant as a young woman. She also addressed the stigma behind miscarriages and how she hopes to encourage transparency among women.
"I felt lost and alone and I felt like I failed, because I didn't know how common miscarriages were,” she told GMA co-host, Robin Roberts. "Because we don't talk about them. We sit in our own pain, somehow thinking were broken."
According to the American Pregnancy Association (APA), 10-25 percent of all clinically recognized pregnancies end in miscarriage, and most of them happen up to the 13-week mark (though the term "miscarriage" includes loss of a fetus up to 20 weeks). Despite the communality of the occurrence, there's still a stigma attached to the unexpected loss.
“We sit in our own pain, thinking that somehow we’re broken,” she told the morning show. “That's one of the reasons why I think it's important to talk to young mothers about the fact that miscarriages happen.”
The 54-year-old said she felt the pressure of the biological clock when she was approaching her mid-30s. “The biological clock is real because egg production is limited, and I realized that when I was 34, 35.” With IVF treatments she would eventually conceive daughters Malia, at the age of 34 and Sasha, at 37.
In speaking openly about her own journey to motherhood, Obama hopes to reach other young women and mothers experiencing similar hardships. “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.