Michelle Obama On Undergoing IVF And Fighting The Stigmas Of Pregnancy

Michelle Obama wearing a multicolored dress at the Cinco De Mayo reception at the White House

By Brianna Morton |

Michelle Obama wearing a multicolored dress at the Cinco De Mayo reception at the White House

(Getty Images)

Michelle Obama revealed she’d undergone in-vitro fertilization to conceive her two daughters, Malia and Sasha. Though she soon became known as “mom-in-chief” after her husband, Barack, was elected president, Michelle initially had trouble becoming pregnant. A tragic miscarriage was enough to convince her to try a new approach.

In her memoir, Becoming, Michelle opened up about her fertility struggles. Soon after she and Barack began to try to conceive in earnest, they came to the startling revelation that “fertility is not something you conquer.” It was a tough idea to process. “It turns out that even two committed go-getters with a deep love and robust work ethic can’t will themselves into being pregnant,” she wrote.

Eventually, Michelle discovered that she was pregnant, but the joy of that moment wouldn’t last. “We had one pregnancy test come back positive, which caused us both to forget every worry and swoon with joy,” the former First Lady recalled. “But a couple of weeks later, I had a miscarriage, which left me physically uncomfortable and cratered any optimism we felt.”

The miscarriage threw Michelle into a depression, which she described as “lonely, painful, and demoralizing almost on a cellular level.” What helped to pull her from that pit of negativity was turning to female friends. They told her about their own miscarriages. That helped Michelle to realize that the heartbreak she’d just endured was more common than she’d imagined.

“It didn’t take away the pain,” she wrote in the book, “but in unburying their own struggles, they steadied me during mine.” It was then that Michelle and Barack decided to turn to in-vitro fertilization. The procedure soon resulted in the birth of their oldest daughter, Malia, now 20 years old. A few years later, they had Sasha, now 17.

Michelle Obama hopes to end the stigma she suffered

In sharing her own fertility struggles with the world, Michelle hopes to dispel the stigma for others. “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,” Michelle told Robin Roberts during an ABC News interview. “We sit in our own pain, thinking that somehow we’re broken.” Michelle hopes other young mothers won’t feel so alone when they go through similar ordeals.

Tabloids have often targeted the former president and First Lady with their lies. Last October, the Globe printed an article claiming that Barack and Michelle were heading towards a $150 million divorce. An unnamed source allegedly close to the couple told the outlet that Barack was tired of Michelle’s “snooty Hollywood lifestyle,” and she was equally sick of “his refusal to get a real job.” The gossip rag then ended the absurd story by claiming that Michelle had a plan to get revenge. She would run for the same office he once held: president.

Gossip Cop looked into the rumor and declared it total nonsense. The Obamas celebrated their 27th anniversary just a week before the article was published. The couple openly gushed about each other on their social media pages. As for Michelle’s so-called revenge, she’s stated many times that she has absolutely no interest in running for political office. She once told The National that there’s “zero chance” she’d run for president. That tabloid couldn’t have gotten the story more wrong if they’d actually tried, which it’s obvious they didn’t.