Michelle Obama is looking back at one of the darkest times in her life.
In a new primetime ABC News special set to air Sunday, the former first lady gets candid with Good Morning America anchor Robin Roberts, recalling the pain and isolation she endured after suffering a miscarriage nearly 20 years ago.
“I felt lost and alone and I felt like I failed,” she says in a clip from Becoming Michelle: A First Lady’s Journey with Robin Roberts, which finds Obama expanding on topics explored in her upcoming new memoir, Becoming, out Tuesday.
At the time, Obama, 54, and former President Barack Obama, 57, were trying to start a family and she was feeling the pressure of her ticking “biological clock,” she tells Roberts. Eventually, the Chicago native turned to in vitro fertilization (IVF) in order to conceive the couple’s daughters Malia, 20, and Sasha, 17.
Reflecting on it now, Mrs. Obama says she wished she knew other women had experienced miscarriages as well — a lesson that would have helped lift the shame she associated with it.
“I felt like I failed because I didn’t know how common miscarriages were because we don’t talk about them,” Mrs. Obama explains in the ABC interview. “We sit in our own pain, thinking that somehow we’re broken.”
She’s hoping that by sharing her story, other women don’t feel that same isolation.
“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 because egg production is limited — I realized that as I was 34 and 35, and we had to do IVF,” she tells Roberts. “I think it’s the worst thing we do to each other as women: not share the truth about our bodies and how they work and how they don’t work.”
Her miscarriage and IVF journey are just some of the many revelations in Becoming. The memoir has Mrs. Obama tracing her life from a child on Chicago’s South Side through the eight years she spent in the White House as first lady.
She writes openly about her relationship with Mr. Obama, including their sweet courtship. The couple famously met when they both worked at the same Chicago law firm. The attraction was immediate, though she insisted the two should be friends as the company had assigned Mrs. Obama to be his adviser.
A kiss one summer night changed all that. “As soon as I allowed myself to feel anything for Barack, the feelings came rushing — a toppling blast of lust, gratitude, fulfillment, wonder,” she writes in Becoming, according to ABC News.
As perfect as the first couple appears to the nation, there were tough times behind closed doors. As she relays to Roberts in the interview airing Sunday, at one point the two sought marriage counseling, where they learned how to discuss their differences and she learned she was “in charge” of her happiness. In the book, she calls that lesson “my pivot point” and “my moment of self-arrest,” ABC News reports.
“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. And we get help with our marriage when we need it,” Mrs. Obama tells Roberts in the special.
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Elsewhere in the autobiography, Mrs. Obama shares her thoughts on President Donald Trump.
The president was an open critic of Mr. Obama and his administration, and was a driving force of the so-called birther questions surrounding Mr. Obama’s citizenship — something Mrs. Obama called bigoted, dangerous and “deliberately meant to stir up the wingnuts and kooks,” the Associated Press reported.
She goes into the highs and lows of the 2016 presidential election between Trump and Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton as well, according to the AP, who purchased an early copy of the novel.
That infamous Access Hollywood tape that caught Trump bragging about sexually assaulting women? Mrs. Obama’s body “buzzed with fury” watching it, the AP reports. Seeing him “stalk” Clinton by following closely behind her on stage during a town hall election debate? An attempt to try to “diminish her presence” and show “I can hurt you and get away with it.”
And then there was the disbelief she felt seeing so many women choose “a misogynist” over “an exceptionally qualified female candidate.” Per the AP, the night she learned Trump would be president, Mrs. Obama tried to “block it all out.”
Becoming Michelle: A First Lady’s Journey with Robin Roberts airs on Sunday (9 p.m. ET) on ABC.
Becoming is out Nov. 13.