The former First Lady of the United States continues to be a beacon of hope for women everywhere. In her new memoir, Becoming, Michelle Obama addresses her struggle to conceive a child with husband Barack Obama.

The 54-year-old specifically highlights her heartbreaking experience of having a miscarriage. Michelle reveals that the loss of her unborn child left her “physically uncomfortable and catered any optimism,” she and Barack had felt about starting a family.

Additionally, the now-mother-of-two goes on to showcase true vulnerability, as she confesses a number of deeply personal emotions often associated with having a miscarriage. “Seeing women and their children walking happily along a street, I’d feel a pang of longing followed by a bruising wallop of inadequacy,” Michelle writes.

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That said, Michelle also makes it a point to let women readers know that they are not to blame for their bodies. “A miscarriage is lonely, painful, and demoralizing almost on a cellular level. When you have one, you will likely mistake it for a personal failure, which it is not,” she assures. 

Thankfully, the accomplished author has since gone on to conceive, deliver, and raise two beautiful, inspiring daughters, Malia, 20, and Sasha, 17. Michelle proudly admits to using IVF for both of her daughters. In fact, Sasha was born after “a single round” that resulted in a “fantastically simple pregnancy and straightforward delivery.”

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According to March of Dimes, as many as half of all pregnancies may end in miscarriage. That said, it can be argued that the topic is still stigmatized in 2018 — leading to those very same feelings of guilt and shame that Michelle described in her memoir. 

Through her story, the hope is that women everywhere can feel less alone in their struggle to conceive. We thank Michelle for her honesty and quite frankly, bravery, in opening up about her difficult journey into motherhood.

Michelle Obama’s Becoming is available on Amazon.