Former FLOTUS Michelle Obama seems like she has a perfect life. However, the "Becoming" author has had her fair share of pain and has been open about her struggles.
Michelle Obama and her husband have a relationship that everyone wants and admires. But in the past, they struggled to expand their family as she could not conceive at 35.
While trying hard to expand their family, Michelle Obama said she felt like a failure, lost, and alone. Today, the couple has two daughters they adore entirely.
Barack and Michelle Obama with their daughters Malia and Sasha as they walk through Lafayette Park to St John's Church on October 27, 2013 [left], Photo of Michelle Obama at the 2020 Democratic National Convention [right] | Source: Getty Images
Michelle grew up in a family that her brother compared to the Cleavers in "Leave It to Beaver." Even though they were poor, they learned to have high standards, strong work ethics, and respect everyone, including themselves.
She went to Harvard to study Law, and at 25, fresh out of Harvard Law, Michelle began working at a corporate law firm where she met Barack.
Barack was 28, a summer associate finishing law school, and the firm assigned Michelle to be his adviser. While other women noted his good looks, she was doubtful he had earned the hype.
A month later, he asked her out, and she found it to be a tacky move and rejected him. Also, being his mentor, she did not want to date him.
After he persisted and even offered to quit the job, she agreed to go out on a first date with him at a museum. For their date, Barack showed up in a rackety Datsun, and that was when Michelle felt a bit of charm set in.
Their first date was a day-long outing that began with lunch outside an art museum before taking a tour of the Art Institute.
Barack and Michelle then took a stroll and stopped by Baskin-Robbins ice cream shop, where they had the best ice cream the establishment had to offer.
The couple shared their first kiss at the ice cream shop, and Barack said the kiss tasted like chocolate. Their first date came to an end with a Spike Lee movie.
MICHELLE AND BARACK BECOMING ONE
Two years after they started dating, on July 31, 1991, Michelle and Barack had dinner at their favorite restaurant in Chicago to celebrate that he had finished the bar.
At dinner, they got into a heated argument over marriage. Barack told Michelle that even though he loved her with his whole being, he had never seen the point of marriage.
A riled-up Michelle argued the merits of marriage and said she could not understand why they would not formalize a commitment.
After their main course, the waiter brought a dessert plate covered by a silver lid and slid it in front of Michelle. When the waiter lifted the cover, she was almost too angry to look down.
There was a ring box with a diamond ring in place of the chocolate cake when she looked. He had playfully riled her up with the marriage talk, and he went down on one knee and proposed.
She said 'yes' to the applause of other diners in the restaurant and later found out that he had taken permission from her mother and brother before he proposed.
Over a year after he proposed, they got married at the South Shore Cultural Center on October 3, 1992. On their wedding day, he promised to give her a life that would be interesting.
MICHELLE ON GROWING THEIR FAMILY
After marriage, Michelle and Barack had almost everything going well for them except that she could not get pregnant and once had a miscarriage after a few weeks of pregnancy. After the miscarriage, she said,
"I felt lost and alone and I felt like I failed because I didn't know how common miscarriages were because we don't talk about them."
Once she realized that her biological clock was ticking and egg production was limited, she had to go through a series of fertility treatments.
RAISING HER KIDS AS A WORKING MOTHER
Through in-vitro fertilization, she had her two daughters within three years. On July 4, 1998, they welcomed their first daughter, Malia Ann Obama.
On June 10, 2001, the coupled welcomed a second daughter, Natasha "Sasha" Obama. While raising her daughters, she learned that being a mother means understanding that you can't control everything.
She also learned that her daughters were different and has accepted them the way they are because they have grown to be intelligent, compassionate, and independent young women.
Barack Obama, Michelle Obama and their daughters Malia and Sasha visit the zoo in Honolulu on January 3, 2010 | Source: Getty Images
Michelle knew she had to give them space to explore and forge their path. She learned to be the safe place for her daughters to land.
Michelle also knew she had to make time for her children as a working mother, so she asked her boss for flexible work hours and a raise. And because she was good at her job, her boss granted her requests.
Senator Barack Obama and Michelle geting ready at their home on December 8, 2004 in Chicago | Source: Getty Images
A NEW LIFE IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Barack got into the US Senate and was later elected president, beginning their life in the spotlight. Before he ran for president, he had to ask for Michelle's approval.
Michelle had faith in her husband, but she was skeptical because of his skin color, which made her harbor a painful thought that she wasn't ready to share.
Senator elect Barack Obama and Michelle during a victory party with their children in Chicago on November 2, 2007 | Source: Getty Images
She supported him in campaigning, but she felt sure he wouldn't make it all the way. When he spoke passionately about healing the country's divisions, she said,
"But I'd seen enough of the divisions to temper my own hopes. Barack was a black man in America, after all. I didn't really think he could win."
On November 4, 2008, Barack made history as he became the first African American president of the United States.
Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, and their daughters, Malia and Sasha pose for a family portrait in the White House on September 1, 2009 | Source: Getty Images
Before they moved into the White House, the former First Lady Laura Bush asked her daughter, Jenna Bush Hager, to show Malia, 10, and Sasha, 7, around, and the girls enjoyed the tour.
The girls loved their stay in the White House and made it feel like home once they moved in. However, they complained about Secret Service following them around but handled it with grace when they became teenagers.
Barack Obama with Michelle and their daughters Sasha and Malia as they wait for election returns on November 2, 2004 in Chicago | Source: Getty Images
Michelle recalled their life before moving to Washington. They lived with the simple joys and loved the life they had built for their girls. She deeply loved her husband and didn't want their love to change if he became president.
He was still the guy who would pick her up for their dates in a rackety car, whose only pair of decent shoes was half a size too small, and who was proud of the coffee table he found in a dumpster.
Barack Obama hugged by Michelle Obama before his speech at a primary night rally at the Nashua South High School on January 8, 2008 | Source: Getty Images
For Barack, he was glad to have married Michelle. During his State of the Union Address in 2010, he said,
"If you were going to list the 100 most popular things that I have done as president, being married to Michelle Obama is number one."
OUT OF THE WHITE HOUSE AND MOVING ON
After eight years, Barack and Michelle went back to their old life, and she said her husband was leaving as the same person that went into the White House.
For Obama's daughters, it was hard to leave the White House because it had become their home for eight years. The girls went through the back door in tears as they said their goodbyes.
Michelle, Malia, Sasha and Barack Obama on the South Lawn of the White House after their summer vacation in Martha's Vineyard on August 21, 2016 | Source: Getty Images
After they left, Michelle took up swimming and taught herself how to knit while Barack spent his time golfing. She told her daughters that they were 'chasing summer' because they never wanted to experience winter again.
Also, they all want to spend more time with each other after retirement. During the pandemic, Barack and Michelle welcomed their daughters back from university.
When Harry and Meghan Markle had their baby, Michelle told them it was 'magical' to have a baby in the house, and she advised them to savor each moment with kids as she does.
Michelle loved being a new mum and could lose hours just watching her children sleep. The resiliency of her daughters humbled and heartened her.