Michelle Obama
Contributed by Eleanor Sherer
Chapter 13

Obama recalls starting her new job as an executive director for Public Allies. Although the position made Michelle nervous, she was up to it. "To me, the job felt almost like destiny,” (Obama 130). The author illustrates her role in Public Allies, including how the organization managed to gain funding, and finding allies themselves (Obama 131-133). The author continues to chronicle her role as a supportive wife in Barack's life. Barack had found a "noble balance" in his life having worked as "a lawyer, a teacher, and as an organizer" (Obama 133). Thus, when Barack decided to run for Senate in 1996, Michelle was not surprised but provided her husband with support, as well as a warning that if he gets elected, he may end up changing nothing. In 1996 “Barack was elected to the Illinois Senate and sworn in two months later” (Obama 135).

Michelle also accounts their struggle to conceive, including the pain of miscarrying after a long process of waiting. The author states, “A miscarriage is lonely, painful, and demoralizing almost on a cellular level” (Obama 138). Despite trying Clomid, a drug intended to stimulate egg production, the Obamas were still unsuccessful. Michelle and Barack finally decided to try in-vitro fertilization. It was then that Michelle decided to start a daily regimen of shots and administering drugs to suppress her ovaries (Obama 138). Eight weeks later, an ultrasound revealed that Michelle was pregnant, and all the resentment and negative feelings faded away.


Obama’s new job at Public Allies seemed to have evoked childhood memories particularly of her time in second grade at Bryn Mawr Elementary. She describes how lacking an advocate or opportunity in one’s life, could curtail one’s destiny. She seems satisfied and takes pride in the role she played at Public Allies, stating that although the salary was less than what she was earning at City Hall, she and her team were committed to serving the larger public good, contributing to transforming the world and changing people’s lives.

Michelle had neither loved politics nor did she appreciate politicians. She had grown in a community where politicians did nothing to protect the rights of African Americans. As a result, the author describes that she did not delight in having a politician as her husband. Nonetheless, she shows the value of support in a marriage.

In this chapter, the Obama also seems to speak for women who have undergone the painful and demoralizing experience of miscarrying. She reveals the burden of being female as well as the obligation that comes with it. Although Barack yearned for a child, Michelle was left to carry out the responsibilities of administering IVF treatments alone. However, she appears to say that although miscarriages happen, women shouldn’t be shy in seeking assistance nor should they suffer alone.

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