Former first lady Michelle Obama said in her newly-released Netflix documentary Becoming that having children was a “concession” that cost her “aspirations and dreams.”
Obama made the remarks while talking about her desire to become “equal” to her husband, President Barack Obama.
“My relationship with Barack was all about our equal partnership,” Obama recalled. “If I was going to have a unique voice with this very opinionated man, I had to get myself up and set myself off to a place where I was going to be his equal.”
However, the birth of their two daughters, Malia and Sasha, “changed” the course of the couple’s relationship.
“The thing that really changed it was the birth of our children. I wasn’t really ready for that. That really made it harder,” the first lady explained. “Something had to give and it was my aspirations and dreams.”
“I made that concession not because he said ‘you have to quit your job,’ but it felt like ‘I can’t do all of this so I have to tone down my aspirations, I have to dial it back,'” she added.
“It takes some energy to go high, and we were exhausted from it … when you’re the first black anything,’’ Obama stated, referring to her and her husband’s failed efforts to help elect Democrat nominee Hillary Clinton.
“You know, the day I left the White House, it was painful to sit on that stage, and then a lot of our folks didn’t vote — it was almost a slap in the face,” the former first lady continued.
“It wasn’t just in this election, but every midterm, every time Barack didn’t get the Congress he needed, that was because our folks didn’t show up,” she added. “After all that work, they just couldn’t be bothered to vote at all. That’s my trauma.”
The film, described as “an intimate look into the life of former first lady Michelle Obama” chronicles her 34-city book tour in 2018-2019 for her best-selling memoir “Becoming.” Obama’s promotional tour, managed by the concert promoter Live Nation, had the scale of a rock tour, with a string of dates at sold-out arenas.
The film debuted May 6 on Netflix. In a statement, Obama said the experience of the tour “drove home the idea that what we share in common is deep and real and can’t be messed with.”
“We processed the past and imagined a better future. In talking about the idea of ‘becoming,’ many of us dared to say our hopes out loud,” said Obama. “I treasure the memories and that sense of connection now more than ever, as we struggle together to weather this pandemic, as we care for our loved ones, tend to our communities, and try to keep up with work and school while coping with huge amounts of loss, confusion, and uncertainty.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.