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In 2018 we are finally, loudly talking about miscarriage and fertility issues.

Mothers and their partners are speaking out about the pain of pregnancy loss—telling friends, family and social media followers—and celebrities are opening up about using IVF and surrogacy to start their families.

But 20 years ago these conversations were whispered, not hashtagged, and that's when former first lady Michelle Obama experienced this pain so many can relate to.

"I felt like I failed because I didn't know how common miscarriages were because we don't talk about them," Obama tells Good Morning America, recalling a pregnancy she lost before she got pregnant with daughters Sasha and Malia (now 17 and 20) through IVF.

"We sit in our own pain, thinking that somehow we're broken," she explains. "That's one of the reasons why I think it's important to talk to young mothers about the fact that miscarriages happen."

Obama's comments come ahead of the release of her upcoming memoir, and a prime-time special, Becoming Michelle: A First Lady's Journey with Robin Roberts, airing Sunday on ABC. In the interview, Obama explains that starting a family wasn't easy for her and that she sought help from reproductive medicine in her mid-30s.

"The biological clock is real, because egg production is limited and I realized that as I was 34 and 35, we had to do IVF," she says in a sneak peek of the special.

"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," Obama tells Robin Roberts.

Twenty years ago, Obama may have felt alone starting a family at that age, but these days, more and more American mothers are becoming mothers in their thirties.

In recent years birth rates have declined among women under age 30 and gone up among women aged 30–44, the CDC notes.

If, like Obama, you're having difficulty conceiving or have experienced a pregnancy loss, understand that you are absolutely not alone.

There is no shame in experiencing a miscarriage. It happens in as many as 20% of known pregnancies.

There is no shame in turning to IVF. According to a Pew Research Center analysis of National Center for Health Statistics data, 9% of women "nearing the end of their childbearing years" report they or their spouse has undergone a fertility treatment.

The only shame around these issues is that we are only now starting to talk about it.

Thank you, Michelle, for joining in this conversation.

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It was s historical moment for the word and a scary moment for a woman who had just become a mother for the first time.

When the Duchess of Cambridge made stepped out of the Lindo Wing at St. Mary's Hospital on July 22, 2013, with her new baby in her arms she was happy—but understandably scared, too.

Kate Middleton recently appeared on Giovanna Fletcher's Happy Mum, Happy Baby podcast and when Fletcher asked her about her postpartum debut Kate said she was understandably freaked out when she stepped out with her newborn.

"Yeah, slightly terrifying, slightly terrifying, I'm not going to lie," Kate said.

During the podcast the Duchess opened up about her pregnancy and birth experiences, explaining how much hypnobirthing helped her and that she didn't know whether she was delivering prince or princess until Prince George was born as she'd opted to be surprised.

She was surprised and thrilled when she met her son, and looking forward to post-pregnancy life after spending her pregnancy quite ill with hyperemesis gravidarum (a seriously debilitating form of extreme morning sickness). She was so happy, but it was also (very understandably) an overwhelming experience. In addition to all the pressure new moms feel, Kate had an army of photographers waiting outside the hospital for her.

"Everything goes in a bit of a blur. I think, yeah I did stay in hospital overnight, I remember it was one of the hottest days and night with huge thunderstorms so I didn't get a huge amount of sleep, but George did, which was really great," she explained. "I was keen to get home because, for me, being in hospital, I had all the memories of being in hospital because of being sick [with acute morning sickness] so it wasn't a place I wanted to hang around in. So, I was really desperate to get home and get back to normality."

Kate wanted to get home, but she also really did want to share her baby boy with the public who had been so supportive of her young family, she explains.

"Everyone had been so supportive and both William and I were really conscious that this was something that everyone was excited about and you know we're hugely grateful for the support that the public had shown us, and actually for us to be able to share that joy and appreciation with the public, I felt was really important," she shared, adding that "Equally it was coupled with a newborn baby, and inexperienced parents, and the uncertainty of what that held, so there were all sorts of mixed emotions."

"All sorts of mixed emotions."

The now-iconic images of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge exiting the hospital with their firstborn have gone down in history, but so has Kate's bravery that day.

There's been a lot written about whether those pictures put pressure on other moms who might not feel ready for heels and blowouts right after giving birth, but one thing critics of the photocall often miss is the positive impact it had on other young women.

Yes, Kate looked beautiful, but she also looked like a woman whose body had just given birth—and the iconic images of her in that polka-dot dress taught a generation of women that the female body isn't an elastic band and that recovering from birth takes time.

"I, myself remember being really surprised when Kate Middleton came out of the hospital holding Prince George," Tina, now a mom herself and a model of postpartum realness in Mothercare's "Body Proud Mums campaign" explained last year.

Tina recalls how Kate's postpartum appearance showed her a reality society hadn't: "She had the baby bump, and I remember being surprised that your belly doesn't just go down after giving birth. I also thought how stupid I was to have ever thought it would. I guess pre-children you just have unrealistic expectations."

Tina wasn't stupid, she just hadn't been shown the truth.

So thank you, Kate, for stepping out of that hospital in 2013, despite being terrified, and showing the world your beautiful baby and your bump.



News

The Duchess of Cambridge is opening up about the meditative method that helped her deliver all three of her children and helped her cope with pregnancies made challenging by hyperemesis gravidarum (HG), a seriously debilitating form of pregnancy nausea and vomiting.

The former Kate Middleton says she relied on hypnobirth, which is routinely used at the hospital where she delivered all three of her children.

In a new interview on the Happy Mum, Happy Baby podcast with Giovanna Fletcher, Kate explained, "I saw the power of it really, the meditation and the deep breathing and things like that—that they teach you in hypnobirthing—when I was really sick and actually I realized that this was something I could take control of, I suppose, during labor," she said.

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The Duchess explained: "It was through hyperemesis that I really realized the power of the mind over the body because I really had to try everything and everything to try and help me through it."

So what is hypnobirthing? Well, it's not the party trick hypnosis commonly portrayed in pop culture. It's more of a meditative thing, a form of self-hypnosis proven to help mothers relax during childbirth.

Classes on hypnobirthing are available in most major cities (many experts recommend taking them when you're around 25 to 30 weeks), and several companies offer online courses as well.

It involves visualization, breathing techniques, guided meditation and sometimes massage. It can be used during vaginal births and C-sections (and, as Kate proves, even when you're not giving birth but dealing with other challenges). Research indicates hypnobirth may make labor faster and reduce the risk of C-section, and that it can reduce a mom's fear and anxiety.

American mother Colleen Temple has personally found this to be true. "Pre-hypnobirthing, I would literally cry on the spot when I thought about going into labor. Post-hypnobirthing? I felt empowered, strong, prepared and very ready to birth my baby. It transformed my mindset completely," she previously wrote for Motherly.

"With the help of the meditations and affirmations used in hypnobirthing, the fear of the unknown that I had before the course started shifted into the ability to truly trust that my body and my baby were going to do exactly what they needed to do to bring my little one safely into this world," shares Temple.

The mind can be a powerful thing, and Temple and the Duchess have plenty of company on team hypnobirth. Mogul mama Jessica Alba is also a fan. She told Ellen it's not weird, and is something women can involve their partners in. "My husband takes me through sort of a meditation. He'll say, 'you're relaxed, and you're floating on clouds while you're going through labor and your contractions. I'm just concentrating on breathing and staying relaxed," she explained.

The Duke of Cambridge isn't quite as into it as Alba's husband, but that's because it's more Kate's personal thing, she says.

"I'm not going to say that William was standing there sort of, chanting sweet nothings at me. He definitely wasn't! I didn't even ask him about it, but it was just something I wanted to do for myself," she said on the Happy Mum, Happy Baby podcast.

Every mama should have things she wants to do for herself, and pregnant or not, meditation can be a great form of self-care.

[A version of this post was previously published April 26, 2018. It has been updated.]







News

You're going to need a big box of tissues handy to delve into this story. A California dad took to Twitter this week to share a heartwarming tale about the kindness of strangers aboard their newborn daughter's first flight.

Dustin Moore and his wife Caren recently adopted a baby girl in Colorado. The new dad told the Washington Post that years of fertility struggles and miscarriages led up to the amazing moment they became parents through adoption. The logistics of the situation also forced them to bring their 8-day-old baby on a Southwest Airlines flight to get her back to their home state—a situation that can be nerve-wracking for any parent, let alone a brand new one.

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Luckily for the Moores, they encountered two flight attendants who went above and beyond to make it a flight to remember, and pretty much threw them an impromptu baby shower.

Dustin says when he asked for a place to change the baby girl's diaper, he started chatting with a flight attendant named Jenny. She asked why they were traveling, and the proud dad explained about the adoption.

Minutes later, a second flight attendant named Bobby approached to gush over the baby. The couple didn't think much of it—until the intercom kicked on a short time later. It was Bobby, announcing that the flight had a very special passenger: "She's just been adopted by her parents Caren and Dustin, and is making her way home," Bobby told the entire plane, which promptly erupted into cheers.

The attendant then announced that the cabin crew would be passing out napkins and pens for passengers to share any messages or advice for the new family. That led to some adorable suggestions, which were then read out over the intercom:

"Drink lots of wine!"

"Rub each other's feet, and rub the baby's feet."

"Always tell her you love her."

The two flight attendants then handed over a bundle of about 60 napkins, and revealed they'd once been the beneficiaries of a similar kindness—the pair were a married couple, and a flight attendant had done same thing for them on their honeymoon flight. They wanted to pay it forward, and Moore wanted to do the same thing in sharing the story on Twitter.

"This website is used oft as a means to share what's wrong. I hope you'll take time to share what is good. In a world of turmoil, don't forget to showcase the Bobbys and Jennys, the kind strangers out there. And if they don't cross your path, be one. Seek good, or create it," tweeted Moore.

Is it time for a second box of tissues yet? 😭

Congrats to these proud parents—and major props to the flight attendants who kicked off a random act of kindness.

News

Gabrielle Union + Dwyane Wade have been blended family goals, an inspiration to those struggling with infertility and now they are an inspiration to parents of trans kids and supporters of trans rights.

This week Wade appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, and spoke about his 12-year-old daughter Zaya coming out as transgender and Union posted a beautiful video + caption to Instagram, inviting fans to "meet Zaya."

In the video Zaya is riding in a golf cart with her dad and dropping wisdom. She says: "Just be true to yourself, because what's the point of even living on this earth if you're going to try to be someone you're not?...Be true and don't really care what the 'stereotypical' way of being you is."

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Union was so impressed by her step-daughter, captioning the video: "She's compassionate, loving, whip smart and we are so proud of her. It's Ok to listen to, love & respect your children exactly as they are. Love and light good people."

Later in the week Union addressed criticism of Zaya's transition on Twitter, writing: "This has been a journey. We're still humbly learning but we decided quickly w/ our family that we wouldn't be led by fear. We refuse to sacrifice the freedom to live authentically becuz we are afraid of what ppl might say. U have the ability to learn & evolve."

Zaya's big brother is also on her side. Newly 18-year-old Zaire posted the cutest throwback pic from when he and Zaya were just little kids, noting how the siblings were and are best friends.

"Man, I remember bugging my mom as a kid telling her I wanted a brother so bad. I was the only child looking for company and someone to look after and take care of," Zaire began his caption. "I have been blessed to have my best friend, Zaya with me for 12 years. We did everything together … we fought, we played, we laughed and we cried. But the one thing we never did was leave each other behind."

Zaire continued: "I've told you that I would lay my life down to make sure you are ten toes down and happy on this earth," he told his younger sibling. "I don't care what they think Z, you are my best friend and I love you kid, and if it means anything, just know there's no love lost on this side ✊🏾"

We are so impressed and inspired by the love Zaya's family is showing her (and other kids by sharing this story publicly). You've got this Zaya!

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