Ann Romney, who has spoken candidly about her battle with multiple sclerosis and surviving breast cancer, suffered a previously-undisclosed miscarriage.

The miscarriage was revealed deep inside an Associated Press profile of the would-be first lady published last week. It said "a source close to Mrs. Romney confirmed" that she lost the child, thought to be a boy, between her fourth son, Ben, born in 1978, and her fifth son and last child, Craig, born in 1981.

According to another report, by CNN, Romney, now 63, suffered a miscarriage in her fifth month of pregnancy around 1991, 10 years after Craig was born.

The couple, who have 19 grandchildren, have never publicly spoken about the miscarriage, despite sharing other personal details during Mitt Romney's presidential campaign or previous runs for office.

The disclosure in the days leading up to the Republican National Convention in Tampa has already raised some questions. The timing has prompted some cynical political observers to suggest it was designed to evince sympathy and perhaps help narrow a gaping gender gap between her husband and President Barack Obama.

"It humanizes them,” Baruch College political scientist Doug Muzzio told the Daily News. “They become more real people who suffered the slings and arrows of fate.”

ALSO ON HUFFPOST:

Loading Slideshow...
  • Goldie Hawn, Kate Hudson

    "My mother never shook anybody's hand. She has kissed and hugged her way throughout her life." --<a href="http://www.harpersbazaar.com/magazine/cover/kate-hudson-interview-0110" target="_hplink">Kate Hudson to <em>Harper's Bazaar</em></a> (Getty)

  • Lourdes Leon, Madonna

    "I don't think I'm as tough [on Loudes] as I should be. I think I need to be maybe tougher. It's hard -- every day is a negotiation." --<a href="http://todayentertainment.today.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/04/18/11263636-madonna-on-being-a-single-mom-im-not-as-tough-as-i-should-be?lite" target="_hplink">Madonna to "Rock Center's" Harry Smith</a> (Getty)

  • Kris Jenner, Kim Kardashian

    "I am a wife and a mother (believe it or not, I always dreamed of having six kids). I'm not only living that dream, I'm lucky enough to be living it on a huge stage. I've been blessed." --<a href="http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/45107601/ns/today-books/t/kris-jenner-talks-love-loss-all-things-kardashian/#.T6iDb-3khSo" target="_hplink">Kris Jenner, "Kris Jenner . . . And All Things Kardashian"</a> (Getty)

  • Rumer Willis, Demi Moore

    "Ashton jumped in and said, 'I want you to know that I don't take coming into children's lives lightly.' That was within the first couple of weeks of our relationship, before he had met the girls. They are my priority, and I've always been sensitive to their feelings, but as the parent you can't allow your children to dictate what's right for you." --<a href="http://www.harpersbazaar.com/magazine/cover/demi-moore-0408" target="_hplink">Demi Moore to <em>Harper's Bazaar</em></a> (Getty)

  • Joan Rivers and Melissa Rivers

    "Your child comes first. My mother was a big charity lady. But she taught me, start your charity at home." --<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/31/joan-and-melissa-rivers_n_1225934.html" target="_hplink">Joan Rivers to The Huffington Post</a> (Getty)

  • Angelina Jolie with Maddox, Zahara, Pax and Shiloh Jolie-Pitt

    "I am grateful every day, and they remind you every day of what matters in life. You just feel so fortunate that you are lucky enough to be somebody's mother and share that love. I love moms." --<a href="http://www.okmagazine.com/news/angelina-jolie-talks-about-motherhood-2012-screen-actors-guild-awards" target="_hplink">Angelina Jolie to <em>OK!</em></a> (Getty)

  • Suri Cruise and Katie Holmes

    "Becoming a mother has been the most amazing experience--in an instant you become strong. You have to be a little bit wiser; it's the most important job you have in the world." --<a href="http://www.glamour.com/magazine/2009/03/katie-holmes-cover-shoot-photo-gallery#slide=3" target="_hplink">Katie Holmes to <em>Glamour</em> </a> (Getty)

  • Blythe Danner and Gwyneth Paltrow

    "[Gwyneth] is an extraordinary mom, and I'm proud of her for the great mothering she's doing." --<a href="http://www.parade.com/celebrity/celebrity-parade/2011/09/blythe-danner.html" target="_hplink">Blythe Danner to <em>Parade</em></a> (Getty)

  • Rashida Jones, Peggy Lipton

    "My mother and I are more than best friends; we are partners in crime." --Rashida Jones to <a href="http://www.oprah.com/world/Rashida-Jones-Aha-Moment-On-Her-Mom-Peggy-Lipton-and-Cancer" target="_hplink"><em>O, the Oprah Magazine</em></a> (Getty)

  • Sharon Osbourne, Kelly Osbourne

    "Do kids ever listen to what their mothers say? I used to think that mine would learn from all my mistakes. Now I realise that they have to make their own mistakes." --<a href="http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-1160981/I-lousy-mum-Sharon-Osbourne-hates-Dannii-Minogue-plastic-surgery-utterly-failed-children.html" target="_hplink">Sharon Osbourne to <em>Daily Mail</em></a> (Getty)

  • Jada Pinkett Smith, Willow Smith

    "As a mom, I'm very proud to see [her kids] pursuing the things they love. We leave them enough space to express themselves and make their dreams come true. We leave them free to make their own choices. We try not to live through them." --J<a href="http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20586498,00.html" target="_hplink">ada Pinkett Smith to <em>People</em></a> (Getty)

  • Susan Sarandon, Eva Amurri

    "You have to trust in the universe ... give them as much love as possible and put a light around them and send them out because you also can't protect them." --<a href="http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/showbiz/celebrity-interviews/2010/01/24/exclusive-susan-sarandon-on-the-joy-and-pain-of-having-children-86908-21991360/" target="_hplink">Susan Sarandon to the <em>Daily Record</em></a> (Getty)

  • Tracee Ellis Ross and Diana Ross

    "I used to sit in the dressing room with my mom and watch her do her makeup for the stage. It was heaven." --<a href="http://tmagazine.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/12/19/face-time-tracee-ellis-ross/" target="_hplink">Tracee Ellis Ross to <em>T</em> magazine </a> (Getty)

  • Ben Stiller, Anne Meara

    "I liked my parents, so I enjoyed hanging out with them, if they'd be on the set or something - it was much more interesting than school to me." --<a href="http://www.cbsnews.com/2100-3445_162-6319723.html" target="_hplink">Ben Stiller to CBS News</a> (Getty)

  • Debbie Reynolds, Carrie Fisher

    "My mother would get up in the morning as my mother and then she would go into this big closet she had. She'd go in on this end as my mom and she'd come out the other end as Debbie Reynolds. It was like a car wash for celebrities." --<a href="http://www.oprah.com/oprahshow/Carrie-Fisher-and-Debbie-Reynolds/4" target="_hplink">Carrie Fisher to Oprah</a> (Getty)

  • Louisa, Grace and Mamie Gummer and Meryl Streep

    "Motherhood has a very humanizing effect. Everything gets reduced to essentials." --<a href="http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/here-there-and-everywhere/201205/50-quotes-mothers" target="_hplink">Meryl Streep</a> (Getty)

  • Beyonce Knowles and Blue Ivy Carter

    "I feel more beautiful than I've ever felt because I've given birth. I have never felt so connected, never felt like I had such a purpose on this earth." --<a href="http://www.people.com/people/package/article/0,,20360857_20589758,00.html" target="_hplink">Beyonce to <em>People</em></a> (Getty)