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.”
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