Babies are such a blessing, but for hopeful mothers who are infertile or for those who cannot conceive for whatever reason, not being able to be a mother can seem like the biggest defeat.
MUST-SEE: Hoda Kotb Shares New Photos of Her Baby
“One of the things in my life I’ve always wanted was to be a mom,” Kotb told People. “Sometimes in your life, things just don’t work out for whatever reason, so you say, ‘Well, I wasn’t meant to have that.’ But it was really hard to come to terms with it.”
Hoda, 52, thought she would never be a mother after a breast cancer battle left her unable to conceive. Shortly after her recovery, her two-year marriage to Burzis Kanga, a tennis coach, ended.
Despite her struggles, she stayed quiet. “Hoda is such a grateful person. She’s not a whiner or complainer, so she rejoiced in the blessings she had, and she loved being an aunt and found great joy in that,” says her Today co-anchor and close friend Kathie Lee Gifford. “It seemed like that was enough for her. She never let on that it was something missing in her life.”
But she grieved internally. “People would say, ‘Oh, do you have kids?’ And I’d feel like, ‘Ouch.’ I knew inside it was supposed to be for me.”
She so desperately wanted kids that she considered switching careers and becoming a schoolteacher or a camp counselor. “One of the reasons was because I couldn’t have children,” she explained. “Finally I said to myself one day, ‘Why can’t I? Why not me?’ I had this ache in me that I couldn’t push away anymore.”
So she adopted a beautiful little baby girl and named her Haley Joy, and that sweet little girl has lived up to her name.
“I wake up sometimes and go, ‘Oh my God, I have a baby!’” she said. “But it feels totally real. I guess if you’ve been waiting this long for something, and you wish for it, pray for it, hope for it, wonder if it will ever be, and then it happens, nothing’s more real. Nothing.”
Life is looking up for Hoda, who seems content to carve out a new life with her daughter and boyfriend of three years, Joel Schiffman. Perhaps we'll even hear wedding bells in the future! But for now, we wish her all the best. She totally deserves it!