Hoda Kotb Talks Infertility and Becoming a New Mother at 52
"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."
Hoda Kotb feared she'd never experience the joy of motherhood. So as she enters week two with her adopted newborn daughter, the 52-year-old Today show host says even diaper changes are fun.
"It's one of those things where you think you've done it all, you think you've felt it all," she tells People. "But I just didn't know that this kind of love existed."
Kotb says she always wanted to be a mom, but a battle with breast cancer a decade ago left the Oklahoma native unable to conceive.
"One of the things in my life I've always wanted was to be a mom," she reveals. "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."
She said she often daydreamed of leaving television for a job working with kids as a teacher.
"One of the reasons was because I couldn't have children," she explains. "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."
She told People that when she broached the subject of adoption with her boyfriend of three years, Joel Schiffman, she was surprised to find that he was completely onboard.
"I was afraid to even say it out loud, because then it felt so real. I said, 'Think about it for a day or a week or whatever.' And he said, 'I don't need a day. Let's get this journey going.' At that point I blubbered like a baby. It was like the dam burst," recalls Kotb.
With the support of her boyfriend, Kotb began to make things happen. With the help of a licensed New York adoption agency, she took Haley Joy home a few months later. Little Haley was born on Valentine's Day and weighed 8 lbs., 8 oz. Kotb says she is the "love of her life."
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"I wake up sometimes and go, 'Oh my God, I have a baby!' " she tells People. "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."