Kotb chats with TODAY co-host Jenna Bush Hager about a particularly mean letter she received.

By Perri Ormont Blumberg
September 29, 2020

Whether you become a mom through adoption or naturally, embryo, egg, or sperm donor or surrogacy, or just about any other way, all paths to parenthood are special and valid—no matter what naysayers may clamor otherwise.

Unfortunately, TODAY show host Hoda Kotb knows all too well what it's like to encounter such detractors, as she discussed with co-host Jenna Bush Hager in a recent segment on mom shaming. In the candid conversation, the two get real about feeling judged by other parents, especially now during back-to-school season amid the coronavirus pandemic where it seems like all decisions made regarding a child's education proceeding virtually or in-person puts you under the microscope for others to criticize.

In the segment, Bush Hager opens up about social media backlash and the pain of being called out in a public forum, while Kotb talks about a time she received a hurtful piece of mail from a disgruntled viewer. "Who do you think you are having kids at that age?" the letter to Kotb read—much to Kotb's disbelief—referencing Kotb adopting in her 50s. "I tore it up. I felt horrible in that moment because there is something that bothers you inside about that. But then I thought...[who would] go to the trouble of mailing it?"

"And anybody that would see the way you are with two girls, that's the thing that I'm trying to remember. That stranger that took the time to write something so mean, when she doesn't even know what you're like as a mother...she's never seen you hold those little girls," replies a visibly emotional Bush Hager. "That infuriates me. I think why it's so hard is that as parents we're already questioning ourselves constantly," she continues, as Kotb wholeheartedly agrees, before Bush Hager urges all parents to support each other. Watch the full conversation below.

Previously, Kotb has reflected on why she's a better mom in her 50s, and we have no doubts that the ebullient talk show host is a great mom to three-year-old Haley Joy and one-year-old Hope Catherine. Thanks for making the world a kinder, more inclusive place for all kinds of mamas and papas, Hoda.