Today show host Hoda Kotb is a new mother, and she’s more than ecstatic to have the opportunity. While those who know the TV personality say that she never really opened up about her desire to have children, Kotb told PEOPLE in an exclusive cover story that she had always wanted to be a mother but was close to giving up on the possibility. Over a decade ago, Kotb fought breast cancer and she said that her treatment left her unable to conceive.
“One of the things in my life I’ve always wanted was to be a mom,” she told the magazine. “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.”
So Kotb started looking going after her dreams of motherhood in another way. She was determined not to give up on them.
“People would say, ‘Oh, do you have kids?’” she said. “And I’d feel like, ‘Ouch.’ I knew inside it was supposed to be for me.”
She brought up the idea to her long-term boyfriend, 58-year-old financier Joel Schiffman, as they prepared to move in together last year. Thankfully, he was more than open to the idea.
“I was afraid to even say it out loud, because then it felt so real,” she said. “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.”
@todayshow’s @hodakotb is opening up about adopting her daughter Haley Joy at 52 after cancer left her unable to conceive. Tap the link in the bio to read more. | 📷: @briandoben
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Months later, she received her dream baby, Haley Joy, born on Valentine’s Day. One might assume that after such a long road, having a baby probably doesn’t feel real for Kotb, but she said the overwhelming love she has for her infant daughter is as real as can be.
“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.”
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