Is seems Hoda Kotb is loving life as a new mom!
In a candid new interview, the 52-year-old Today show star opened up about her emotional journey from surviving breast cancer to adopting her baby daughter, Haley.
"One of the things in my life I've always wanted was to be a mom," Hoda recently 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."
Ten years ago, Hoda was diagnosed with breast cancer and bravely underwent a mastectomy and reconstructive surgery in March 2007 to treat the disease. She later learned she is unable to conceive a baby naturally due to her cancer battle.
That same year, the TV star's two-year marriage to former University of New Orleans tennis coach Burzis Kanga crumbled and the pair sadly divorced.
"There was a hole [in my life]," Hoda said. "People would say, 'Oh, do you have kids?' And I’d feel like, 'Ouch.' I knew inside it was supposed to be for me."
"One of the reasons was because I couldn’t have children," she continued. "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."
Following her divorce, Hoda began dating NYC financier Joel Schiffman, 58, in 2013 and the two later moved in together last year. Around that time, the Today star began toying with the idea of adopting a child and discussed the notion with her boyfriend.
"I was afraid to even say it out loud because then it felt so real," she recalled. "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."
After working for months with a New York adoption agency, Hoda's daughter, Haley Joy Kotb, was born on Feb. 14, 2017. Though she adopted Haley as a single mom to simplify the adoption process, Hoda said her little girl will one day call Joel her dad.
"I wake up sometimes and go, 'Oh my God, I have a baby!' But it feels totally real," Hoda said. "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."
"It’s one of those things where you think you’ve done it all, you think you’ve felt it all," she added. "But I just didn’t know that this kind of love existed."
Click through the gallery below to see more adorable photos of Hoda’s daughter, Haley!