This week, Hoda Kotb became a mother. And we can't stop crying.
It's not just me. Jenna Bush Hager. My friend Amy. Pretty much every mom I know on Facebook. We all cried for Hoda this week.
And yes, new babies always make me happy. Since becoming a mom myself, I will confess to becoming weirdly sentimental about birth announcements. Why do I care that Lauren Conrad is pregnant or that girl I kind of knew in high school just had a baby? I wasn't even that big of a Hills fan. I don't know, but I just do.
And yes, everyone loves Hoda. I've never met her in person, despite working at the TODAY show, but I'm pretty sure that we could totally be best friends. Admit it, if you watch her on television, you probably think the same thing. That's her brilliance! She's like your BFF who happens to be on TV every morning.
So, we love Hoda and we love babies. But there's something more. Hoda became a mom for the first time at 52. When you're a 52-year-old new mom, it means you have confronted the very real possibility that you will NOT ever become a mom. And that means you know something about heartbreak.
And if you know something about heartbreak, well, you already know something about being a mom.
Hoda battled cancer, only to watch the cure destroy any hopes of getting pregnant one day. Not everyone knows that particular pain, but a lot of people know the pain of wanting to be a parent so badly and not knowing if it will ever happen. We know about struggling with fertility, pasting on a smile at other people's baby showers, hearing the words, "I'm sorry, there's no heartbeat."
So even if we don't know Hoda, we know.
We know what it feels like to look into those baby eyes and think, "This is what I was born to do."
Followed immediately by the thought, "Oh my god, I have no idea what I'm doing."
Welcome to parenthood: It's equal parts joy and terror.
Honesty helps. Non-judgmental friends help. Coffee and wine help (we know Hoda's got the last part covered, at least).
The truth is, even if you sail into motherhood with relative ease, nobody gets out unscathed. Parenting, done right, will break your heart. It's tough -- even when, especially when, you're doing it right. And you never know whether you're doing it right. All you can do is try your best.
And maybe that's why we're crying for Hoda -- because we can tell that she's been through heartbreak and it's made her stronger. And we know that her heart will break again and again as her baby girl grows up, because it happens to all of us, but we also know that it's worth it. And we know the secret of parenting, that your heart grows stronger in the broken places.
So welcome, Hoda, and please forgive the tears in our eyes. We're just sappy moms, after all. Like your mom told baby Haley, we've waited a long time for you. And we're so glad you're here.