youtube.com/TODAY /  GettyImages
Source: youtube.com/TODAY / GettyImages

Hoda Kotb Was 'Horrified' by Her Scars after Cancer Surgery Which Caused 'Dead-End' in Trying for a Baby

Gaone Pule
Jul 05, 2022
09:00 A.M.
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After American broadcaster Hoda Kotb discovered that she had breast cancer, her life drastically changed forever. The disease not only impacted how she viewed her body but also took away her only chance of being able to conceive. However, not all was lost, and she made sure of it.


In 2007, broadcast journalist Hoda Kotb was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent a mastectomy. Kotb reflected on her procedure for Today in 2014.

The TV personality shared that the type of cancer she had required an extensive eight-hour surgery which involved a mastectomy and reconstruction.

TV anchor Hoda Kotb attending as New York Women In Communications Celebrates 2020 & 2021 Matrix Awards Winners at Current at Chelsea Piers on November 08, 2021 in New York City. / Source: Getty Images

TV anchor Hoda Kotb attending as New York Women In Communications Celebrates 2020 & 2021 Matrix Awards Winners at Current at Chelsea Piers on November 08, 2021 in New York City. / Source: Getty Images


Following the operation, Kotb recalled her sister telling her that she looked healthier. However, at that point, it had not sunk in yet that the cancer was now gone. She explained in detail the two phases she underwent after the successful surgery.

Kotb said she was thrilled once it finally dawned on her that the cancer was removed. That euphoric feeling left her thinking that how her body appeared afterward did not matter because the disease was now gone. Hence, she expressed gratitude for being still alive.

The Oklahoma native then touched on the second phase after the surgery, where she said there was a point where she could barely look at herself.


She recounted a moment at the hospital when a nurse said she needed to help bathe her, and she had to stand in front of a mirror. However, Kotb asked the professional to turn her around instead because she wanted to avoid seeing herself:

"A nurse came in to help me, and she stood in front of the mirror, and I was horrified."

After finally seeing how she looked, Kotb realized that she had to live with her new body post-surgery, adding that at that point, she hardly saw a positive outcome from the procedure. "That's me now? Like, this is the body for the rest of my life that's going to carry me through?" she noted.




Slowly but surely, Kotb began to see herself differently, thanks to two people. She revealed that after her surgery, an aunt of her friend, Harriet, helped her see a better version of herself. Kotb shared that Harriet asked to see her scar and told her that she had the same scars.

At that point, the author had not allowed anyone to see her post-surgery body, and it was not until Harriet took her to the back of a room and revealed her scars that Kotb finally developed the confidence to do the same.

When she showed Harriet her scar, she asked whether it was terrible to do it, and after that, Kotb said it was a "moving moment" that became a "life-changer."


Her self-perspective also changed because of a man she dated at the time. Kotb shared she never felt beautiful then nor worthy, but that particular man changed her thinking because he did not see the scars but saw her beautiful self. The "Today" co-host said she began to feel better about her body:

"Now I look at my scars, and I'm happy."

Kotb added that when her body started to heal, she realized that she no longer cared about the scars and was merely content with having a healthy body.


But she did admit that her body confidence was not 100 percent yet, revealing that she still stressed about what to wear, such as bathing suits or gym clothes:

"The actual scars are there... that's forever a part of me."

Kotb shared that, in her experience, the best way to avoid feeling discouraged about one's body was by taking the spotlight away from oneself. The "Dateline NBC" star explained that whenever she felt indifferent about how she looked or when going through troubling times, she reminded herself that someone out there had it worse.



After having a hard time with body image, Kotb then had to fight the inevitable fact that she would be unable to have kids because of the surgery. She revealed to Good Housekeeping in March 2022 that when she was on a phone call with her oncologist discussing the idea of freezing her eggs, that was when she received devastating news:

"She basically said that given my age and [my breast cancer treatment], it was pretty close to a dead end. I was in my room, and I just sobbed."

The former correspondent admitted that she blamed herself, thinking that she could have done things differently for a better outcome. After that, she buried the thought of being a mom someday because the reality was hard to bear.


In March 2017, Kotb told People that one of the things she desperately wished for was to be a mother, "One of the things in my life I've always wanted was to be a mom," she said, adding that sometimes things are bound not to turn into one's favor which was challenging to come to terms with.

Meanwhile, her former "Today" co-star, Kathie Lee Gifford, revealed that she was a grateful individual who never complained. Lee Gifford stated that the "You Are My Happy" author focused on her blessings, such as being a doting aunt, in which she rejoiced.

Lee Gifford stressed that Kotb never dropped any hints that something was missing in her life. However, Kotb stated that "there was a hole" behind closed doors. People would often ask her if she had kids, which would hurt.




However, she could no longer take the overbearing thought out of her mind and asked herself, "Why can't I? Why not me? I had this ache in me that I couldn't push away anymore."

At the time, she was in a relationship of three years with her then-fiance, Joel Schiffman, with whom she planned on moving in. Kotb contemplated bringing up the subject of adoption and admitted that she was even afraid to say it out loud because it felt real.


When she eventually did, she told Schiffman to ponder about it for a day or a week, but he quickly said that he did not need a day to think about it, adding they should begin the process immediately. Kotb recalled her reaction to her lover's statement:

"At that point, I blubbered like a baby. It was like the dam burst."


When things got underway, Kotb shared she read about actress Sandra Bullock who also opted for adoption. The TV anchor mentioned that the Oscar Award winner was the same age as her when she adopted children.

She remembered calling Bullock and talking about the experience. The "Miss Congeniality" star told her that deciding to adopt was the best choice she ever made. That conversation pushed Kotb in the right direction. When she finally decided to give it a go too and was on the plane to pick up her adopted daughter, she called Bullock again, who said, "It's about to begin!"

Kotb worked with a licensed New York adoption agency and left Schiffman's name off because they were not married. The adoption process got finalized in a few months, and she later welcomed her daughter Hailey Joy, born on Valentine's Day in 2017.


After only ten days with her newborn daughter, Kotb revealed to People that she had already adjusted to life as a new mom, saying it was fun.

She noted that the new experience of motherhood changed her perspective on things. Kotb said she thought she had done it all and felt it all, "but I just didn't know that this kind of love existed."

Kotb told People that she sometimes woke up the next day, and it felt surreal that she was now a mother. But she noted that it felt real because she had longed for it her whole life, and now that it came to pass, it was significant.


The proud mom revealed that she chose her daughter's name after Halley's comet, which can be spotted from Earth once every seven decades, according to Today. Kotb shared Haley's second name reflected the emotion she brought: joy.

In April 2019, Kotb became a mother of two when she announced that she had adopted another baby girl named Hope Catherine, making Haley a big sister. She expressed her exhilaration for her second child and revealed Haley had already embraced her new role as a sister.

Kotb is now not only happy with her scars but also with raising two children. In April 2022, she revealed to Us Magazine her girls' milestones, revealing that Haley called her "poopie mom," and Hope started talking nonstop.

When asked about having mom guilt, Kotb said she wanted her girls to see her work because she wanted them to witness how modern she was.

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