Priyanka Chopra Jonas recently sat down with British Vogue to discuss being a NICU mom and balancing work as a first-time parent with her husband, Nick Jonas.

The actor, producer and entrepreneur says that being a mother has made life easier in a sense because all of her decisions revolve around her daughter, Malti Marie, now.

“It’s been 20 years of hustling and working at breakneck speed. I’ve always been like, ‘What’s the next thing?’ But now I feel I have a centre, a sense of calm, because every decision ends up being about her,” she says.

Chopra Jonas, 40, surprised her millions of followers in January 2022 with the news of Malti Marie’s arrival. Their daughter was born via surrogate and since then, she and Nick Jonas have kept their path to surrogacy pretty private. Of course, as always, the internet trolls attacked the first-time parents with cruel comments about their private decision to have a child via surrogacy.

“I’ve developed a tough hide when people talk about me,” she says. “But it’s so painful when they talk about my daughter. I’m like, ‘Keep her out of it.’ I know what it felt like to hold her little hands when they were trying to find her veins. So no, she’s not going to be gossip. I’ve been really protective of this chapter of my life with my daughter. Because it’s not about my life only. It’s hers too.”

Malti was born preterm, a full trimester before her due date. “I was in the OR when she came out. She was so small, smaller than my hand,” Chopra Jonas explains. “I saw what the intensive-care nurses do. They do God’s work. Nick and I were both standing there as they intubated her. I don’t know how they even found what they needed to intubate her.”

Over the next few months, she adds, they traveled back and forth from different hospitals, soaking in the skin-to-skin contact, until their daughter was finally discharged. “We spent every single day with her on my chest, on my husband’s chest. I didn’t know if she would make it or not.”

Priyanka Chopra Jonas is not the first celebrity mom to have a child via surrogacy. Recently, Rebel Wilson welcomed her first child via a surrogate as well. Thanks to modern medicine having a child via IVF, surrogacy or pushing it out of your body are all “normal” ways to have children. And, even though she certainly doesn’t owe any explanations into their decision-making process, Chopra Jonas did say that it was a “necessary step.”

Related: IVF, IUI, ICI and IVI: There are so many ways to make a family

“I had medical complications,” she shares, so “this was a necessary step, and I’m so grateful I was in a position where I could do this. Our surrogate was so generous, kind, lovely and funny, and she took care of this precious gift for us for six months.”

 “You don’t know me,” she continues. “You don’t know what I’ve been through. And just because I don’t want to make my medical history, or my daughter’s, public doesn’t give you the right to make up whatever the reasons were.” 

Even though she’s taken a break from acting to immerse herself in full-time mama-mode, Chopra Jonas says she is working on a couple new projects.

“Hopefully I’ll open doors for the next generation of girls,” she says. But, for now everything she does revolves around her daughter.

“I want her to be able to look back and be proud of my choices. I want to do right by her.”