"I knew I should have felt joy."
Celebrities aren't immune to the realities that come with motherhood. Jenna Bush Hager, mom of three, has dealt with a lot over the years. From suffering an ectopic pregnancy before having her first child, to juggling motherhood raising daughters Mila, 7, Poppy, 4, and son, Hal, 1, Bush Hager embraces it all.
In her new book, Everything Beautiful in Its Time: Seasons of Love and Loss, Bush Hager recalls the mixed emotions she had when finding out she was pregnant with her son. Bush Hager and her husband Henry weren't planning to have more kids when they learned of baby No. 3, and the surprise pregnancy brought some guilt along with happiness.
Not only were more kids not in her plans, but there were two important people in Bush Hager's life who were hoping to expand their family around the same time—her twin sister Barbara and friend Hoda Kotb. This left Bush Hager with some "survivor's guilt" as she wondered how Barbara and Kotb would take her news, she recalls in her memoir.
"I knew I should have felt joy, but my first feeling was a surge of survivor's guilt," Bush Hager writes. "Many of my friends were struggling with infertility. How would they take the news that I was going to have a surprise baby?"
Bush Hager referred to her third pregnancy as an "immaculate conception" as all odds were seemingly stacked against her.
"Infertility runs in my family, and it was not easy to conceive Poppy," Bush Hager wrote, referencing her 4-year-old daughter. "Now I was three years older, two years into what's termed — rather insultingly, I've always thought — advanced maternal age. What's more, Henry and I, like many parents of young children, struggle to find time to be ... intimate."
When it came time for Bush Hager to share the news with her parents, George W. Bush and Laura Bush, the former President expressed his concern of how Barbara may handle it, not yet having children of her own.
"They were delighted, but the first thing my father said was, 'Have you told Barbara?' I knew my father was worried that Barbara, newly married, would likely be trying soon for a baby if she wasn't already," Bush Hager explained. "My parents went through so much in order to conceive us, so they are sensitive to the feelings of anyone who does not yet have the babies they want. They thought that if Barbara was trying, she might understandably envy my pregnancy."
As for the former First Lady, Bush Hager recounts: "My mother scolded my father for putting that pressure on me. She said what she always says when these questions arise: 'Every woman gets her baby in her time.'"
Bush Hager had already told her sister by then, to which she recalls Barbara laughing and joking, "Three kids? Holy sh*t!"
Next up for Bush Hager was telling her Today costar. "I fretted over how to do it," Bush Hager says. "She'd worked hard to adopt her baby, Haley Joy, and she desperately wanted Haley to have a baby sister." Kotb ultimately reacted with joy by embracing Bush Hager in a hug.
"Her understanding and grace allowed me to begin feeling excited about the pregnancy for the first time," Bush Hager writes. "She also told me not to worry about her."
To much of Bush Hager's surprise, Kotb had some happy news of her own to share at the time: Kotb was in the process of adopting her second daughter, Hope Catherine, who she welcomed into her family in April 2019. "We held each other and cried. Full of relief and full of hope," Bush Hager writes.
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