Jenna Bush Hager is supporting Meghan Markle against her mommy-shaming critics.
Recently, the TODAY with Hoda & Jenna co-host spoke out against the negative media attention surrounding the Duchess of Sussex, after paparazzi photos were taken of Markle hiking with her eight-month-old son, Archie.
Although the Duke of Sussex’s attorney threatened legal action against the photographers, the online hate towards Markle was already in full force. Published images of the 38-year-old royal was criticized for the “unsafe” way she carried her sleeping son in a front-facing baby carrier.
Hager said she found the public’s reaction towards Markle frustrating. The mother of six-year-old Margaret, four-year-old Poppy and five-month-old son Hal revealed she is well aware of the pain mom-shaming can cause, having been the target of online bullying many times before.
“I will say the one thing that I noticed that irritated me was that there was a lot of mom-shaming around it - like tons of people piled on. It brought up a lot of things in me,” the journalist admitted.
Hager shared how she recently felt the wrath of parenting critics when she left her four-month-old son, Hal, to travel to Vietnam to work with former first lady Michelle Obama and her initiative to further girls’ education internationally.
“I got people writing things on my social media. And I was going to respond, but I was too tired,” Hagar told co-anchor Hoda Kotb. “But here’s the thing, as mothers, we’re constantly questioning ourselves. Right? Every day you and I say to each other, ‘I failed again!’ And leaving my little people broke my heart, so let’s lift each other up!”
Kotb, a mother-of-two, echoed Hager’s sentiments by revealing she has been hurt by criticism of her parenting online.
“I remember I went with [my fiancé] Joel to do the Rose Bowl and we were with the Rokers and it was one comment, but I remember I read it and it struck me. It’s like ‘Oh, great. Another day away from your kids. You must be loving it,’” Kotb recalled. “And I was like, ‘Actually, I don’t love it.’....Give everybody a little bit of a break.’”
Both Hager and Kotb agreed that men aren’t subjected to the same criticism or guilt as working mothers, adding that men are “just dads, and they’re free.”
Hager said she has made a personal vow to shut-down any critical feelings towards other women she may have in order to help end the vicious cycle of mom-shaming and mom-guilt.
“I’m going to challenge myself when I have thoughts like that - to put them out of my head,” Hager shared. “When I want to say something to somebody that’s none of my business, [I’ll] stop. Let’s lift women up. Our generation has to stop this so my girls aren’t worried about it.”