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Jenna 'irritated' by mom-shaming of Meghan Markle: 'Let's lift women up'

The TODAY with Hoda & Jenna co-host wants to make things better for the next generation of ladies.
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/ Source: TODAY

Between rumored rifts, a Canadian relocation and everything about the royal reshuffling commonly called “Megxit,” the former Meghan Markle is a hot topic for headlines and watercooler conversation these days.

But TODAY with Hoda & Jenna co-host Jenna Bush Hager says she’s disappointed with the direction some of that talk has taken since recent paparazzi pics of the Meghan and her son, Archie, were published.

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“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,” Jenna, a mom of three herself, shared on the show Wednesday morning.

Critics on social media and beyond called out Meghan for what they saw as sloppy use of the baby carrier that held her and Prince Harry's 8-month-old son, Archie, even though experts saw no problem.

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“It just brought up things in me,” Jenna said of how the criticism of Meghan reminded her of times she’s been mom-shamed, including just last month when she left the side of her then-4-month-old son, Hal, to go to Vietnam and put a spotlight on girls’ education with former first lady Michelle Obama.

“I got people writing things on my social media. And I was going to respond, but I was too tired,” she recalled to fellow 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!”

It wasn’t hard for Hoda to recall a time she, too, faced that sort of mom-shaming.

"I remember I went with Joel to do the Rose Bowl. And we were with the Rokers, and it was one comment," she explained. "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.'

"And I was like, 'Actually, I don't love it.' ... Give everybody a little bit of a break."

As Jenna pointed out, it’s not that sort of thing that Hoda’s fiancé, Joel, or her own husband, Henry, have had to deal with at all.

“Here’s the thing, Joel and Henry aren’t sitting around being shamed about their dadding,” she said. “They’re just dads, and they’re free.”

So Jenna plans to tackle the mom-shaming epidemic starting close to home.

“I’m going to challenge myself when I have thoughts like that — to put them out of my head,” she insisted. “When I want to say something to somebody that’s none of my business, (I’ll) stop. Let’s lift women up.”

And though it may take a long time to turn the tide, with two daughters, she knows it’s worthwhile.

She added, “Our generation has to stop this so my girls aren’t worried about it.”