Priyanka Chopra Jonas is opening up more about her daughter Malti's birth and subsequent health issues associated with being born a full trimester before her due date.
Chopra Jonas and husband Nick Jonas announced the arrival of their first child via surrogate last January, and their bundle of joy then spent more than 100 days in the neonatal intensive care unit before finally being able to go home with her parents.
"I was in the OR [operating room] when she came out. She was so small, smaller than my hand," she told British Vogue for the magazine's February 2023 cover story. "I saw what the intensive-care nurses do. They do God's work. Nick and I were both standing there as they intubated her."
Over the next three months, Chopra Jonas, 40, and Jonas, 30, stayed by Malti's side. "We spent every single day with her on my chest, on my husband's chest," Chopra said. "I didn't know if she would make it or not."
In addition to dealing with Malti's health after she was born, the "Quantico" alum also dealt with negative reaction to her using a surrogate.
"I've developed a tough hide when people talk about me. 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," she said. "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."
"You don't know me. You don't know what I've been through," she continued. "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."
As for why she turned to surrogacy, Chopra Jonas called it a "necessary step" and one she is "grateful" she was in the position to turn to. "I had medical complications," she added.
The "Love Again" star said most people say Malti looks like Jonas, adding jokingly, "I don't believe it."
She called Jonas, whom she married in 2018, "a wise man beyond his years" and credited him for reminding her of her "value when I forget or when I get insecure. He just sees through the fog for me. He sees the best in people."
Chopra Jonas said she's spent her career "hustling and working at breakneck speed" concerned with "the next thing," but Malti has given her a new focus in life.
"...[N]ow I feel I have a centre, a sense of calm, because every decision ends up being about her," she said.
See the full feature in the February issue of British Vogue available via digital download and on newsstands from Tuesday, Jan. 24.