Pregnant Padma's Proudest 2009 Moment

Padma Lakshmi had a lot to be proud of in 2009. Her star continued to rise as co-host of Top Chef, she successfully conceived after many years of trying, and she launched her own line of jewelry, now selling at swanky Bergdorf Goodman.

But when Padma looks back, the memory that stands out most for her this year is a moment in the spotlight that occurred during a gathering of scientists.

"I gave a keynote address at MIT December 4th." Lakshmi tells People.com. "This year I was able to co-found the Endometriosis Foundation of America. It was a way to use something I've struggled with and turn it into something positive. This was my proudest achievement."

The model-turned-TV-host is using her fame to bring awareness and research funds to the uterine affliction -- a leading cause of infertility. Her speech at the renowned Massachussetts university launched the school's foundation, which aims to find a cure for the disease.

The Emmy nominee says being pregnant is still a little "mysterious to her," but making a family was always a priority for the 39-year-old.

"My mom was a big inspiration to me growing up," she says. "She was a multi-tasker, a single mom, and definitely a great cook. I can only do my job because of my mother."

Lakshmi is due in February.

Do you admire Padma Lakshmi for discussing her struggle with infertility? Chime in below!

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