Mai says that the sexual abuse she endured as a child stopped her from thinking about ever having child of her own
Jeannie Mai Jenkins has opened up about why she decided to have a child after being vocal about not wanting them for years.
“I didn’t trust myself to actually to protect somebody else,” she said in an October 14 video, posted on her YouTube channel Hello Hunnay with Jeannie Mai. In 2019, she revealed was sexually molested by her cousin growing up, and suffered deep emotional damage because of it.
Now, with her husband who has two children from a previous relationship, she says she feels safe enough to explore the possibility of parenthood.
“What I’ve determined to do is face my fears, and do everything I can to understand where it comes from so that I know it’s not real,” she said in the video. “There are bad people in the world who could harm your child. But I also know that I am a mighty woman today and that my child is not going to have the same relationship with their parents that I had with mine.”
The daytime talk show host was married to actor Freddy Harteis for a decade before they abruptly divorced in 2017.
The Vietnamese host spoke about the troubles within her marriage, one of which was her not wanting to have children.
In 2014, she shared on the show that Harteis wanted to start a family, but she had no desire to.
— Page Six (@PageSix) October 13, 2018
“When we were dating I was always very vocal — because I’ll never lead a man on when I know I don’t want to have children,” she said during the episode.
“So, I was always honest about that. I think we were both so young — it was like 14 years ago — I think he also thought, ‘You know what, we’re so in love I don’t want that either.’ He could have been happy not having children with me,” she said.
Their eventual divorce took a turn for the worse when “money and ego got involved” in the divorce proceedings, Mai told the Breakfast Club in an interview. Since then Harteis has welcomed two children with his fiance Linsey Toole.
In a video titled “Why I Didn’t Speak to My Mom for 8 Years,” she had a candid conversation with her mom, who initially told the teenage Mai that she did believe her when she told her about the assault.
Mai said that her mom had to pick up an extra job, and had Mai’s 17-year-old cousin watch Mai and her two younger brothers when she was at work. She then details the repeated abuse from 9-years-old to 16-years-old.
“As a child, when you are taken from things that feel good and whole and safe, it’s hard to see anything being trustworthy moving forward,” said Mai in her most recent video on becoming a parent.
“I realized that the reason why I didn’t want to have kids was because that feeling when I was a kid was so real and so damaging, to the point where I’m 42 still dealing with trust issues and confidence.”
After going to therapy and speaking to her husband, who also had a rough childhood that he often speaks about in his music, she said she now feels comfortable that she can raise a child in a safe environment.
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