"It still scares me whether or not I can keep a kid safe from someone else who might hurt them," says "The Real" co-host.
For years, Jeannie Mai was adamant and determined that she would not have children. But all that changed after she got with her husband, Jeezy, who helped her feel more comfortable with the idea.
And he did so, Mai said, through putting absolutely no pressure or expectations on her to have children. Instead, she found herself growing with a desire to give a child the type of life she'd never had growing up.
Still, though, Mai says she has a lot of anxiety about bringing such a vulnerable and defenseless person into the world, in large part because of her childhood. "The Real" co-host has previously been open about being a victim of sexual abuse as a child.
Mai has said that she was molested by an older teen family member who was babysitting her when she was nine years old. She also said that it led to a decade-long rift between her and her mother, who did not believe her at first.
"It still scares me whether or not I can keep a kid safe from someone else who might hurt them," admitted the now-pregnant Mai on the latest episode for her YouTube channel show, "Hello Hunnay." "It scares me if my child will be in a situation and not be able to tell me, or if I'm not going to be there to help them."
She said that what she went through in her own childhood has impacted her whole life, making it "hard to see anything as trustworthy moving forward."
"I realized that the reason I didn't want to have kids is because that feeling when I was a kid was so real and so damaging to the point that I'm 42 today still dealing with trust issues and confidence," she shared. "And the ability to trust that I'm gonna stop something if something happens to me. I'm gonna stand up for myself."
She said that's not something she's always done in her career, which is why she feared she might find she's not be able to do it for someone else, and especially for her child.
Mai hinted at the impact that Jeezy had on her well-being, and coming to the decision to have children, when she first announced her pregnancy on "The Real."
"I think the reason why it’s such a big deal is because Jeezy made me realize that I've never really felt safe in my life, you know?" she said to her co-hosts. "And of course, it has to do with things that happened when I was younger, but when you know what feeling unsafe is like, that becomes your world."
That was a feeling she said she shared with her husband, whom she married in March, who also never "felt safe" in his life. And so, they worked to create a place they could both feel that way. And in creating that healthy environment for them both to just be and grow, something changed.
"All of a sudden you start having visions and dreams and for both of us at the same time, it would be becoming parents, having kids," Mai said.