Influencer talks self-love, parenthood, and how to throw a secret wedding ceremony

Sep 20 2019, 9:47 am

On June 10, Heydy Lopez unveiled a big surprise on social media.

“MR & MRS. Well friends… yesterday, we made it official,” she wrote in an Instagram post under a photo of a radiant Lopez in a flowing white dress, alongside her new husband, Miguel de Jesus. 

“We celebrated with our immediate family and closest friends. It was small, intimate, and perfect.”

Heydy’s wedding/Jaleesa Matteazzi Photography

News of the secret wedding delighted the tens of thousands of online followers who’ve come to know Lopez, 28, through her highly regarded motherhood and lifestyle blog and Instagram posts.

As a TELUS partner, Lopez documents what she calls “real MOMents w/ humour, a dash of #bodypositivity & #selflove” — from her personal battles with postpartum depression following the birth of her second son to fearlessly showing off her post-baby body.

Her hard work and honesty has made her a go-to voice in the online parenting space and the strength and scope of the TELUS network — the largest and fastest wireless network in Canada — has helped her to develop her social media influence into a full-time gig run from the Calgary home she shares with de Jesus and their sons, four-year-old Abel and two-year-old Issaia.

 

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Lopez is also mom to 12-year-old Jayden, and, true to character, isn’t shy about sharing the struggles, fears and triumphs she experienced as a former teen mom online.

“I had my son when I was 16 and I wear that badge with honour,” says Lopez. “I want to share my story because we need to have more compassion and more support for teen moms. We need to tell them they can do it, and walk the journey with them because they need it.”

Heydy and children/Sasha Blaney Photography

Success wasn’t necessarily in the cards for Lopez. In fact, statistically, the odds were stacked against her from the beginning.

Growing up in poverty is a strong predictor of teen pregnancy. Studies show that youth who are economically disadvantaged have a teen pregnancy rate five times the average. That stat, in turn, is a predictor of future poverty as children of teenage parents are more likely to become teenage parents themselves. Adding to the challenges, only 40% of teen moms finish high school, and just 2% attend college before the age of 30 years.

Lopez’ early life ticked every box.

She was two years old when she arrived in Canada with her mother and father and two siblings as refugees from Guatemala. The family struggled to make ends meet in their new home and Lopez remembers moving from place to place to place as a child. The financial difficulties endured by the family were only compounded in later years when violence in the home at the hands of Lopez’ father forced her mother, Lilian, to leave and raise her three children on her own.

“My dad was, unfortunately, extremely abusive,” Lopez says today of the childhood trauma she and her siblings experienced.

When Lopez became a parent herself at 16, she remembers how scared she was. The waves of disapproval she felt from strangers who seemed to view her and her baby as a social burden to be shunned made a difficult situation that much worse.

Without her mother’s unwavering support, Lopez says she’s not sure how she would have made it through those early years of motherhood.

 

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“I 100% owe everything — my work ethic, my bravery — to my mom. She had the courage to leave my father and raise three kids on her own, not even knowing the language and in a foreign country,” says Lopez. “She taught me that I have no excuse not to succeed in this country that has so many resources to help people move forward. To let a teen pregnancy define the rest of my life? There is no way.”

With Lilian’s help, along with the community and school supports available to help vulnerable young moms like her care for their babies, Lopez hit the ground running. She finished high school at 17 and went on to graduate from Douglas College as a legal administrative assistant. By 23, she landed a full-time job with ICBC, a role she excelled in until 2018 when she quit to focus on growing her social media business.

 

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The move to self-employment wasn’t easy. After such a difficult childhood and turbulent teenage years, it was admittedly hard to let go of the financial stability she enjoyed through her long-time employer. But Lopez says the timing felt right; the decision has enabled the family to move from Vancouver to Calgary, and given her more time to spend with her young children. Critically, she has come to realize the positive impact her writing is making in the lives of others, and that’s given her newfound confidence in the value of her work.

“When I first started this, I didn’t know what I was doing. I was just writing down my thoughts, but the more I wrote, the more I saw that people were listening and commenting and I thought maybe I do have something important to say,” says Lopez.

Lopez’ genuine commitment to her audience and to keeping her parenting experience real recently earned her a partnership with TELUS. It’s a natural pairing that stems from a mutual appreciation of causes, tech innovations and events that help parents and kids get the information, support and resources they need to thrive in a digital economy, whether it’s the launch of the innovative online health app, Babylon by TELUS Health, the expansion of TELUS Internet for Good program, which makes home internet affordable for low-income families, or sharing tips on keeping kids safe online through TELUS Wise.

 

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Earlier this year, TELUS gave Lopez $500 to donate to the Union Gospel Mission in Vancouver, a non-profit that helped her mom and siblings survive their toughest times.

“I feel so proud to say I am a TELUS ambassador,” she says.

Today, with her marriage out in the open, Lopez is thrilled to begin another exciting new life chapter. The journey hasn’t always been smooth, but she is grateful for the lessons she’s learned along the way, and for the opportunity to connect daily with women on the other side of a computer screen and let them know they are not alone.

“Maybe they are moms who are struggling with postpartum, or they are young moms or single moms, or sometimes they aren’t moms at all,” she says. “I reach out to them because they are reaching out to me and I feel like I am making a difference. It feels good.”