“Wow, I’m a mom.” A day in the life of: Alexis Gabel


Syble Heffernan

The family sharing a moment of joy after Jordan Andrews gets off work.

This time last year, senior Alexis Gabel’s life was far from typical. She found out she was pregnant and missed a lot of school because she had morning sickness so badly. “People started spreading rumors; I couldn’t catch a break from people talking crap. It just wasn’t a good environment for me, and I was missing so much school I couldn’t catch up,” Gabel said. She transferred to The Learning Center in January, where she took classes before her son Jayvier’s birth in June and is now on track to graduate in December.

Becoming pregnant was very scary, but it also served as a wake-up call. “After I got pregnant, Jordan [Andrews] and I got our lives together and got back on the right track. I didn’t even think about dropping out of school,” Gabel said. “Jordan is very supportive, he graduated [from TLC in September]

Jayvier beaming during play with his mom and listening
Syble Heffernan
Jayvier beaming during play with his mom and listening to music

and works a full time job now to provide for me and our son,” she said.

“It was hard for us to find a place before [Jayvier] was born because we were 17 and people wouldn’t lease out to us,” Gabel said. She worked hard up until the very last six weeks of her pregnancy. “We wanted to make sure we had money to support [our son]. It was a struggle finding furniture, getting a more reliable car, and paying to turn the lights on, but that was what I was working for,” she said. Now, the three are living together in their own apartment. Gabel said she and Andrews haven’t had to ask for money since she got pregnant and they realized it was time to be on their own. “Jordan does anything and everything he can to make money and support us, and I’m so grateful for that,” she said.

While Gabel attends school and stays at home with their son, Andrews works 7 a.m.-5 p.m. every day at Cohagen Transfer and Storage. “Jordan wakes me up before he goes to work to say goodbye, and ‘I love you’. If Jayvier’s up, he’ll give him a bottle before he goes, so I can sleep. After Jayvier and I are both up, I’ll feed him a bottle, and we play until Jordan comes home from work for lunch,” Gabel said. After lunch, Andrews takes their son to the home of their babysitter named Hilda for the afternoon. Gabel attends TLC throughout the afternoon, and the family spends the evenings together after Andrews gets off work.

In order to support themselves and Jayvier without any help, the couple has become very careful about money. “It’s crazy all the money that actually goes towards things. Bills are really expensive and formula costs like $20. It’s crazy how many diapers [he] goes through and how much they cost,” Gabel said. In order to save money, she and Jordan “don’t do the stupid things we used to.” Gabel said, “Jordan used to speed all the time but he doesn’t anymore. We realize we don’t have enough extra money to pay for a ticket.”

Andrews brought home a Culligan jar from work a while ago, in which they deposit their extra change. “We want to save up for either a family vacation or our wedding,” Gabel said. The couple plans to get married once they’ve saved up enough money. “We don’t want a courthouse wedding; we want the full experience because we only plan on being married once. We’re dead set on being together,” she said. The two parents love each other and work very well together; they don’t believe their son will ever have to have to worry about them not being together.

“I didn’t see Jayvier as a mistake, but all the talk and negativity going around the high school really brought us down,” she said. “People still talk and it hurts, but we have a responsibility now and we’ve moved on,” she said. “Jordan’s graduated, I’m almost graduated, and we’re growing up. People just don’t understand what’s going on in someone else’s life unless they’ve gone through it themselves,” she said. The only comments that really get to them now are the cruel comments people make about their baby, specifically on social media. “He’s only a baby, he can’t defend himself. I don’t understand why people would say hurtful things about a baby,” Gabel said.

The TLC program has provided many opportunities for Gabel. “There’s no drama here. [The students] don’t judge, they ask how Jayvier’s doing and they really care.” Since last January, she’s finished five classes and has one left. After Gabel graduates, she wants to be able to spend time at home raising her son. Later, she hopes to go back to college for two to four years to become a nurse. The couple wants to move out of North Platte as soon as they have enough money to do so. “I don’t want to raise a family here,” she said. “It’s just not the environment I want my son in.”

Gabel said that while being a teen parent is difficult and scary at times, she wouldn’t go back to her life before she had her son. “The best part of parenting is watching him grow up and all the things he does. After I had him, I had to be in the hospital for four days because I had a C-Section. When we left, he was already trying to hold his head up on his own,” she said. Gabel loves playing with her son; he’s been rolling over on his own for several months. She says at the same time, watching him grow up is the worst part of parenting because it’s sad that he won’t be small forever. “Every day when I wake up with Jayvier, I feel grown up. When I feed him, the way he looks up at me just melts my heart. I think, ‘Wow, I’m a mom, someone looks up to me,” she said.