Happy Mother’s Day: meet Kristen

Meet Kristen Rowan. At 22, her story might seem typical for her age: she owns her own place, works full-time and prides herself on her one-and-a-half year old son, Koda (named from the movie Brother Bear).

But, Kristen’s story is far from typical. Extraordinary is a better word.

Kristen is an “alumni” of the H.E.R. Pregnancy Program, a partner program of Streetworks at Boyle Street Community Services and our latest partner here at Apricity.

“My mom came [to Boyle Street] all the time, so that’s when I linked up with the H.E.R. Pregnancy Program,” explained Kristen. “I was coming for emotional support, to get away from the life I was living sometimes.”

Before Koda, Kristen lived with her abusive ex-boyfriend and began using meth. Then, she found out she was pregnant, and she quit everything: “Just knowing that I wanted a healthy baby was enough to quit,” said Kristen.

“I was going back and forth with names but in one of my ultrasounds, he was flipped upwards and they couldn’t take a picture of his face and I said, ‘Koda, you need to flip around.’ And, he flipped around. From that moment on, I was like, ‘His name’s Koda.’” — Kristen

“I was going back and forth with names but in one of my ultrasounds, he was flipped upwards and they couldn’t take a picture of his face and I said, ‘Koda, you need to flip around.’ And, he flipped around. From that moment on, I was like, ‘His name’s Koda.’” — Kristen

Morgan Chalifoux, H.E.R.’s senior staff member, helped her along the way, both emotionally and with more immediate needs like rides to prenatal appointments, bus and milk tickets and securing income support.

“Yes, maybe she didn’t have a white picket fence or a Mercedes Benz to raise her child, but she had the love,” said Morgan. “She had the willingness.”

Today, Kristen helps to inspire that willingness in others as a youth mentor.

“[H.E.R.] gave me the courage to actually stand up for myself in situations I wouldn’t have before,” said Kristen, who’s expecting her second child. “It was very helpful having somebody there to listen to what’s going on in my life when the people in my life wouldn’t. I knew that there would be somebody there that would.”

Happy Mother’s Day, Kristen — and to all the moms out there!