Erin found out she was pregnant when she was 17. She still lived with her parents and had just finished high school.
Her relationship with her boyfriend was complicated. She had friends who had had an abortion, and friends who had given their baby up for adoption, but neither of those were options she ever considered.
“It was the scariest thing I have ever done,” she says. “I didn’t tell anyone until I was eight months pregnant. I got really good at wearing hoodies and big clothes. My mom gave me a gym pass for Christmas because she thought I was gaining weight. I was so worried about letting my family down that I just pretended it wasn’t happening. Telling someone would have been admitting that I was actually having a baby!”
In January her mom found out and she had her baby in March. Her mom organized her first doctor’s visit and even when she had an ultrasound she felt she couldn’t look at the picture, still being in partial denial that this was actually happening.
It was a very fast birth – only about an hour. Her boyfriend Cliff was with her and after the baby was born everyone came to the hospital: her parents, sister, grandparents, aunts, uncles, great aunts, great uncles, cousins, they were all there.
“My grandpa gave me a big hug and told me he just knew I will be an incredible mother and everyone cried and was happy,” Erin says. “When we announced the baby’s name, Maggie, my grandmother – who she was named after – broke into tears and it was just so wonderful! I realized then that they all loved me and were behind me with this and whatever else would come. I was not scared anymore knowing that I had so many people supporting me.”
Erin says she is grateful for how supportive the staff at Whitehorse Hospital was, they let her stay a full week and helped her with breastfeeding and learning how to take care of her baby and she felt confident by the time she left.
Maggie is 16 this year and Erin enjoys being the youngest mom of a 16-year-old in her circle of friends.
“I had to grow up fast,” she says, “but my children are the biggest blessing in my life. I wouldn’t be where I am now without them. I learned responsibility early and have good work ethics and a different outlook on life because of it.”
Erin is a mom of three – she had all her babies before she was 25 years old – and stepmom of two. She has been married to Cliff for 12 years now. She has a Bachelor of Education that she earned through The Yukon Native Teacher Education Program and works as a full time teacher while also owning and operating Peak Fitness and Avalanche Mixed Martial Arts together with her husband Cliff.