Is This a Joke? Nope. It’s Just Life. So NOW What?

In 2010, I published my very personal story about how I got into a situation with a boy. He forced himself on me, a virgin. Nine months later I was a very single, very young, very ignorant mother. I share all the details in my book, and I’ll share the details of where that part of the story ends in my next book. It’s unbelievable how many twists and turns my life has had.

Since my book came out, I’ve been asked to speak and share my story to hundreds of people. And it has been amazing to use my pain and triumph to help others make better decisions.

Discouraging Teen Pregnancy Yet Encouraging Teen Mothers and Everyone Who Faces Life’s Challenges.

That was my tagline which evolved into my business, S.O. What!, as I began to speak to more and more audiences on topics far beyond teen pregnancy.  Not only was I speaking to audiences, I was also talking to my son.  Sex was not a talk we had in my household growing up so I did my best to try to make it a comfortable conversation once I had a child. It never was easy, especially for him, but I shared everything I was learning in the meetings, conferences and workshops I was attending in my new field.

And I certainly shared my challenges of being a teen/young/single mom with him.  He lived the challenges. He knew the consequences.

That’s why I just had to laugh to keep from crying when I found out…my 19 year old son was about to be a father. And, I, age 34, would be a grandmother. One of my greatest fears had come true.

I wasn’t with him when I found out so I had a day to digest the news.  I was hurt, angry and disappointed. I didn’t want him nor his girlfriend to have the life I had raising a child alone, too young, or in separate households.  I wanted my son to go off to college or the military, see the world, become a man, figure out who he was, find his wife, then have his family.

Again, no matter how much I talked, taught, preached, or demonstrated…no matter how much I tried to control the situation, it did not go my way. Boy, am I learning about releasing control, but boy is that hard for a control freak. I can admit that I am.

First and foremost, I was concerned about my son’s future and the future of his girlfriend, a sweet 19 year old girl that I really liked.

But I was also afraid of the judgment of those who follow me and my work. Would I now be dismissed as someone who didn’t know what she was talking about? Someone who couldn’t even prevent this in her own life?

I asked God, “Why?”.  Like I said when I got pregnant at 15 by someone I didn’t know, “Why me, God?”

I got part of my answer as soon as I opened my email. I had three emails from mothers who were devastated by the news that their teenager was having a baby. They were desperate for help and advice from me.  This wasn’t the first time I had gotten this type of email, but it was the first time I could actually feel like these mothers.

Up until that point, I gave advice based on my perspective of being a teen mother and what I wanted from my parents. Now, I got to feel like my parents when they became grandparents too early.

So I used the advice that I had been giving parents and hugged my son and his girlfriend when I first saw them after finding out these scared kids were about to be parents. That wasn’t the reaction that they expected nor completely how I felt, but it was what was needed. The last thing I wanted to do was scare them more, hurt them more or push them away.

S.O. What!  So NOW what?

After blaming myself and thinking about everything I should have done more than focusing on all the things I actually had done, I finally said, “S.O. What!”.

My son and his girlfriend were not ignorant. They both had been taught. They knew what they were doing, and they made decisions. And they realized the consequences. They were pregnant. That wasn’t changing so I had to accept it. And so did they.  S.O. What!

So NOW what?  Funny how God will put you in situations to make you use your own advice. So I changed my focus of feeling upset, disappointed, scared for their futures and worried about people judging me as a parent or me within the work I do.  From that moment forward, everything was positive and focused on how we would move forward so that they could be teen parent success stories too.

All of the work I had done, information I had learned and connections I made still ended up helping them. And I was so grateful for friends and new people I had met doing similar work who supported me rather than criticizing me, my son or his girlfriend.

I talked to the parents-to-be about their future plans, even though none of this was easy, and tried to focus on the positives.  One, a baby is always a precious gift from God (preferably arriving to mature, ready parents but a gift nonetheless). Two, they were still together and wanted to be together (who knows what the future holds, but at least for now this is the case). Three, I really like his girlfriend. She’s a hardworker and is determined to be successful -says she’ll be like me :). Finally, my son wants to be the dad he never had. He is a great young man but has a lot of maturing to do (like most teen boys). I already see that his new reality is growing him up, as it should. One more key thing. They both have really great families who already love the baby SO much.

I work with so many teens and teen parents who are totally lost, extremely immature, and have little help and guidance and sometimes don’t even want it. I’m thankful that, in spite of the timing, these teen parents will be fine.

So this news initially devastated me.

I had considered giving up. Going back to a more private life so that people would not see, know or even care what I did or what happened in my life. That way, I wouldn’t get the judgment (or at least not as much). I wouldn’t be held to a higher standard or have different expectations set for me.

But each time I think about retreating (and this time I REALLY wanted to hide), I get a clear sign that I can’t. Instead, I had to work harder and talk even more. This situation has given me more insight and shown that I have much more to do to help others and just how to do it.

I have too much to learn, too much to experience, too much to share and too much to give.

So that’s what I’m going to do.

Oh, and I’m looking forward to sharing pictures of our precious baby Kailey who will be here any day now.  If you read my book, you know how badly I wanted a little girl simply because I was afraid of raising a boy alone. Well, looks like I’m getting that little girl after all.

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About Summer Owens

When I started writing my first book, Life After Birth: A Memoir of Survival and Success as a Teenage Mother, I just wanted to tell my story. Today, I am a best-selling author, inspirational speaker, life coach, and college professor with own course that I created. Everything I do about helping people have success over obstacles and live their best lives no matter what. This blog is dedicated to sharing and expounding upon the lessons I learned and share in my book and that we all can use to say, "S.O. What!" to all the challenges life will throw our way...every day.
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20 Responses to Is This a Joke? Nope. It’s Just Life. So NOW What?

  1. La'Kesha Ford Calhon says:

    Summer…I wish I knew your middle name….Owens!!!! You have blessed me today!!!

    I just read your newsletter and I must say that it brought tears to my eyes. As parents, it is always our hope that our children will learn from our stories and avoid them. But more often than not, our babies want to get out there and learn on their own…and many times at a costly expense. Oh but what I love about God is that He knows EVERYTHING and will prepare us in ways…at the time…doesn’t make sense or feel good. Your son now has his own experiences that I believe will help reach the people…especially young men…that you were unable to. It just means MORE MINISTRY OPPORTUNITIES baby!!! See, what the enemy meant for bad…well hey, you know the rest!!!

    I celebrate YOU and your ministry woman of God and can’t wait to see the beautiful pics of little Kailey. May the Lord bless their little family!!!!

    La’Kesha

  2. Summer, You are such a Gift of God to the World! I’m so very very proud of you and your man-child! You taught him well, because he could have decided to abort his child! Let’s me know you did not fail, but now God will take you to even a higher level of Blessings.
    Please give me a call ok?
    Rev. Stevie

  3. Kitta says:

    Reblogged this on cilnblog and commented:
    Great read from S.O. What creator Summer Owens. Be sure to check out her website summerowens.com

  4. Lori Love says:

    Summer, as always, I am so proud of you. We both have learned how to change our TESTS into TESTIMONIES. Its never easy, but you never know “who” and “how” you’re helping them or others. The last thing we want as single parents, is for our own children to feel the neglect, hurt, pain, void, and hardships we experience as “Single Moms”, yet somehow God has a BIG sense of HUMOR! Somehow, he always finds a way to not only let us SYMPATHIZE with others, but also EMPATHIZE because we’ve been there! I believe that God is using your own personal life to enlarge your territory. As you stated, not only can you empathize with the pregnant teens you speak to each week, but now you’ll be able to reach “their parents”, to let them know its okay to angry, disappointed. BUT, they have to move on past those feelings and BE THERE for their child just like you are doing. I’m proud of you for releasing what Satan tried to keep inside of you. I declare that you will continue to receive speaking engagements, workshop events, honorable mentions, as you’ve done in the past. Your GIFT WILL MAKE ROOM FOR YOU! I love you my sistah!

  5. Mrs. Douglas says:

    I admire your honesty and admiration for telling the truth. Continue to uplift others and each challenging event in your life can be used to show the world that were human. We all had situations that has caused us some pain, but God has blessed you with a platform to educate, teach, and bless others with your knowledge and compassion. Continue to be an example of excellence!!!

  6. Annie A. says:

    Thank you Ms. Owens for sharing. I’m in the same situation with my 19 yr old college son. I did not, know what to do. But after reading this, I know my Grandchild will be loved & adored. They both come from well stable 2 parent homes. They knew about various forms of protection. I must Let God have His way. Because it’s driving a hole in my heart to try to be his “fixer”! Only Jesus can Fix Me! Fix the situation at hand.

    God Bless.
    Keep Inspiring.

  7. Debbra Overton-Scott says:

    I wish Aunt Katie was here to see the baby.
    Imagine my mother as a preacher/Pastor and some of the things I did to cause her shame…but having those grandbabies out of wedlock….that wasn’t one of them. you’re doing a fantastic job. kiss that baby and Jaylen and mom…and keep it moving.

  8. Kisha Spencer says:

    Neva stop your story GOD knows what His child purpose is here for. I am happy that you have gotten your girl. Keep sharing your story

  9. Nina Allen-Johnson says:

    I’m glad you decided not to climb into a hole (where the devil would have you try to hide under a rock because the life you planned for your son didn’t “go as planned.”) I’m glad you have decided to CONTINUE to let your light shine before men so that they may see the good works of the Lord. (He makes no mistakes. All that He ALLOWS is RIGHT and GOOD.) Not only do you have a platform to speak to single moms, but you have a platform for those who have become “second generation moms” to show them how to embrace their young people and love them thru their situation. God bless you, Summer. –Nina Allen-Johnson

  10. ucanmakadiff says:

    Summer, when I read this story I started crying. I was places in that position with my, at that time, 16 year old son now 17. He went to church with me and then went to the alter call. I wondered what was wrong because we talked about everything, at least I thought. When he went to the back for prayer it never dawned on me what could be the problem. As they prayed he said he wanted God to forgive him for his sin. As a mother I said yes He will. When we walked out the spirit said ask him did he get someone pregnant. I almost chocked trying to ask the question but when I did the answer was yes. The girl was 15 at the time and he had just met her 3 weeks prior to their late night sneaking out the house excursion. First I said ok then I started crying. Crying for him and me. He was young and wasn’t prepared to be a father, I didn’t care how much I had taught him, in my eyes he wasn’t prepared. He still had school and college and life. Then I cried because how could a person like myself who teaches self esteem and building character and talking to teens about pregnancy, end up having a son who got a girl he barely knew pregnant. I prayed but never told my family. I was embarrassed and ashamed for him and myself. I talked with her and her guardian to find out more details. After she did a pregnancy test and went to the doctor she finally admitted that it wasn’t his child and she was scared to say it wasn’t because she thought she could blame it on him because he was a good guy and she didn’t know who the father was.

    So I use your SO What! moment on that situation because it too taught me a lesson. God will give you more life lessons so you can truly help others. We get comfortable in what we know and repeat the same scenarios to others but now it’s time to hit home and really put the foot to the metal. My favorite statement is how can you help someone unless you’ve been through it. SO What! Now 🙂 be ready for your next journey.

    See you March 29 and thanks for being a panelists for UCAN. I can’t wait to meet you in person.

    Leshundra Robinson, President
    http://Www.ucanofmemphis.org

  11. Jacki says:

    Summer,
    I want to share something with you. I got on my email tonight because I was going to share a problem of mine with a few very precious friends, and this problem had heavily burdened me. Then I saw your post. My first reaction was (I am very ashamed to say) was judgmental. I thought, “where was she, that she could teach others about teen pregnancy, but not her own son? Was she so busy with school and other things, she had no real time for him?” I piled on you the same guilt EVERY parent feels for every stupid decision we have ever made. NOT that your decisions were stupid (now I’m backpedaling). No one teaches us how to be parents, it’s a trial-and-error process but some of us are smart enough to read a few books or have parents who seem to have done a decent enough job. At any rate, you are doing the right thing. You’ve assessed the situation, you’ve determined the negative impact and a positive course of action, you’ve supported your child and his family and determined the end results, which is a beautiful, gorgeous baby. Lucky you. God Bless you, you son, his wife, his baby, your mother and your grandmother. What doesn’t kill us only makes us stronger.

    • Summer Owens says:

      Thank you! Yes, I gave/give my son everything in me…much more than most two-parent households I know of. We all find our own way, and I’m thankful for my journey and every lesson in it!

  12. Pingback: March 20th…Coming Full Circle. | summerowens

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