(WMC-TV) – Summer Owens, author of the book "Life After Birth: A Memoir of Survival and Success as a Teenage Mother", wants teen moms to know there's nothing fun or glamorous about having a baby as a child. She says there can be life after birth, and she and her son are living proof.
Owens is a marketing executive with a masters degree, but her road to success could have taken a much different turn 17 years ago.
"I never would have chosen to have a baby when I was 15 it was tough for me its been tough for my son. He was my responsibility and I accepted my responsibility," said Owens
Owens was a high school sophomore in 1995 when she gave birth to her son Jaylen. By graduation day, she was the mother of a two year old.
Owens went on to raise her son, graduate college and get an MBA. She is a rare bi product of what she calls an epidemic.
"Really I feel like that's been my life is trying to fight all these statistics that go along with being a teen mother. I didn't want anyone to think that I'm saying oh it's okay, it's okay you can make it," stated Owens.
In 2009, fifty-five out of every one thousand Tennessee teens had a baby. Teen pregnancies fell to a record low that year, but the teen birth rates in Tennessee, Mississippi and Arkansas were then and remain well above the national average.
"This isn't an issue that's class related or race related this can happen to anybody. So many young girls just don't know what the real experience of being a teen mom is like and that includes the delivery and everything that comes after it," Owens said.
She's as passionate about PREVENTING teen pregnancy as she is about inspiring teen mothers: young women who are more likely to quit school, have health issues, have babies with health issues and live in poverty.
"To show that I'm a real person I didn't come a wealthy family or anything I came from a normal background and I worked my way up, but I worked," said Owens.
Her determination rubbed off on her now 17 year old son.
"I plan to go to the air force," said Owens son.
Summer Owens shattered a stereotype; from pregnant teen to professional executive, and mother with an empowering message.
"When you see a teen girl who's pregnant you looking at her like she's done something wrong, that doesn't help. Talk about self esteem and setting goals and getting your education choosing wise friends choosing friends wisely making some smart decisions those are the things that we as adults need to do with kids before they become teen parents," Owens stated.
Owens says we all play a role in stopping the epidemic of teen pregnancy.