07/10/2013 10:31 am ET Updated Jul 10, 2013

Iyanla Vanzant Opens Up About Experience As A Single Mom Whose Son Went To Prison (VIDEO)

Iyanla Vanzant has helped counsel single mothers, fatherless sons, divorced women and frustrated stepparents. In addition to her professional work as an author and former "Oprah Show" regular, Iyanla has a very personal experience that gives her unique perspective in working with these families: Iyanla is a single mom herself.

During her work with one blended family for an episode of "Iyanla: Fix My Life," Iyanla hears about the mother's past struggle raising a son on her own -- a son who is now in prison. It's a situation Iyanla knows all too well, as she shares intimate details about her strikingly similar experience as a single mom.

"I was a single mom," Iyanla says. "I had my son when I was 16 years old and raised him the best I could, with my mom's help. I taught him everything I knew about life and living... [But] I also know that a lot of things that my son needed, I didn't learn them until after he needed them."

Iyanla reveals that, despite her best parenting efforts to keep her son out of trouble, he did time in prison for involvement with drugs. "When he went to prison, I was riddled with guilt," she confesses. "Broke my heart. I wanted to know what I had done wrong. Why couldn't I have done it better and where did I fall down?"

The questions and the guilt were all-consuming. "I lived with that for a long time," Iyanla says.

The only way Iyanla was able to break free, she says in the video above, was by asking her son one very important direct question. "I asked him, 'How could I have done it better?'" she says.

Iyanla joins Oprah and others to address the related topic of "daddyless daughters" on a new episode of "Oprah's Lifeclass," airing Sunday, July 14, at 9 p.m. ET on OWN.



Iyanla Vanzants Quotes On Love And Life