Beyond Statistics: Portrait of a Former Teen Mom

Beyond Statistics: Portrait of a Former Teen Mom

How often do you judge a book by its cover? And how often have you been unfairly judged yourself? We’ve talked before about why we shouldn’t judge others and the impact it can have on our own lives. Today’s guest poster, my business partner and friend, Alyssa Ast, gives us a peek inside the mind of someone who is often judged by others who don’t take the time to get to know her.

Alyssa wrote this post back in 2010, originally as a guest post for my old site. I’m rerunning it here because I believe the lesson is still valuable and a good reminder for all of us.

Alyssa has become even more successful as a writer (and has grown her family by two, including the one she was pregnant with) since she wrote this piece, and she continues to impress me every day.~Angie

In Judgmental Eyes
By Alyssa Ast 

alyssaLet me give you a brief history lesson of the past 5 years of my life. I’m 23 years old and technically considered to be a single mother.

I got pregnant with my first son at 17, had my second son at 19, and I’m currently pregnant with my 3rd.

I haven’t completed a level of education beyond the 11th grade and needless to say I’m a high school dropout.

I live out of wedlock with my children’s father and don’t work a nine to five job.

You may now be thinking to yourself, well there’s what’s wrong with society. In judgment’s eyes I appear to be just like every other teen mother out there.

I bet you probably think I spend my nights partying as my parents watch my kids. I’m sure you’re even thinking this is why some people should not reproduce.

But if you peer a little deeper and take some time to lose the judgmental eyes, you may actually be surprised at what you would learn about me and my life.

While I’ve made more mistakes in my life than I care to admit, I can honestly say without those mistakes, I wouldn’t be who I am today. Now take a minute to get to know the real me.

I’ve lived with my soul mate, my partner, my best friend for the past 5 years. We have 2 beautiful children together and are expecting our 3rd in June.

Our family consists of days spent laughing under the sun and doing typical things families do together, with one minor exception. We believe in raising our children with the morals and values of the past that have long since been forgotten by most.

Although they are only 4 and 3 years old, my boys are well rounded children, and although they may get into trouble from time to time, they know the importance of respect for themselves and others- which so many children lack now and days.

Like I said, I’m a high school dropout and I don’t work a nine to five job. Instead, I test at college level education in every academic course, except math- which I currently hold a 12th grade education level.

I work from home and co-run a successful business. I’m a freelance writer, journalist, co-founder of the WM Network, and I’m about to publish my first book. And, all before my 24th birthday.

But all of these accomplishments sometimes go unnoticed in my life, because all some people see is my age. In judgmental eyes I’m viewed as a typical teen mother, without a wedding band on my finger, or a high school diploma.

Because of my age, people don’t take the time to notice I’m not one of those parents that’s out partying every night; in fact my parents may have watched my children twice in 5 years.

Because I lack a piece of paper verifying I completed general education courses, I’m viewed as being limited in my intelligence. And because I don’t leave the house every morning to go to work, I’m viewed as lazy and not contributing to society.

It’s very frustrating and emotionally exhausting to be viewed as an ignorant child in the eyes of society. Society has their mind set on stereotypes and most lack the capability to take a second to see what’s really behind some viewed as a stereotype. It isn’t anyone’s fault; after all being judgmental is a human’s nature.

However, please take 5 minutes to really look at me and see ME. Yes, I am 23 years old and expecting my 3rd child.

But please look a little deeper and see, I am a mother and although not legally, I am a wife. I am an educated and successful writer that follows my dreams to make a better life for my children.

I hold wisdom and maturity beyond my years, as I have grown from my past mistakes. Take a second to look and see that not everything is as it appears; sometimes you just need to look a little deeper for the truth.

More About Alyssa Ast

Alyssa Ast is an experienced Arizona based freelance writer, journalist, author, SEO/SEM, web developer and social marketing specialist, who enjoys working from the comfort of her home office. Alyssa works for many online companies and private clients, fulfilling their need for quality content, social marketing and developing their online business needs. Using her SEO and SEM knowledge, Alyssa optimizes traffic to online content and websites– increasing traffic, search engine ranking and profit potential. Read Alyssa’s full bio here.


Link Love: A Taste of the Ultimate Blog Challengers

Link Love: A Taste of the Ultimate Blog Challengers

Last summer, I tossed my hat into the Ultimate Blog Challenge, and I started off really well. Unfortunately (or, fortunately, in the grand scheme of things) my family went on vacation smack dab in the middle of the month and I didn’t have time before I left to preschedule posts. So, basically, I failed to finish that particular challenge.

It’s harder than it looks, people! 

I’d hang my head, but really, I shouldn’t have joined the challenge that month and I knew it. Even so, for the part of the month that I got involved, I met a lot of new bloggers and made some great connections–many of whom I still associate with today. It’s a good thing, and I want more.

Not only were the people I connected with really amazing, but they offered (and continue to offer) strong support and encouragement to keep moving forward. And that’s why I’m giving it another shot. So, hopefully, for the next 30 days, there will be a blog post on this site every single day.

Today, I’d like to start by offering some link love to some of my fellow Ultimate Blog Challenge participants. These aren’t just any bloggers, either. They’re all sort of on my wavelength, and people I think my readers need to know about.

So, in no particular order, here are some of my favorite recent posts from these simpatico bloggers.

You Are Beautiful, No Matter What the Media Says–Sandy Kumskov, a holostic counselor and former self-hater, gives the straight talk on the media and the messages its sending to women and girls about their bodies. Some of the statistics she shares are pretty shocking, but as a woman and the mother of a daughter, I appreciate Sandy’s post and I can’t wait to see what else she comes up with this month. I think understanding what we’re up against is the first step to making positive changes in ourselves and the women and girls around us. Solidarity! 

A New Spin on April Fool’s Day-In this post, Namaste at the Academy of Human Arts offers a  new, more Zen spin on April Fool’s Day. Interesting, and not your typical April Fool’s post.

Girl Power-In this post, Cindy over at Elegant Inner Guidance outlines her plan to study the concept of unleashing the power of women this month. She talks earning and about how cracking the door to your power could help you achieve true happiness. Can’t wait to see what she does next!

On Creative Nourshiment (and it’s not what you think)–In this post, Sassy Spiritual Guide Alara Castell gives you the inside scoop on the most underrated and most important vitamin we all need–Vitamin L. I love it!

Why You Buy Stuff You’ll Never Wear–I’ll admit that I’m guilty of this one too. In this post at Dressing My Truth, Jeanine Byers Hoag shares a video that gives four reasons we do it. Which one is yours?

A Book Full of Random Thoughts From a Tangled Mind-In this post, my WM partner Alyssa Ast (who was kind enough to join the Ultimate Blog Challenge with me) gives a preview of her upcoming book, in which she will share her struggles and successes, along with wisdom she’s picked up along the way. She’s wise beyond her years, this one. Check it out.

Blogger Feels the Wrath of Good Morning America via Twitter–So, this blog is totally new to me, but I have a feeling I’ll be keeping up with it after reading this post. Amy L. Harden, who describes herself as an author, speaker and “admitted mid-life crazy” dishes in this post on how an errant tweet got her plenty of attention from the folks at GMA and a bunch of others in the Twitterverse–whether she liked it or not. Funny and interesting in parts, serious and real in others.

That’s it for me today. I could have spent many hours and typed thousands of words telling you about all of the great blogs out there, honestly.

So how about you? What are the best blog posts you’ve read this week? Share in the comments!

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