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
Let 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.