All in the family. Amber Portwood, Leah Messer and more of MTV’s biggest stars opened up about their ups and downs as parents during the Tuesday, January 25, episode of Teen Mom: Family Reunion.
The Indiana native got honest about where she stands with her eldest daughter, Leah, 13, after encouraging her costars to put their children in therapy as early as possible. She called finding professional help the “best thing to f–king do” for a kid of any age and was overcome with emotion when asked how things are going with her teenager.
“Amber’s hurting, but she’s hurting for her kids,” Cheyenne Floyd said during a confessional. “I hope that Leah one day is able to watch this and able to see how much her mom really loves her.”
Sitting down with the entire group, Amber noted that her perspective on the tense situation has changed over time and that she no longer thinks it’s fair to use her mental health battles as an “excuse” when it comes to parenting.
“Guess what? There’s so many f–king people [who are] depressed,” she told the group. “There’s other people with bipolar [disorder] that still are depressed, [but] they can still pick up their kids and can still do their thing. That’s the one thing, I think, that’s changed more than anything is not making excused to [Leah] anymore.”
Ashley Jones praised Amber’s vulnerability, telling the camera that every parent is simply trying to do the best they can with the circumstances they’ve been given. “No one’s a ‘good mom,’” she added. “You know, we’re all just trying to figure it out.”
Earlier this month, Amber exclusively told Us Weekly that her visits with Leah are “actually going a lot better” after giving her child “space” for nearly two years.
“People weren’t understanding what I was doing … that I wasn’t just stepping away from her,” the Never Too Late author said. “I always let her know that I was there. I would come over even if she was upstairs, and I would just let her do her thing. At least she knew that I was there for her. … I’m happy with what’s going on, and I’m not going to push the issue. It’s kind of a beautiful thing.”
The 16 and Pregnant alum shares Leah with ex Gary Shirley and is also the mother of son James, 3, with ex Andrew Glennon. She initially hinted at struggling with her firstborn in an April 2021 Instagram post and the mother-daughter duo’s strained relationship has since become a central focus of the MTV reality series.
While Amber received support from her fellow Teen Mom stars for sharing her past struggles, Leah got advice about following her heart. The mother of three opened up about her budding romance with boyfriend Jaylan Mobley, admitting that she was “scared” that he was a little bit younger than her — and doesn’t have kids of his own.
“I’ve gotten a lot better with the trust issues [I have],” she said during a confessional. “But I know that it’s still there. … I think [it] stems from my childhood, my dad being absent and truly not knowing what love is from a man. I also have three daughters that I’m responsible for, so letting just anyone into our lives is not gonna happen.
Leah, for her part, shares twins Aliannah and Aleeah, 12, with ex-husband Corey Simms and Adalynn, 8, with ex Jeremy Calvert. While Leah appeared somewhat uncertain about whether she’d finally found The One, her costar Ashley encouraged her to keep an open mind.
“Maybe I have attracted someone who’s great,” Leah said. “But at the same time, I’m a little guarded. I’m a little scared. But he’s like, ‘It’s fine. We’re gonna work through it.’ … I know it’s f–ked up but how do I fix it?”
Teen Mom: Family Reunion airs on MTV Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET, followed by Teen Mom: Girls’ Night. Scroll down to see which stars hit a roadblock in coparenting and who wants to have another baby: