Amber Portwood: I'm Not Using Mental Illness as an Excuse Anymore! I'm Just a Bad Mom!

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Last week on Teen Mom: Family Reunion, Amber Portwood admitted that she's not a good mom.

That is difficult to dispute, given her history.

What is also impossible to deny is that Amber has made deliberate changes and efforts to be better than she was.

In fact, Amber stunned her castmates beyond belief by setting aside past excuses and being accountable.

Amber Portwood Takes Responsibility on Teen Mom: Family Reunion

Believe it or not, Teen Mom: Family Reunion hasn't been all drinking and drama.

There have been good, genuine moments of tenderness, honesty, and stunning self-awareness.

All of these stars have made poor decisions (thus the premise of the whole franchise), and some are uniquely qualified to offer each other advice.

Amber Portwood Admits that She's a Bad Mom

Amber encouraged several of her castmates to do therapy with their children at younger ages, rather than waiting.

Therapy can be very good for those who need it, children included, and 13-year-old Leah is in therapy.

However, many have questioned Amber's therapy goals in the past, both regarding Leah and regarding her own progress.

Gary Shirley and Amber Portwood Disagree on Stage

After extolling the virtues of therapy as the "best thing to f--king do," she was very emotional when speaking about Leah's feelings towards her.

“Amber’s hurting, but she’s hurting for her kids,” Cheyenne observed to the confessional camera.

“I hope that Leah one day is able to watch this," she expressed, "and able to see how much her mom really loves her.” 

Amber Portwood Teen Mom Photo

Amber absolutely stunned her castmates when she displayed tremendous growth in the area of personal accountability.

She explained why she no longer feels that it's appropriate to make excuses.

In particular, she no longer wants to use her mental illnesses to avoid responsibility.

Amber Portwood Talks to a Producer

“Guess what? There’s so many f–king people [who are] depressed,” Amber told her castmates.

“There’s other people with bipolar [disorder] that still are depressed," she said.

"[But] they can still pick up their kids and can still do their thing," Amber observed.

Gary Shirley Defends His Daughter's Privacy to Amber Portwood

"That’s the one thing, I think, that’s changed more than anything," Amber said in reflection.

What changed "is not making excuses to [Leah] anymore.”

Amber's self-awareness and newfound sense of responsibility was praised by her castmates.

Amber Portwood Making a Call

Just for the record, mental illness is not a one-size-fits-all situation any more than any other kind of illness.

One person can quickly beat a cancer that claims another's life. We have all seen the grim range of how COVID-19 impacts the human body.

Depression and bipolar disorder can incapacitate one person while only being a manageable inconvenience to another. That's life.

Amber Portwood Had a Serious Relationship With a Woman

Amber's core issues have generally involved her choices rather than her mental illness, but it can be extremely difficult to parse the two.

This is extra difficult for the person in question. Life is more complicated from the inside looking out, you know?

Suffice it to say that "machete attacks" are not a symptom of any mental illness in any edition of the DSM, as far as we are aware.

Gary Shirley Joins Amber Portwood on the Reunion Stage

Still, even this baby step towards acknowledging her unacceptable behavior and vowing to do better is huge.

Amber can never magically undo her past, from her failings as a mother to the crimes against both baby daddies.

All that she can do is become the best person that she can be, now. Even if that doesn't buy her forgiveness, it's the right thing to do.

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Amber Portwood Biography

Amber Portwood Admits that She's a Bad Mom
Amber Portwood is a star on MTV's Teen Mom. She is the mother of Leah Leann Shirley, whose father is Gary Shirley, Amber's on-off fiance... More »
Anderson, Indiana
Full Name
Amber Portwood