One step at a time. Amber Portwood and her estranged daughter, Leah, are putting in the effort to improve their strained relationship.
“We’re working on our relationship and I’m being patient,” the 32-year-old MTV personality said during the Tuesday, September 6, series premiere of Teen Mom: The Next Chapter. “Last year, my daughter asked for space and I’m doing my best to be present for her while respecting her boundaries.”
During the episode, Amber attended Leah’s 13th birthday celebration. She brought her daughter a gift and the pair exchanged a hug at the end of the event.
After the party, the teenager told her father, Gary Shirley, that she appreciated her mom being there.
“I want us to be friendly together and not have any issues or anything. I don’t want to have any tension or for it to be awkward with her,” she said. “I feel like we’re taking a big step. It is still awkward because I don’t know what to say most of the time, but we’re taking a big step into having something.”
Amber, who is also mom to James, 4, with ex Andrew Glennon, expressed optimism about the mother-daughter dynamic during a later confssional.
“It seems like we’re moving pretty close to where we need to get to. We’re moving at least. We are just trying still. We’re trying to really find where we’re at and where we want to be at,” she said.
The reality TV personality lost custody of James in July. A judge also ruled that Glennon, 38, was allowed to move from California — where Portwood resides — to Indiana with the 4-year-old.
“I’ve worked so hard to better myself and improve my relationships with my children. While I’ve always been candid about my past substance abuse and struggles with mental illness, a person should have the chance to redeem themselves and not be tethered to their problems from the past,” the Teen Mom OG star said in a statement to Us Weekly after the ruling.
She continued: “I’ve spent years rebuilding bridges and did everything that was required of me, including submitting 21 negative drug tests and undergoing multiple psychological evaluations, if your road has not been perfect, but you’ve worked hard to become a better, more stable and caring person today, keep moving forward as I will. I’ll never stop fighting for my children who I love more than anything.”
Glennon, for his part, told E! News of the custody ruling, “We endured the nightmare, now we get to live the dream.”
Teen Mom: The Next Chapter airs on MTV Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET.