'Teen Mom' Amber Charged: What Can We Expect for Baby Leah?

The drama with Teen Mom star Amber Portwood has jumped out of the TV set and into real life. While we have all watched it unfold, few of us could have predicted such swift justice

The 20-year-old mom of one is being charged with felony domestic violence in her Indiana hometown because of what we all saw unfold on MTV -- scenes of her shoving, punching, slapping, and choking her boyfriend.

I wonder if she's rethinking that whole reality show thing?

The reality is this: Amber beat and berated her baby's father in front of Leah on so many occasions that the show was almost rendered too painful to watch. What will happen to baby Leah after seeing this? She may not seem aware, but a 1-year-old picks up more than we think.

Here are a few possible outcomes from a Michigan State University study on infant exposure to domestic violence:


PTSD: Yes, this is a true consequence of a baby seeing her caregiver threatened in such a manner. According to the study:

Threat to a caregiver was the type of traumatic event most likely to produce symptoms such as hyperarousal, fear, and aggression, as well as most likely to have occurred when children in the study were diagnosed with PTSD.

A fearful attitude: Children who witness violent outbursts have their "fight or flight" response (our innate response to fear) abnormally stimulated, according to the study. This can lead to heightened sensitivity and greater fear in life in general.

Inability to fight: Children learn relationship patterns from their parents. Children who are exposed to those kinds of fights that include verbal abuse, screaming, and hitting are more likely to show higher distress in response to conflict, which will affect their ability to reasonably argue in a marriage or long-term relationship.

It goes on and on. Of course no study can truly accurately predict how little Leah ("Poor Little Leah") will turn out after watching the mess that is her mom.

Amber deserves to get in trouble, but she also needs to learn from her mistakes and emerge a better mom. Leah needs her.

If she's convicted, Amber faces up to three years in jail and fines of up to $10,000. Let's hope if that happens, she uses that time to fix herself. Of course, what happens to Leah if mommy goes away for three years? Maybe she starts to heal ...

Do you think she deserves jail?

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