Some people love the mothers of Teen Mom 2, some don't. But few can resist the children of the stars. And perhaps none has captured hearts quite like little Aliannah Hope Simms, the daughter of Leah Messer Calvert and ex-husband Corey Simms.
One of a set of twins, Baby Ali, as her parents call her, has struggled since birth to keep pace with sister Aleeah Grace because of health conditions that have been shrouded in mystery. Until now. On the fifth season of Teen Mom 2, fans will finally learn what is "wrong" with Baby Ali and why she may not be able to walk in the future.
Her mom, Leah, spoke to The Stir about the quest for a diagnosis and what she hopes mothers learn by watching her story:
Ali's exact diagnosis will be revealed on the show's season premiere on January 21, and we've respected Leah's request that we not put a name to the condition until then. She explained why:
She did get her diagnosis -- I just haven't really been saying much about it. I want people to really watch the show, and maybe just watch what it takes for us to get the answers.
On why she hopes the show will inspire other moms to advocate for their kids:
Maybe [Ali's story] will help others who don't have an answer for their child to get answers. They can go through the same process and not get bummed. A lot of doctors are like, "It's just this" or "It's just that," and they pass it up. But with a mother, they know if it's something more.
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On the drawback to opening up her daughter's story to the TV cameras:
Sometimes when I get upset, I just want to run away. I just wanted to be by myself. When I get upset or when I cry, that's just how I like to be. I like the door shut. I like to lay in my bed and get it all out. When cameras are there looking you right in the face, it's just hard.
On dealing with the doctors as a teenage mom:
I don't feel like they treated me [like a teenager]. I feel like they treated me like her mother. I just think this diagnosis is so rare that they had no clue about it.
The show should open up a lot of discussion about the disease soon enough. In the meantime, Leah is working on building a foundation, the Aliannah Hope Foundation, to help other families like hers. You can find out more about just how she pushed doctors to finally explain what was happening with her daughter on this season.
Do you find Leah's story inspiring? What have you learned from Baby Ali's struggle?
Image by Jeanne Sager