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A baby's first steps are a milestone for every parent, but for Leah Messer it was a time for tears of joy. Her daughter Ali, 2, had been slower to physically mature than her twin sister, Aleeah, and the Teen Mom star had feared her sweet-tempered little girl would never walk unassisted.

"Leah literally started crying when she saw Ali standing on her own for the first time," says an insider. "It was an overwhelming experience that made her so happy and proud."

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When Ali was just a few months old, Leah noticed that Ali's twin reached developmental milestones, like sitting up on her own, much faster than Ali. Leah and the girls' father, ex-husband Corey Simms, 21, spent days in the hospital waiting area as Ali underwent tests, seeking answers.

"Doctors said that Aleeah had been resting on top of Ali in the womb, which led to some developmental disabilities," explains a confidante. "But Ali proved to be a fighter."

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For the past 15 months, Ali has been under a doctor's care, going to physical therapy and wearing leg braces to shore up her weak muscles. "They have been working on this for so long," notes the insider.

Adds the confidante: "Leah's daughters are everything to her, so to see Ali struggle was heartbreaking for her. At times, Leah was terrified that she would never walk."

FOR MORE ON LEAH MESSER'S DAUGHTER'S PROGRESS, PICK UP THE NEW ISSUE OF OK! — IN STORES NOW!

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