1. Being raised in a single-parent home.
Sarah Braverman (physically) dragged her two teenage children out of town in hopes of surrounding them with good male figures, like her brothers and father, to supplement for their absent dad. Like Amber and Drew, nearly a quarter of all children in the U.S. live with only their mothers.
2. Having a child on the spectrum.
Eight-year-old Max Braverman’s refusal to take off his pirate costume leads his parents down a path to understand what is going on in their young son’s mind. With professional help, he’s diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, which about 1 in every 88 children have been diagnosed with, according to the Centers for Disease Control. There is no cookie-cutter symptom list for Asperger’s, but there are certain social and behavioral skills (or lack thereof) to look out for.
3. Repairing a broken home after an affair.
The Associated Press, Journal of Marital and Family Therapy found that 57% of men have committed infidelity during at least one relationship they’ve had. When perpetual bachelor Crosby attempted tried to become a family man, he wound up cheating on Jasmine. His one-night stand took away the family he wanted so badly for a long time and anyone who’s ever cheated or been cheated on could feel their pain.
4. Watching someone you care about suffer from substance abuse.
Seth, Sarah’s ex-husband and the father of her children, had been absent for most of Amber and Drew’s life, largely due to his alcoholism. His attempts to get sober didn’t exactly work out. Though it’s hard to identify exactly how many people suffer from substance abuse, since many are unable to admit they have a problem (as was the case with Seth), according to healthy drinking levels, 1 in 6 people drink too much alcohol.
5. Making mistakes you can’t erase.
In 2010, courts across the country had more than 1.3 million juvenile delinquency cases. Haddie’s 19-year-old boyfriend Alex had been working hard to escape his troubled past, which included a juvenile record. His second offense — punching a drunk kid who wouldn’t let him take Haddie home — could have gotten him thrown in jail.
6. Getting pregnant later in life.
Adam was outraged when he found a positive pregnancy test in the trash, believing it belonged to his teenage daughter Haddie…until his wife Kristina admitted it was actually hers. While it’s harder to get pregnant naturally in your forties — which is around Kristina’s age — 5 out of every 100 women do.
7. Moving on after a failed adoption.
Anyone that has been through any stage of the adoption process before can empathize with Julia. Adoptions fall through at many points throughout the nine-month pregnancy for a variety of reasons. And in a study conducted by Adoptive Families, about 9% of adoptive parents said the biological parents changed their minds after the baby was born, like Zoe did in Julia’s case.
8. And, on a happier note, adopting a child.
It was not an easy road with Victor, but Julia and Joel loved him and treated him like he was their own son — because he was. After some ups and down, they made it legal. In 2008, 135,813 children were legally adopted.
9. Dealing with teenage pregnancy.
When Drew’s girlfriend Amy got pregnant their senior year of high school, she became part of a statistic: 3 in every 10 girls get pregnant at least once before they turn 20. Over 750,000 teenage girls get pregnant each year. And, like Amy, 35% of pregnant teens choose to have an abortion.
10. Battling breast cancer.
While Kristina’s breast cancer diagnosis after a routine mammogram was upsetting, it was not uncommon — each year, 1 in every 8 women find out they have breast cancer. In 2013, around 232,340 women were diagnosed, according to the American Cancer Society. But, like Kristina, some women are lucky enough to beat breast cancer. According to the American Association for Cancer Research, women with breast cancer account for 22% of cancer survivors.
11. Being accepted into college.
When Drew was admitted to the University of California-Berkeley, his entire family shared his joy, something many people can relate to. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 66% of high school students enrolled in college in 2012.