Sherri Dickson is an amazing woman. Most women consider their childbearing years over by the time they reach their fiftieth birthday. In fact, they’re often into the joys of being a doting, grandmother by that time. Being a grandmother comes with a special set of privileges. It has many of the same joys of motherhood without the months of heartburn, extra weight, stretchmarks, diaper duty, and terrible twos.
That’s part of what makes Sherri such an exceptional woman. Amazingly, Sherri gave birth – to her own granddaughter. Not only that, she did so while battling multiple sclerosis, a debilitating autoimmune disease that wreaks havoc on the central nervous system. Sherri’s daughter, Mandy Stephens, looked forward to having children soon after her marriage in 2013. The couple was heartbroken to learn that natural conception wasn’t working for them.
Stephens eventually became pregnant, but miscarried the baby boy they had decided to call Theo. Sherri sympathized with her daughter and endured the pain of this loss right by her side. She said, “Watching your child lose a child is the definition of sadness. I can’t describe it any other way. It breaks your heart.”
Not ready to give up on their dreams of parenthood, Mandy and her husband, Jamie, tried in vain to conceive via in vitro fertilization.
Stephens’ doctors advised the couple that due to the nature of her miscarriage – cervical incompetence had caused her cervix to unexpectedly open early – further pregnancies might also result in miscarriage. Unwilling to see her daughter in pain any longer, Sherri decided to take an amazing step to help her daughter become a mother. She decided to act as a surrogate mom for her daughter and son-in-law.
Dickson has three adult children of her own and faced several medical risks in carrying a new pregnancy. Her age automatically placed her in the high-risk category. Her diagnosis of multiple sclerosis added an additional complication. Because of the MS, she faced increased risks of muscle weakness, lack of muscle coordination, and a higher probability of falling. There was an unexpected side effect, though. At the time of the pregnancy, Dickson’s multiple sclerosis was in remission – and the pregnancy would help keep it in remission. Research indicates that the changes the body makes to protect a pregnancy by regulating the immune system work to keep the disease in check.
So, after two rounds of in vitro fertilization, Sherri became pregnant with the child of her daughter and son-in-law. She describes the pregnancy as easy. She even continued to play tennis and exercise with a personal trainer right up to the last weeks of the pregnancy. The delivery, she claimed, was another story. She described it as “way harder than the delivery at 33 with my last baby.” Despite that, she says the birth of her granddaughter and the joy of seeing her daughter become a mom made every challenge worth it.
Sherri Dickson didn’t hesitate to go the extra mile for her daughter even at the risk of her own health. She is an amazing woman, mother, and grandmother.