When most women become grandmothers, they look forward to having all the joy and love of a new baby with much less responsibility.
After all, grandmothers usually get their fill of motherhood the first time around and are happy to let the next generation deal with teething and midnight feedings, while Grandma just swoops in on Saturday afternoons with cookies and kisses.
Still, every now and then, we hear stories about grandparents who end up taking a more traditional parenting role, as we saw with the grandparents who raised their granddaughter as their own after her father went to jail.
And then, of course, there’s another category: grandparents, more specifically, grandmothers, who step in to help out with the physical challenge of pregnancy and labor.
We’re talking about grandmothers who step in as surrogates for their children, a rare but growing group that displays incredible courage and self-sacrifice on behalf of their children and future grandchildren.
Theresa Hohenhaus is one such selfless grandma, who stepped up to the plate when doctors said her 25-year-old daughter would never be able to carry a child.
Scroll through the gallery below to learn more about their amazing story of motherhood and family.
When Theresa Hohenhaus was a young mother herself, she went through something that every parent fears. Her daughter Alice, pictured above, right, was diagnosed with leukemia at 4 years old.
It took Alice four long years to beat the cancer into remission, and then, just a year later, she relapsed at age 9.
Her relapse left her with scarring from the radiation treatment, and her uterus was badly damaged.
At the age of 23, after she miscarried her first child, she discovered that she could conceive a child naturally, but just couldn’t carry to term.
That’s when Alice’s mom Theresa decided to step in.
As she put it to Daily Mail, she had nearly lost Alice once as a child, and a second time when she hemorrhaged during her miscarriage. She wasn’t about to risk losing her a third time.
At 46, Theresa was still in her childbearing years, and as a mother of four children, she knew that her body was well-suited for pregnancy and birth.
Moreover, Theresa had fostered 50 children in her time. She was uniquely equipped for the emotional complications of feeling like a parent to a baby that is not directly her own.
Alice already had some embryos prepared for trying with a surrogate. When Theresa volunteered for the job, they both figured there was a chance it might not work, but that it was worth trying.
Much to their surprise, despite doubts about Theresa’s fertility, she fell pregnant straight away and knew even before doctors confirmed, thanks to the familiar sensation of morning sickness.
When a pregnancy test came back positive the following week, Mother and daughter were both thrilled, and set off on their very unique pregnancy journey together.
Mother and daughter shared every appointment and every detail throughout the pregnancy.
They were blessed with a normal, very healthy pregnancy, despite the complicated circumstances.
Theresa carried her grandson to term and delivered him naturally with Alice by her side.
Theresa told the Daily Mail, “I had the first cuddle while Alice cut the cord.”
Alice named her little boy Parker.
For Alice, Parker’s birth is an incredible blessing, one that appeared remote for a long time.
The new mom also made to sure to give her brother James a moment with his new nephew, acknowledging that without James, neither of them would be here today.
When Alice’s cancer came back at age 9, it was James’ bone marrow transplant that saved her life and made little Parker’s existence possible.
As for future siblings for Parker, the jury is still out.
Theresa is happily involved in Parker’s life, as his grandmother, but she’s not opposed to repeating her surrogacy for Alice in the future.
They still have one remaining embryo, and given how easy this pregnancy was, there’s a good chance that Theresa might be able to carry a second child for Alice.
Until then, we wish Grandmother, Mother, and baby lots of happiness and health!
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