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Sherri Shepherd talks about her 'little miracle'

02/12/2008 at 02:24 PM ET

In a revealing new interview Sherri Shepherd, co-host of The View, opens up about her struggle to become pregnant, the miscarriage that claimed the life of her 2 ½-year-old son Jeffrey Charles‘ twin sister, and Jeffrey’s harrowing premature birth.  Sherri, 40, tells Entertainment Tonight that she was plagued by self doubt as she struggled to understand the reasons why she and estranged husband Jeff Tarpley were unable to conceive.  Says Sherri,

It was hard because you go through guilt that something is wrong with you, or maybe you waited too long. It was a lot of shots, a lot of false pregnancies, and a lot of tears.

Fertility treatments were ultimately successful, and the couple soon learned that they were expecting boy/girl twins.  Then the unthinkable happened when the baby girl died in utero.  Says Sherri,

I lost my son’s little sister. I was on bed rest and praying a lot.

At 5 ½-months pregnant, Sherri found that her nightmare was far from over, as Jeffrey needed to be delivered.  He was born weighing 1 pound, 10 ounces and suffered from severe bleeding on both sides of his brain, a hole in an artery near his heart and a hole in his intestine.  Doctors predicted that Jeffrey would go on to have severe cerebral palsy and Sherri admits that she and Jeff Sr. "thought we were going to lose him."  Then, when they least expected it, their luck began to turn.

Right before they pulled the ventilator plug to let him go, a miracle happened.  He decided to fight and we decided to fight.  He was in the intensive care unit for three months and it was up and down, but everyday he got a little better.  He finally came home on oxygen and a heart monitor.

Click ‘continue reading’ for the rest of the interview.

Although Jeffrey is "slower in learning" he never developed cerebral palsy and Sherri calls her son "our little miracle."  But even miracle babies have their moments, Sherri has learned.

He’s in the terrible two’s. I keep saying to God, ‘I want to give him back, I think this boy is broken!’ I don’t know what happens when they turn two, but they just lose their minds. They don’t like you anymore, theywant to hit you, and they scream in public…He’s our little miracle, except when he’s having a tantrum, then the miracle flies out the window!

For parents who may find themselves in a similar situation, Sherri offers words of hope and encouragement.  She says that although there was a point in time where she thought she’d "never get on stage and make people laugh again," Sherri’s life did go on — with "patience and a lot of humor."  She also says that she keeps her perspective when it comes to Jeffrey’s development.

I’m just grateful when he does small things.

For the full interview tune in to tonight’s episode of Entertainment Tonight.

Source:  Entertainment Tonight

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Showing 23 comments

me:) on

OMG I couldn’t imagine the pain and heartache they must’ve indured to concieve their little man! And then for the beginning of his life to be touch and go like that!
Wow they are definitely blessed and Lucky to still have their little miracle, someone was definitely looking over baby Jefferey and wanted him to be here!!

NIta on

This is proof that ‘No weapon formed against you will prosper’

me 3 :) on

Her story is truly inspirational! I really don’t have much to complain about after reading Sherri’s story.

elisabeth on

sure it is sad that she lost her daughter and that her son was delivered so early… the part of this interview that bothers me is that she says she can’t understand why she was unable to conceive. I find it arrogant that so many women think that they can get pregnant whenever they want… and that age is not a factor. She was 37 1/2 when she got pregnant… I don’t really consider that “prime” years for babymaking.

UggaMugga.com on

That’s a heartbreaking, yet inspirational story. She’s a very strong woman!

Pam on

Elisabeth,
It’s completely heartbreaking and totally confusing when your body won’t work the way it’s supposed to and you’ve always thought it would. It can really screw you up mentally. I had my son at 38, but between 34 and 37, wondering WHY my body would just NOT work (while my older sister-in-law and my best friend got pregnant like nothing) was mentally so taxing for me. I don’t think it’s arrogant at all. I was aware that I may have a harder road, but when it actually happens to you, it’s a shock. You feel like you’ve failed as a woman.

elisabeth on

Pam- thanks for explaining that to me. It’s just that I have some friends going through infertitlity at the age of 38 and they just say that they thought it was fine to wait, that it could happen when they wanted it to. I personally think that we should never take our bodies for granted, especially as we get older. BUt your post made a lot of sense, thanks.

Heather on

Doesn’t her son live accross the country with the father?? or is that old news?? I just remember reading that somewhere and thinking how I would miss him too much especially after everythng they went through to live so far away from each other. Maybe I am wrong though :)

britmama on

Unfortunately miscarriage can happen to anyone, even someone in their late 20’s.

I cannot imagine going through something like this, but hope that anyone going through it has the support they need.

Having a child is a blessing and sometimes we take it for granted.

It is sometimes hard to figure out why some people are blessed with children and others are not. It is a sad fact of life.

M

Kat on

He’s our little miracle, except when he’s having a tantrum, then the miracle flies out the window!

My little guy was born at 34wks and was only 2 1/2 lbs. He spent 8wks in the NICU fighting everyday, has had many surgeries.

Damien’s now 2 1/2yrs old and the miracle needs to be tossed out the window too, at times!!! I couldn’t stop laughing at that comment.

NIta on

Feeling whole as a woman no matter what age can be daunting, as in no was is a sign of ignorance, it is a sign of pain. Having suffered with miscarriages and infertility myself that hurt is at times unexplainable, that is why people hold it in, because people pass biased judgment on how they should feel, you can not just simply get over it.
I wish Sherri and all others who have suffered in this manner continues blessings.
We need more pics from her.

iluvallbabies on

elisabeth: I think you might have meant ignorant, not arrogant?

Mary-Helen on

What a heartbreaking and empowering story. It’s a shame that they couldn’t make the marriage work after all they had been through together, but it’s so nice to read about how much they love their “little miracle.”

Lisa on

I think it is very normal to have feelings of “why” when things don’t go as planned. I started trying for my 3rd son at 27 and found out that I have PCOS and I probably wouldn’t be able to conceive again. After a miscarriage exactly a year to the day I found out that I was pregnant with my baby. I now have my 3rd baby boy and I am thrilled but those feelings of “why” did consume me. BTW-I am 35 and I wasn’t naive enough to think that I would sail through a pregnancy a little older without problems. I had tests done and he was born fabulous..just the smallest of my 3 @ 7-6. I was lucky, I am lucky. And I know it.

SweetDiva on

Elisabeth there are many reasons why a woman may choose to conceive later in life and many of them have nothing to do with arrogance.
For all we know she met her husband later in life. More women are getting married later and therefore children are pushed off until a little later. Maybe she wasn’t in a good position financially to have a baby in her 20s. And we have no idea from this article how many years Sherri struggled with infertility before she was able to conceive. Obviously when a woman faces fertility issues her age may be a factor, but not the only factor.

Honestly I don’t see how someone can read this story of triumph and still manage to find a way to criticize.

christina on

My heart goes out to Sherri. She seems like such a lovely lady. She was so open about doing IVF and the heartache of infertility and miscarriage. She is so blessed to have such an adorable son. I remember her saying on The View that her estranged husband has a child, not much younger than their child, with the woman he cheated on her with while Jeffrey Charles was still in the NICU. She was so gracious about it. She is a class act, all the way.

Terralynn Verge on

I cant believe that someone could critisize and call this poor woman arrogant..I found that very funny.
I myself have and am suffering from infertility and I find people who have not gone through this at times very “ARROGANT”.
It must be nice to be judging these people who are most likely going through the most difficult times of their lives..It is very traumatic to be struggling for a child only to lose them halfway through the pregnancy as I just went through this.
I lost a baby last November at 18 weeks after 2 1/2 years of infertility treatments. It is a very difficult position to be in. And a woman’s feelings during this are also very delicate. Every month for a woman struggling with infertility is like a loss. Like you you lose a baby that you already have in your mind and love with each negative pregnancy test. It is like a rollercoaster. You start to develop hope only to have it crushed at the end of your cycle. And when you finally get that positive test it is the most amazing feeling, like all you were put through with injections and IUI or IVF, the pain, the emotions were all worthwhile. I got to almost 5 months on my son and then he died inutero as well. It was the most horrible feeling in the world. Then you start to think are you kidding me I have to go through this torture again. I was not in my 30’s when I started trying to conceive. I was in my mid 20’s. I also had PCOS and I was able to through the miracles of science conceive my 2 beautiful boys before losing my 3rd son. My first was born at 32 weeks and spent 7 weeks in NICU being tube fed and on oxygen. Perfectly healthy woman otherwise. I dont smoke, drink, ate well. So no age does no have squat to do with it if you have a diagnosed fertility problem. We are trying again and I am having injections and IUI. I am 32 right now. I found it a little offensive to say that women suffering from this are arrogant. Maybe you would feel differently had you walked in mine and other ladies shoes. Terralynn

terri on

I find her neither arrogant not ignorant. 37 isn’t very young, but it’s not that old either. I’m sorry that her son struggled so much and for the loss of her daughter. I love her happy personality.

CeCe on

Hi,everyone
I lost my first pregnancy at 5 months that was the hardest thing I’ve ever hand to go through. I miscarried six years ago, I was 31 years old. I have a 5 yr old son now. I had a lot of support believe it or not, I found a great support group online. Thanks CeCe

Lisa on

I completely agree with Terralyn. And my heart goes out to you and also to CeCe. Thank you for sharing your stories on this site and I wish you the best of luck in the future and congratulatins on your beautiful children.
I think this celebrity is anything but arrogant and if people who judged walked a day in their shoes they might think twice about spouting off.

Sabrina on

Heather- I heard that Jeffrey still lives in California because he has breathing problems and the air quality in New York is bad for him.

I think this was a really nice article. I really admire Sherri’s positive outlook on motherhood!

Terralynn Verge on

CeCe
I am very sorry for your loss as well..I completely understand how hard it is..As I am still working through it.
We lost our son just a year and a bit ago..I also know how another child would never replace that baby. Although I am very glad that you have another little one now..Gives me a little hope..;-)
Take Care, Terralynn

Enigma on

I think it’s interesting that no one has talked about choices that hurt our ability to have children, carry them to term etc.
I had a baby 3 months early, @ age 37, was overweight (like Sherri), developed gestational diabetes (Sherri has type 2 diabetes). Age, and health play a huge role. Speaking from a medical standpoint (I’m a nurse) these all make it so much harder to conceive and carry a child. If you add stress…chances increase even more of no conception or miscarriage.
Sherri has admitted to “a lot” of abortions. Unfortunately that makes it very hard for the uterus to do its job. The more often it occurs the more chance of irreversible damage. Not one person on this thread has mentioned this. We have a pervasive problem of overlooking this, rationalizing it by any means possible…ignoring physical and emotional consequences.

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