Gabrielle Union Shares Truth About Surrogacy, Journey to Motherhood
The only way Gabrielle Union could become a mother was by facing a harsh fact: she couldn’t carry a baby on her own.
The 48-year-old actress’ pregnancies kept ending with miscarriages. Then, she endured repeated in vitro fertilization cycles and losses. Carrying an adenomyosis diagnosis, she would have done anything to have a baby, even having “sold my soul,” Union wrote in a guest column that was recently published on Time.com.
And so she did, the only way doctors said she could.
Union opened up about her surrogacy story and journey to motherhood in the piece. She penned about the grief and pain of trying to conceive a child, longing for motherhood after her husband Dwayne Wade had a baby with another woman before they were married and accepting the truths about her road to becoming a mom.
“Why was I so willing to risk myself for a chance?,” she wrote. “If there was another way for me to bring my baby into the world, and have my health, why was it so hard for me to make peace with that?”
Union, mother to the bold and spirited Kaavia James, who will be 3 in November, previously said she felt prisoner to her body while trying to conceive. She first publicly revealed her battle with infertility before the release of her 2019 memoir We’re Gonna Need More Wine.
She wrote on Time that she’d lost count of how many miscarriages she experienced. Even after her doctor told her surrogacy was her best chance of having a baby, she explored IVF for a year. Union even considered Lupron, a drug that tempers adenomyosis. But the side effects included early menopause and making your bones more susceptible to breaking.
At the time, part of her was “desperate” to make things right between her and her husband. In 2013 before the two were married, the former NBA star conceived a child with another woman.
To see Wade have another child so easily shattered Union, and he became the voice of reason to encourage his wife to save her health.
So they chose an agency, and the choice eventually led them to the child of their dreams. Kaavia James Wade was born in 2018.
“So much time has passed. So many firsts. Yet the question lingers in my mind: I will always wonder if Kaav would love me more if I had carried her. Would our bond be even tighter? I will never know what it would have been like to carry this rockstar inside me,” wrote Union. “When they say having a child is like having your heart outside your body, that’s all I know. We met as strangers, the sound of my voice and my heartbeat foreign to her.
Union said she fell down the surrogacy rabbit hole in her quest for information. Infertility affects at least 12 percent of all women up to the age of 44, but Black women may be twice as likely to experience it. However, only eight percent of this group between the ages of 25 and 44 seek medical assistance with pregnancy compared to 15 percent of white women.
After going through the stages of the process, Union found herself dressing for what she described as “the best and worst blind date ever.” She was meeting with Natalie, the woman and mother who became her surrogate, and her husband. Union described them as “free spirits with an aura of goodness.”
“She’s a cool-ass white girl,” Union recalled of Natalie, who had a copy of Union’s first book on hold at a few libraries. The actress’ second memoir You Got Anything Stronger was released on Sept. 14.
In the Time column that coincided with the book release, Union outlined some of the childbirth experience. The umbilical cord was wrapped around Kaavia’s ankle, so doctors had to perform an emergency C-section. She said her voice broke as she choked out Kaavia’s name upon meeting the dewy-eyed baby in the delivery room. There was a band of tears as Union became a mother.
She couldn’t experience a public pregnancy like she wanted. She didn’t feel the miracle of life physically within as she hoped.
But accepting the truth about her body and health released her, offering the gift of motherhood for which she’d always longed.