It’s been five months since actress Gabrielle Union and her husband, former NBA player Dwyane Wade, welcomed their baby girl via surrogate.
Now, the 46-year-old is opening up about her journey to motherhood and what it was like to face fertility issues, Glamour reports.
During her efforts to conceive her daughter, 5-month-old Kaavia James, she said that she realized infertility is a topic that’s often not discussed enough.
In the age of social media, Union said the road to parenthood looks easier than it really is. She explained:
“So much of the Instagram life is creating these perfect illusions, right? People have kids — even through surrogacy or IVF or whatever — and the kids just appear. Rarely do we hear how. What was the journey? Without understanding what got to baby, it feels like easy and overnight. And that’s not the case.”
Union went through nine miscarriages and was diagnosed with a condition called adenomyosis that causes problems with the endometrial tissue, Glamour reports.
Her baby girl was eventually born with the help of a surrogate, but Union said exploring her fertility options wasn’t easy:
“Nobody was really open when I had questions. […] The only reason I heard about certain doctors or treatments or new technologies or new procedures — whether that be diet or Eastern philosophy — was through a whisper network, and mainly from women who did not look like me or who had a very different journey through life than I did.”
The actress said learning about treatments was like the “underground railroad of fertility.”
The new mom added:
“So I try to be as open as possible. I’m telling people the water’s warm. Dive on in.”
Union said she feels “raw and exposed” now that she’s become a mother, particularly because she feels the judgment of other moms. She explained:
“Part of the journey is being OK with how others — specifically moms — are viewing you, judging you, praising you.”
Despite the struggles, Union said she lives for special moments with her daughter:
“She brings me joy.”
Kaavia James joins Wade’s older children from past relationships, 17-year-old Zaire, 11-year-old Zion, and 5-year-old Xavier.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 10 percent of women in the United States have issues with infertility.