Gabrielle Union is bravely opening up about her journey to surrogacy, admitting that it was hard for her to accept she couldn’t carry a baby herself.
In a new essay for Time magazine, the actress got candid about the “hard truth” behind her 2018 surrogacy journey.
Union’s previous diagnosis with adenomyosis led to multiple miscarriages over the years, which led her to consider other pregnancy options. She recalls being told by her doctor, Kelly Baek, in 2016 that her best chance of having a healthy baby of her own would be through surrogacy–but that was news she didn’t want to hear.
“I was not ready to do that,” she wrote in her piece for Time magazine. “I wanted the experience of being pregnant. To watch my body expand and shift to accommodate this miracle inside me.”
A little over a year later, Union was preparing to take a drug called Lupron, which would give her a 30% chance of bringing a baby to term. Unfortunately, it also meant “throwing your body into early menopause and you can break bones very easily,” she wrote.
Before she went through with it, her husband Dwyane Wade changed her mind with one simple statement: “You’ve done enough.”
Union wasn’t pleased with his response, at first, but he kept going, letting his wife know that her life was important, too.
“As much as we want this baby, I want you,” she recalled him saying. “We’ve lost too much in our relationship for me to be okay with encouraging you to do one more thing to your body and your soul.”
While Union admittedly had many fears about surrogacy, many of those fears were wiped away after meeting the surrogate, especially when she revealed herself to be a fan of Gabrielle.
“This is such a trip. I have your book on hold at four different libraries,” the actress recalled her surrogate, Natalie, telling her before they hugged. “So, I guess now I can get a copy, huh?” she continued, jokingly.
In March 2018, Natalie returned a positive pregnancy test, which was a difficult moment for Union.
“This growing bump that everyone thought I wanted to see was now a visual manifestation of my failure,” she wrote. “I smiled, wanting to show I — we — were so happy and grateful. But part of me felt more worthless.”
Understandably, Union was overcome with emotion when she saw her daughter during an ultrasound.
“It was suddenly incredibly real. Dwyane took my hand, and there was so much happiness on his face, I lost it. My cry was a choke stopped up in my throat, tears streaming down,” she explained. “It was grief. I’d had so many miscarriages … looking at the screen, I understood how many potential babies I had lost. That’s why I was crying.”
At the end of her essay, Gabrielle revealed why she decided to tell her story so openly:
“If I am telling the fullness of our stories, of our three lives together, I must tell the truths I live with. And I have learned that you can be honest and loving at the same time.”