From Being a Stepmom to Revealing Her Fertility Struggles: Inside Gabrielle Union's Road to Motherhood
After multiple miscarriages and failed IVF attempts, Gabrielle Union has finally been able to welcome the baby that she and NBA star husband Dwyane Wade have much longed for. The couple shared on Instagram on Thursday that they welcomed their first child together, a baby girl, via a surrogate alongside a set of family photos from the hospital. “A LOVELY DAY We are sleepless and delirious but so excited to share that our miracle baby arrived last night via surrogate and 11/7 will forever be etched in our hearts as the most loveliest of all the lovely days,” they both captioned the photos. “Welcome to the party sweet girl!” her caption concluded.
Union, 46, and Wade, 36, tied the knot in August 2014 and at first, the actress didn’t see children as part of her future. But, after realizing how much joy she felt raising three boys with Wade — his nephew Dahveon Morris, 17, and sons from a previous marriage Zaire, 16, and Zion, 11 (Wade’s third son Xavier, 4, who was conceived with another woman while Wade and Union were broken up, lives with his mother) — Union first discovered that having a baby was something she wanted. “I never wanted kids,” she told PEOPLE in September 2017. “Then I became a stepmom, and there was no place I’d rather be than with them.” "So then I thought, 'Well maybe I might be good at this, and maybe this is something I want to explore,'" she continued. "And I'm madly in love with this dude, so [having a baby] is something we could look into."
Stepmom from the Start
Although Wade got full custody of his boys while he and Union were dating, she told PEOPLE in 2017 that she was committed to them from the start. "Even though we were just dating at that point, I made a commitment and my family made a commitment to help," she said. "Over the years when we've been in and out of love or a romantic relationship, my commitment to the kids and my family's commitment to the kids never wavered." Union added: "I would weather uncomfortable moments within our personal, romantic relationship to make sure that we were both on hand as much as possible to be consistent in their lives."
In her book, We're Going to Need More Wine, which was excerpted exclusively in PEOPLE ahead of it's release in 2017, Union opened up about the difficulties she's faced in trying to conceive a child. “I have had eight or nine miscarriages,” she wrote. “For three years, my body has been a prisoner of trying to get pregnant — I’ve either been about to go into an IVF cycle, in the middle of an IVF cycle, or coming out of an IVF cycle.”
Dealing with Speculation
“For so many women, and not just women in the spotlight, people feel very entitled to know, [they ask] 'Do you want kids?' " she told PEOPLE in 2017. "A lot of people, especially people that have fertility issues, just say 'no' because that's a lot easier than being honest about whatever is actually going on. People mean so well, but they have no idea the harm or frustration it can cause." "Once a month I look like I’m in my second trimester because I’m bloated,” she continued. “It leads to the questions and it leads to the rumors and anytime I go into a doctor’s office I feel like I’m a member of SEAL Team Six undercover because I don’t want people to speculate.”
“Towards the end of my fertility journey I finally got some answers,” Union said while speaking at the BlogHer conference in New York City on Aug. 8, according to Essence. "Everyone said 'You're a career woman, you've prioritized your career, you waited too long and now you’re just too old to have a kid — and that's on you for wanting a career,' " she continued, before adding, "the reality is I actually have adenomyosis." Adenomyosis is a type of endometriosis that only occurs in the uterus, according to the Seckin Endometriosis Center. While side effects include an enlarged uterus, extremely heavy and painful periods and chronic pelvic pain, the only cure is to undergo a hysterectomy, according to the Mayo Clinic. Union said she had been dealing with symptoms of Adenomyosis since her early 20s, yet doctors had never given her an answer and simply put her on birth control to "mask" the problem.
Holding Onto Hope
Despite everything she had been through, Union wrote in We're Going to Need More Wine that she and Wade remained "bursting with love and ready to do anything to meet the child we’ve both dreamed of." Now, it seems, their dreams have become a reality.