When I think about actresses who have been cultural figures throughout my lifetime, Gabrielle Union-Wade is truly one of the first names that come to mind. I can recall being on the playground in grade school urging my friends to learn the cheer routines from Bring it On just as easily as I can remember a few years ago watching Being Mary Jane, crying from the relatability of Mary Jane's life struggles (a story for another day). It's inspiring to watch a powerful black woman whose art has been a consistent source of entertainment and influence. Although I must say, I think many of us have grown to cherish her personal journey and stories just as much.
Through avenues like social media and her first book, We're Going to Need More Wine, Gabrielle has shared her highs and lows, life-changing moments, and more. Now in her latest novel, You Got Anything Stronger?, she continues to let audiences into other intimate details of her life, including her journey to motherhood.
In 2018, Gabrielle Union welcomed her first child via surrogate. After publicly sharing her issues with fertility, many of us felt a sigh of relief and genuine happiness from the announcement. However, in her latest memoir, she shares the complete truth behind what we saw online. Yes, she was elated, but there's a lot more to the story. From questioning the validity of her motherhood to healing after her now husband's 'break baby' years before, she details her surrogacy journey.
Time Magazine shared an excerpt from the new release, and all I'm gonna say is, I understand the realness of the title. Because I would need a shot.
Unfortunately, a lot of us have dealt with the fall-out of infidelity. The feeling of deceit and hurt is indescribable. But for most of us, we're able to heal privately. Sure, we may talk to friends and family, but no one knows except the people we choose to tell. Obviously, as a prominent star, it was different for Gabrielle Union. Imagine having millions of people aware of your situation while you are still processing the intensity of the pain. She writes:
"The experience of Dwyane having a baby so easily—while I was unable to—left my soul not just broken into pieces, but shattered into fine dust scattering in the wind."
According to studies, Black women are almost twice as likely to experience infertility than white women. Gabrielle Union is no different, she suffered what she describes as, "more miscarriages than she could confidently count" and an adenomyosis diagnosis, frequent pain, and heavy bleeding that is associated with poor pregnancy outcomes. She knew something had to shift, but when her doctor recommended surrogacy, Union was determined to find another outcome. This resulted in multiple IVF cycles and losses. She was even willing to try Lupron, a drug that had only a 30% success rate and dire side effects.
"Why was I so willing to risk myself for a chance? 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?"
This decision led to initial insecurity meeting the surrogate, feeling the grief of prior miscarriages, and ultimately a complex sea of emotions and gratitude for Kaavia's birth.
"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."
As a woman who desires motherhood one day, I think stories like this are needed. Motherhood doesn't look one way, and Gabrielle Union's authentic way of sharing the emotions that come with this, is part of why I and so many others gravitate toward her.
Anyway, I'm excited to add her book to the fall reading list, but I can tell it's going to be intense. If you're interested in checking it out, it's available for purchase here.
Read more of her Time Magazine essay here.
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