Gabrielle Union Discusses Her Fertility Struggles: 'It Just Feels Like a Lot of Shame'

Illustration for article titled Gabrielle Union Discusses Her Fertility Struggles: 'It Just Feels Like a Lot of Shame'
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On Monday, Gabrielle Union shared an emotional video on IGTV detailing her long, painful fertility journey. The eight-minute clip covers her “eight or nine” miscarriages, a diagnosis of adenomyosis (a condition in which the inner lining of the uterus breaks through the muscle wall) and eventual pregnancy-via-surrogacy that lead to the birth of her first child with husband Dwayne Wade last month. Kaavia James Union Wade was born on November 7.

“It just feels like a lot of shame,” Union says of her years of infertility issues, “Just years of shame and humiliation and betrayal of your body. It’s so many emotions.”


Union has been very vocal about her road to motherhood for a while now: in her 2017 memoir We’re Going to Need More Wine: Stories That Are Funny, Complicated, and True, she wrote that in all her attempts to conceive, she had become “a prisoner of trying to get pregnant.”

Since Kaavia’s delivery, her tone has shifted. Over the weekend, she and Wade sat down with Oprah in their first lengthy interview since the birth with a more optimistic message: “There’s many paths to parenthood, to motherhood. It doesn’t have to match your friend’s, your sister’s, your mama’s. Every path is real and beautiful and valid and worthwhile,” Union told Oprah. “But more than anything, you are not alone. You don’t have to suffer in silence. You don’t have to suffer alone. There’s hope. There’s answers. We got you.”

Watch the full Instagram short on Union’s IGTV, here.

URL: Senior Writer, Jezebel. IRL: Author of the very good book 'LARGER THAN LIFE: A History of Boy Bands from NKOTB to BTS,' out now.

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It makes me sad to think of someone like Union feeling shame or humiliation for having a reluctant reproductive tract. As someone who also had a reproductive system that was, shall we say, uncooperative, it would be a great step forward to remove the stigma of talking openly about these things.

Also, friendly tip, if a woman has no children, or one child when you think she should have more, don’t ask her why she isn’t churning out babies. I got so sick of getting the question of why we were robbing our child of a sibling that I finally starting answering with the truth: After every imaginable complication that ended mostly in emergency surgery, after upwards of 10 miscarriages, after years of inconclusive tests and no solutions, we determined that 1) we’d been incredibly lucky to have one healthy full-term pregnancy and 2) trying for a second wasn’t worth dying for.

Again, it just makes me sad that the words ‘humiliation’ or ‘shame’ should be used in the same sentence as ‘miscarriage,’ instead of simply ‘really sad’ or ‘deeply disappointing.”