In a candid interview with Women's Health, Gabrielle Union also admitted it was "terrifying" thinking of how she'd "be embraced as a mom" after surrogacy.

By Jen Juneau
Gabrielle Union Short Hair Purple Background Hallmark
Credit: Kathy Hutchins/Shutterstock

While Gabrielle Union eventually turned to surrogacy to become a mom to daughter Kaavia James, it took her a beat to warm up to the idea — namely, due to initial feelings of inadequacy.

Speaking to Women’s Health for their March cover story, the L.A.’s Finest star admitted she had a sense of “failure” after being unable to physically deliver a child following multiple miscarriages and rounds of in vitro fertilization.

“There’s nothing more that I wanted than to cook my own baby … the idea of it felt like surrendering to failure,” said Union, 46, going on to explain that she was worried how she’d be “embraced as a mom” by others after welcoming her first child with husband Dwyane Wade.

“People want to see the bump, hear that you got hemorrhoids — they want to know you’re like them,” the actress said. “I was like ‘This is going to seem like the most Hollywood s— ever. Will I be embraced as a mom?’ It’s terrifying.”

Once Union came around to the idea of surrogacy, though, she fully embraced her role in the process. In fact, there was a specific trait she looked for in Kaavia’s gestational carrier.

“Some people care about the race, religion or food habits of their surrogate. I was like, ‘I want a reader,’ “ recalled the Being Mary Jane star.

As far as the personality cornerstones she wants to instill in little Kaavia, who was born on Nov. 7, Union told Women’s Health that she aspires to “let her be free” in her decision-making as she grows up, trusting that she has given her daughter the right foundation.

“I want to instill in her morals, values. And then I want to give her space to fill in those gaps, fall on her ass and make mistakes. Get an F because she didn’t study. Pick the wrong dude,” she said. “Pick the wrong friends and figure it out. I don’t want to be super judge-y.”

Just because she didn’t carry Kaavia herself doesn’t mean Union didn’t see changes to her body as a result of IVF treatments, which she said made her face resemble “the surface of the moon.”

“Small chunks of hair were falling out,” revealed the 10 Things I Hate About You actress. “At 9 a.m. I had a flat stomach. By noon, I looked like I was five months pregnant.”

To get back to feeling like her old self, Union consulted a nutritionist — whose detoxing to-do list for the star included eliminating caffeine, gluten, dairy and alcohol.

“I felt like she was trying to torture me,” she joked. “[But] I did it for six weeks. Then I was like, ‘I need a drink!’"


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