The path to becoming a parent is rarely as straight a line as it seems. And for Gabrielle Union, it took more than a few unexpected turns, including multiple miscarriages, unsuccessful experiences with IVF, and eventually being diagnosed with adenomyosis, a painful condition that can cause fertility issues.
But, in early November, Union and her husband Dwyane Wade revealed that they had recently welcomed a baby girl into their family via surrogate. Now, in a candid post on Instagram, Union is reflecting on the emotional journey the couple took to get there.
"On this night we decided to embrace faith that our lil miracle @kaaviajames would make into our arms," Union wrote in the caption.
"We held onto each other in joy and peace and allowed ourselves to look forward to her arrival," she continued. The moving photo shows Wade sitting down while Union, standing, leans down to kiss his head.
"For lots of people/families who have been on their own unique fertility/family creation journey, hope can feel like a cruel joke that plays on repeat," Union wrote. "You stop letting yourself get excited and you don’t dare utter any updates. You carry it all. It can feel isolating and depressing. You wonder if you are defective. You are not. You wonder if you are worthy. You are. You feel you feel you feeeeeel."
As the caption explained, Wade decided to mark this emotional milestone with a tattoo of his soon-to-arrive daughter's name. "On this night, we allowed ourselves to stop holding our breath out of fear. We still had 4 months to go. We had never been this close. #tbt"
Although the majority of the internet's response to the couple's news has been positive, some wasn't.
Union told Oprah in a clip of an upcoming OWN special that she faced some backlash after revealing the news that she had used a surrogate, People reports. Wade chimed in to say that some were confused as to why she was acting "like she just had a baby."
But as SELF wrote previously, using a surrogate—also referred to as a "gestational carrier"—isn't a shortcut. Using a carrier is expensive and complicated. It also comes with its own unique set of emotional challenges, including coming to terms with the fact that you won't be carrying the baby yourself and, therefore, you might not have as much control over the pregnancy as you'd like. Plus, as Union's Instagram post makes clear, there are often many challenges leading up to the decision to use a surrogate.
On top of all that, everyone's fertility, pregnancy, and parenthood journey is different and equally valid and special. As Union said in her post, no matter what that journey looks like for you, "You are not alone. You are loved and worthy and every feeling is real and understood."