Gabrielle Union has opened up about her emotional journey to becoming a mother by sharing heartwarming video of the birth of her daughter via a surrogate.
Union, 46, posted an Instagram video Monday with footage of her tearfully celebrating the birth of daughter Kaavia James Union Wade on Nov. 7 with husband Dwyane Wade while reflecting on everything they have been through.
"We're finally getting to the place where there's this little person that will call me mom,'' Union says in the video. "We're just so grateful and so thankful for the gift that they've given us."
The actress has been open in the past about her struggles to carry a baby to term, writing in her memoir last year that she'd suffered "eight or nine miscarriages."
"It wasn’t actually the problem of getting pregnant, it was holding the baby,'' she said in the video.
Union revealed that she has adenomyosis, a condition where the tissue lining the uterus grows into the muscular wall of the uterus, causing heavy menstrual bleeding and pelvic pain.
"We just decided as a family that the best and safest route was a surrogate,'' she said. "For us it's our embryo, so our surrogate has no genetic tie to our baby."
The video shows Union in hospital scrubs, overcome with emotion in the delivery room as doctors hold up Kaavia after her surrogate gave birth via C-section.
Kaavia is the latest addition to the family. Wade has three sons from previous relationships: Zaire, 16, Zion, 11, and Xavier, 4, and he also raises his nephew, Dahveon Morris, 17.
The couple also posted an expanded eight-minute video in which Wade talks about everything Union has endured in the process of becoming a mother.
"People kind of get this perception that, especially someone who is an actress or celebrities, they get a surrogate because they’re lazy," the Miami Heat star said. "Because they don’t want to carry it or because they didn’t want to mess their bodies up.
"But for us, it got to the point where it was dangerous. It was like, I married you, I choose you first. There’s no us, without you. And that was the reason why we looked into the next best option which was to bring our joy into the world."
Union opened up about her fears as the couple got closer to Kaavia's birth grew closer.
"I'm terrified,'' she said. "I didn’t have a chance to carry you so I haven’t always felt like am I doing it all wrong? Am I going to feel this bond, you know that mothers have because they’ve cooked a baby for nine, 10 months? Will I not have that? That scares me.
"The beauty and the downside of surrogacy, it’s happening away from us. This is our surrogate’s fourth baby, and she sees it as allowing her body to give a gift, the gift of life, to another family."
Following their daughter's birth, Wade has also defended Union against social media commenters criticizing her for wearing a hospital gown while holding her baby despite not being the one who gave birth.
Wade, who announced in September that this would retiring at the end of this season, is also shown beaming as he holds his daughter.
"To have her in this moment, it’s all worth it, you know?'' he said. "All the sacrifice, a lot for my wife."
"Every path to motherhood looks different, there’s no one right way,'' Union said.