Heartfelt Quotes About Motherhood From Gabrielle Union

The actor is a stepmom and has an 11-month-old daughter with her husband, Dwyane Wade.
Gabrielle Union and her family attend Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Sports 2019 on July 11 in Santa Monica, California.
Gregg DeGuire via Getty Images
Gabrielle Union and her family attend Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Sports 2019 on July 11 in Santa Monica, California.

Gabrielle Union has been very open about her difficult journey to parenthood and the joy of life with her young daughter.

The actress and her husband, Dwyane Wade, welcomed baby Kaavia via surrogacy in November 2018 ― after several rounds of in vitro fertilization and miscarriages. Union is also stepmother to Wade’s sons, Zaire, Zion and Xavier. Over the years, she’s shared her thoughts on fertility struggles, step-parenthood, car seat drama and more.

In honor of her birthday, here are 14 parenting quotes from Union.

On Welcoming Her Newborn

“I felt such relief. To hear her breathing and crying was a dream. We didn’t really allow ourselves to believe it until then.”

On Fertility Struggles

“There was a lot of pain, and a lot of disappointment. I felt like I was not only disappointing myself and my spouse, but all the people who’d hung a lot of hope on us. I felt like a complete loser and failure.”

On Interacting With Her Daughter

“When I ask her a question, Kaavia responds with a lot of animation, and she’ll pause so you can ask her more. She follows along, but she doesn’t do baby talk. When people talk baby talk, she gives shady-baby looks.”

On Early Days

“Kaavia went through a phase of not napping. I was like, ‘When do I shower or pee or live?’ So I had to get a little comfortable with her crying, which I had not been. And then I took the quickest shower of all time!”

On Learning The Ropes

“I suck at swaddling. I don’t know whether to use glass or plastic bottles. I never knew there were so many types of nipples. And installing a car seat is like taking the SATs! I don’t have all the answers, which feels terrifying.”

On Mommy Shamers

“I had to hit the mommy shamers day one. I’m going to do it my way. I’m sure I’m going to make all kinds of mistakes and when I ask for help, which I will, I would love to hear all y’all’s advice. Everybody has been on my journey of pain and anguish and trauma, and I owe it to myself to enjoy every second of my joy. ... I want to be able to make whatever choice I want to make and not have to answer to anybody but me. As long as I feel good, as long as I feel confident, screw you. Look in the mirror and fix your own life. [I want to] give people that example of somebody who refuses to let anyone dictate what the hell I do or don’t do or say or don’t say.”

On Her Full House

“We enjoy every moment. But days fly by in a blur of life. It’s like watching a clip in fast-forward. I’m like, ‘No, I’m still in it!’”

On Bumps In The Road

“She used to love her car seat and then just one day was like, ‘I hate it. Good luck getting somewhere.’ Now I understand why sometimes you’ll see moms at the airport or in Target just in tears.”

On What Her Daughter Means To Her

“Kaavia really is the personification of hope for a lot of people like us, who maybe didn’t have a lot to be hopeful about. She represents that maybe there is a light at the end. And when you take people on the low points of your journey, it’s cool to let them be part of the joy. Plus, she’s really cute. And has an uncanny ability for making steely eye contact!”

On Mom Roles

“Watching television now, I can absolutely tell when a man wrote the role of a woman being a mother. It’s either she’s Madonna Mary perfect, or has some super-human strength, or she is just one long-ass fucking sacrifice. But there is no nuance ... all moms are not created equal, and all moms do not enjoy every aspect of parenting. Resources, privilege, race, region, and support all play a role in how we experience parenting. Playing a black mom, if I’m not going to bring that full experience to the table, I’m not interested.”

On Dealing With Infertility In The Public Eye

“For so many women, and not just women in the spotlight, people feel very entitled to know, [they ask] ‘Do you want kids?’ A lot of people, especially people that have fertility issues, just say ‘no’ because that’s a lot easier than being honest about whatever is actually going on. People mean so well, but they have no idea the harm or frustration it can cause. Once a month I look like I’m in my second trimester because I’m bloated. It leads to the questions and it leads to the rumors and anytime I go into a doctor’s office I feel like I’m a member of SEAL Team Six undercover because I don’t want people to speculate.”

On Her Co-Parent

“Dwyane is like a stage mom. He’s very hands-on. When he’s in Miami and we’re in Los Angeles, he wants to know everything, from her poops to what outfit she’s wearing.”

On Choosing Motherhood

“I never wanted kids. Then I became a stepmom, and there was no place I’d rather be than with them. So then I thought, ‘Well maybe I might be good at this, and maybe this is something I want to explore. And I’m madly in love with this dude, so [having a baby] is something we could look into.’”

On Embracing Imperfection

“An upside of being 46 and having been a stepparent is I give myself permission to be human. When I need a minute to return emails or cry or mindlessly scroll social media, I’ll take it. I’m not trying to be a perfect parent. ... I’m okay with life not being balanced. I’m not hitting it out of the park in every area. There are times I should be studying lines, but I’m playing with my baby and I’m enjoying it.”

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