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Portraits of actress Gabrielle Union photographed in her home.

Source: The Washington Post / Getty

In an excerpt from Gabrielle Union‘s new book, You Got Anything Stronger?, she reflected about her rocky journey to motherhood through surrogacy.

After more miscarriages than she “could confidently count” and failed IVF treatments, her doctor told her that she would most likely become a mother if she used a surrogate. It was a heartbreaking blow because Union had looked forward to carrying her own child. She found herself devastated again when her husband Dwyane Wade told her he had gotten another woman pregnant while she was struggling to do the same thing.

In 2013, before we were married, Dwyane had a baby with another woman. It should go without saying that we were not in a good place at the time that child was conceived. But we were doing much better when he finally told me about the pregnancy. To say I was devastated is to pick a word on a low shelf for convenience. There are people—strangers I will never meet—who have been upset that I have not previously talked about that trauma. I have not had words, and even after untold amounts of therapy I am not sure I have them now.

In a desperate move to try and get pregnant again, Union decided to take Lupron, a medication that would address her adenomyosis condition but also put her into early menopause and cause her bones to break easily. Once Wade heard that, he cautioned his wife against taking it.

As much as we want this baby, I want you,” he said slowly. “We’ve lost too much in our relationship for me to be okay with encouraging you to do one more thing to your body and your soul.

She wasn’t sure of how to take his feedback, especially since he had betrayed her.

The experience of Dwyane having a baby so easily—while I was unable to—left my soul not just broken into pieces, but shattered into fine dust scattering in the wind.

She later decided to go along with having a surrogate and during a 4D ultrasound appointment she couldn’t stop her tears from flowing. While she was happy to lay eyes on her baby, she was still haunted by the previous miscarriages and the feelings regarding not carrying her child.

I saw my husband so happy, and I was not a part of it. I felt a chasm widening between us. I was embarrassed to be crying so much, but everyone was looking at me with smiles and nods. They thought these were tears of gratitude. The awe of witnessing the start of life. I was reliving death. Of course I was grateful, it would be impossible not to be. But what I was grateful for was that this life might be spared. That this heartbeat might continue, beat strong for decades, long after my own stopped. So many had stopped inside me.

She and Wade later welcomed their daughter, Kaavia.

Even though the surrogacy journey is over, Union still has some heavy what if’s passing through her mind. She wonders if the love her daughter has for her would be stronger of she carried her. She asks herself her same question about Wade.

Yet the question lingers in my mind: I will always wonder if Kaav would love me more if I had carried her. Would our bond be even tighter? I will never know what it would have been like to carry this rockstar inside me. When they say having a child is like having your heart outside your body, that’s all I know. We met as strangers, the sound of my voice and my heartbeat foreign to her. It’s a pain that has dimmed but remains present in my fears that I was not, and never will be, enough.

And Dwyane leaves me with another riddle that has no answer. I can never know if my failure to carry a child put a ceiling on the love my husband has for me.

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