After "eight or nine" miscarriages, Union and her husband opted for surrogacy.

After years of fertility struggles culminating in a diagnosis of adenomyosis, Gabrielle Union and her husband Dwyane Wade welcomed daughter Kaavia James Union Wade (aka shady baby) via surrogate in November 2018.

“There’s nothing more that I wanted than to cook my own baby,” the 46-year-old Being Mary Jane star told Women’s Health. “The idea of it felt like surrendering to failure,” she said of surrogacy, but with few options (and just three embryos) remaining, the actress put her reservations aside and began the search for the perfect surrogate.

Union held a unique set of specifications for the woman who would carry her child. “Some people care about the race, religion, or food habits of their surrogate. I was like, ‘I want a reader,’” the bestselling memoirist said. When a candidate told her, “I love the smell of the pages,” the deal was done.

Though her route to motherhood wasn’t what she’d previously envisioned, Union is happy she waited until her 40s to have a baby (she’s also a stepmother to Wade’s two sons from a previous marriage). “Any earlier and the FOMO would have greatly influenced how I parented,” she admitted. “I’ve seen it. I’ve done it. I’ve done it well. I’ve gotten all the T-shirts. Now I’m in the right mindset and mental space, and I’m open to being the best mom I can be.”

When it comes to raising her daughter, Gabrielle intends to give Kaavia plenty of room to figure out who she is.

“I want to let her be free,” Union said. “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. Pick the wrong friends and figure it out. I don’t want to be super judge-y.”