Gabrielle Union knows how surrogacy might appear to those who haven't experienced it – and how it was not at all the way she felt when using a surrogate to birth her daughter, now two-year-old Kaavia.
"When I'm reading in People magazine about someone who's had a baby via gestational carrier like we did, it was basically like, 'I couldn't, we found an angel on earth, and now our angel is on earth,'" she said during an interview on The Daily Show With Trevor Noah that aired Wednesday. "My story doesn't match that . . . and there is nothing in between."
In fact, unlike the glowing celebrity surrogacy stories she'd read about, she had "complicated, messy, not-soundbite-worthy feelings" about entering into motherhood this way.
"It's brutal, and it's heartbreaking, and it sucks. But no one ever tells that story."
"When it's not 'Oh it was great, and I'm just glad someone was there to help me bring my angel into the world,' I felt like a loser," she admitted. "I felt like I'm defective."
Gabrielle continued: "I felt like a failure. I felt like my body had failed me, I had failed me, and I had failed Dwyane [Wade] and he deserved something other than me."
Even after Kaavia's birth in 2018, she struggled with their path to becoming parents.
"When you don't physically birth your child and have those nine months to bond with your baby, it's like me and Dwyane are in the same boat with Kaav," she said. "We both had to work to create a bond because she was created outside of both of us. And I was so worried that maybe she's not going to love me as much because I didn't birth her. Maybe she's not going to respect me as much because I didn't birth her. Maybe he's not ever going to be able to love me fully, completely, because I wasn't able to do this, and I'll never know."
She decided to detail her struggles with surrogacy in her forthcoming book of essays, You Got Anything Stronger?, mostly to remind people that they aren't alone if they too are struggling.
"It's brutal, and it's heartbreaking, and it sucks," she said. "But no one ever tells that story."