Actress Gabrielle Union’s new memoir reveals just how painful it can be to ask women (what some may deem as a seemingly harmless question) “When are you going to start a family?”. It also serves as a reminder for many, that there is simply no easy answer to this totally invasive question. For Union, the road has been marked by “eight or nine miscarriages.” In an interview she states:
“For three years, my body has been a prisoner of trying to get pregnant,” Union wrote in the memoir. “I’ve either been about to go into an IVF cycle, in the middle of an IVF cycle or coming out of an IVF cycle.”
As Gabrielle Union eloquently demonstrates in her book, We’re Going to Need More Wine, miscarriages and fertility struggles should never be sources of shame for women—but they are topics everyone else ought to be more aware of before asking assumptive questions like when it will be “your turn” to become a parent.
Excerpts from her soon to be released book were recently published in People, Union, 44, shared she has been waiting for “her turn” for a long, difficult amount of time.
“For so many women, and not just women in the spotlight, people feel very entitled to know, ‘Do you want kids?’” Union tells People. “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.”
Union, 44, admits she didn’t think she wanted to have children when she married her husband, Dwyane Wade of the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers, in August 2014. But her feelings began to change after she started raising one of his nephews and his three children from previous relationships.
Any couple that has been through IVF or is trying to conceive, can tell you just how emotionally and physically taxing the process is. She says at one time her body got so bloated she said she appeared pregnant; which led to even more questions that would be discouraging for anyone struggling with infertility.
Union tells People she hopes her book will help change the way we converse about planning pregnancies—and save other couples from questions that are well-meaning but actually open emotional wounds.
For anyone who is still wondering about her status, Union notes in her memoir that she and Wade are still pursuing IVF and “remain bursting with love and ready to do anything to meet the child we’ve both dreamed of.”
Although we may each have good intentions when asking friends or family the status on their family planning, let this be a reminder that some questions are better left unasked.
Love of impromptu dance parties, 80’s cartoons, and horizontal life pauses (aka naps); Natasha Brown is a stay at home mom of 4 kids, and wife to one lucky guy! In her spare time, she is co-editor of Grits & Grace, as well as editor for The Mother Hustler Blog and Creative Director for the Mother Hustler podcast.