The couple welcomed their first child together, a girl named Kaavia James, via surrogate on Nov. 7 — and immediately after, they faced backlash over the pictures they shared of Union holding her newborn while wearing a hospital gown, which facilitates skin-to-skin bonding.
The new parents discussed the hurtful moment with Oprah Winfrey in an interview titled Oprah at Home with Gabrielle Union, Dwyane Wade & Their New Baby, which airs Saturday on OWN.
To start the conversation, the Being Mary Jane actress, 46, confessed that there have been “so many things” that felt inappropriate or invasive that people have said as she and her husband struggled with miscarriages.
Then, the basketball player, 36, shared his perspective on the process, from conception to birth. “I try to tell my wife, ‘Don’t look at that stuff,’ ” he explains before pivoting to discuss the hospital photos.
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“For me, the most hurtful thing was once we had our baby and everybody started talking about, ‘Why is she in the bed holding the baby? Why she got a gown on? Why is she acting like she just had a baby?’ ” he recalls. “Once again, people are uneducated on the process and why we decided to go skin-to-skin as soon as our baby came out.”
In another clip of the interview, Union, who has suffered eight or nine pregnancy losses, got emotional about not being able to carry the child herself.
“I’m already getting choked up. It’s still hard to let go,” she says, with tears in her eyes.
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Kaavia is the first child for Union, while the Miami Heat player is dad to sons Xavier Zechariah, 5, Zion Malachi Airamis, 11, and Zaire Blessing Dwyane, 16. He also raises nephew Dahveon Morris, 17.
The new mom previously opened up about her struggles with infertility in her 2017 memoir We're Going to Need More Wine.
“For three years, my body has been a prisoner of trying to get pregnant — 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,” wrote Union, who also revealed she was diagnosed with adenomyosis, a type of endometriosis that only occurs in the uterus.
After realizing how much joy she felt raising the boys with Wade, Union first discovered that having a baby was something she wanted. “I never wanted kids. Then I became a stepmom, and there was no place I’d rather be than with them,” she told PEOPLE in September 2017.
“So then I thought, ‘Well maybe I might be good at this, and maybe this is something I want to explore,’ ” she continued. “And I’m madly in love with this dude, so [having a baby] is something we could look into.”
Days after her birth, Kaavia’s parents publicly revealed her name on Instagram. Wade shared a throwback photo of himself from above that showed off his freshly tattooed shoulders bearing his baby girl’s unique moniker. “Goes back to that one night in China when I decided to get my daughter’s name tattooed on me. Kaavia James Union Wade!” he wrote.
Oprah at Home with Gabrielle Union, Dwyane Wade & Their New Baby will air Saturday at 8 p.m. ET/PT on OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network.