Dwyane Wade isn’t about to conform to gender stereotypes when it comes to caring for his newborn daughter.
In an exclusive new interview with Oprah Winfrey, airing Saturday on OWN, the Miami Heat shooting guard and wife Gabrielle Union open up about how life has changed since welcoming their first child together: 4-week-old Kaavia James, who was born Nov. 7 via surrogate.
For starters, both stars are sharing the parenting load equally — even if the societal expectation for professional athletes may be a different one than the couple is willing to embrace.
“That is the mentality, right? For professional athletes,” says Wade in the all-new special, titled Oprah at Home with Gabrielle Union, Dwyane Wade & Their New Baby. “If you have a baby, you didn’t have the baby. You get right back to playing the sport.”
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But the father of four (plus a nephew under his guardianship) isn’t subscribing to these ideologies. “For me and for my wife and our family, our journey was just totally different,” says Wade, 36.
“Having a surrogate carry our baby, I wasn’t there to be able to be like, (leans over toward Union’s belly) ‘Hey baby, Daddy’s here,’ ” he explains. “To have these conversations, so she can hear me. So we can sing to her, so we can read to her.”
“So this connection that we both needed, it had to happen right away,” Wade continues. “And for me, it was like, I’ve always done things my way.”
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Actress Union, 46, also has her own career to balance as she navigates her life as a new mom, which Wade points out in his addressing of the double standard surrounding parenting stereotypes.
“They expect my wife to take off — why not expect me to take off, as well? We’re parents and we’re doing this together,” he tells Winfrey, 64. “It’s no ‘She do this, I do this,’ no, we’re doing this together. So for me, it was a no-brainer. My wife, who’s a career woman, gonna take off two weeks? Then I’m gonna take off two weeks.”
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.