Gabrielle Union never wanted to be a mother, but when she married NBA star Dwyane Wade in 2014 and became a stepmom to his three children, she changed her mind.
"I never wanted kids," she admitted to People magazine. "Then I became a stepmom, and there was no place I'd rather be than with them."
However, Union's journey to have a child of her own has been a difficult one. In her new book We're Going to Need More Wine, she addressed her struggles with infertility and revealed that she's suffered multiple pregnancy losses in the past three years.
"I have had eight or nine miscarriages," the 44-year-old wrote. "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."
Union has only briefly opened up about her fertility struggles once before, a year after she and Wade — who is 10 years her junior — tied the knot.
The penance for being a career woman is barrenness.
In a 2015 interview with Redbook, the actress spoke about starting a family. "So far, it has not happened for us," she said. "There's a certain amount of shame that is placed on women who have perhaps chosen a career over starting a family younger. The penance for being a career woman is barrenness. You feel like you're wearing a scarlet letter."
While plenty of famous women have become mothers in their 40s, the truth is that it does get harder to have a baby as you age. In fact, a woman's chances of getting pregnant in her 40s decreases by five per cent every month.
Additionally, there's a high chance of having a miscarriage the older you get. According to BabyCenter Canada, the risk is one in five at 30 years old, and at 42, the risk is one in two.
According to Union, one of the most difficult parts of struggling with infertility is dealing with people's questions about when you're going to have kids.
"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," she told People magazine. "People mean so well, but they have no idea the harm or frustration it can cause."
People mean so well, but they have no idea the harm or frustration it can cause.
Union isn't the first celebrity to reveal how hurtful people's probing questions can be. Previously, both Tyra Banks and Chrissy Teigen opened up about their own fertility struggles and warned that you never know what people are going through.
"For any women, it is none of your business what somebody is going through," Banks, who had her son via surrogate, said in 2015. "Whether they want to have a child or don't ever want to have a child or may have a child on the way, it's none of your business, okay? Until somebody wants to make it your business."
But while Union and Wade "have endured eight failed IVF cycles," the two remain hopeful. "Each attempt at IVF is a loving action," the "Being Mary Jane" star wrote in her book. "So we remain here, bursting with love and ready to do anything to meet the child we've both dreamed of."
Union and Wade are currently raising three sons: 16-year-old Dahveon Morris, who is Wade's nephew, and 15-year-old Zaire and 10-year-old Zion, who are Wade's sons from a previous marriage.
The NBA star also has a third son, three-year-old Xavier, who he had with a former flame while he and Union were broken up.