Three years ago I interviewed Gabrielle Union about her New York Times bestseller We’re Going to Need More Wine, and that day will always be memorable to me because it was also the day I revealed my sexuality to my mother. At that time, my mother was not a fan of my lifestyle. Words were exchanged and we didn’t end the conversation on a good note. Fast forward three years later and we’re in a much better place with our relationship and she loves me unconditionally for who I am and continues to support me. This kind of love and support is something that Union and her husband Dwyane Wade are known for showing their children.

“We are all we’ve got,” Union said. Union added that that kind of love and support have to start at home, “to show our kids what it looks like and what they should be expecting from others.”

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As Union continues her journey with parenthood she holds this one fact near to her heart and that is that there is no one way to be a woman or a man and however you want to exist in this world is OK.

For Gabrielle Union, the road to parenthood ain’t been no crystal stair. but through many trials and tribulations, she welcomed her beautiful baby girl Kaavia into the world via surrogate and is now celebrating that blessing with her new children’s book Welcome to the Party.

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Illustration for article titled Gabrielle Union on Parenting: Love and Support Have to Start In The Home
Illustration: Lede Company

“I wanted to celebrate those informal bonds that people in marginalized communities have,” says Union. Her children’s book highlights the different journeys every family embarks on.

“I wanted this to be a love letter to all kinds of families, and I wanted to give this next generation literature that allows them to have the conversation that not all your playmates and classmates are going to have the same origin story. Our origin stories don’t have to match to be amazing.”

Union believes that we do our children a disservice by trying to stick them in bubbles under the guise of protection. For Union, protection is to “say that I see and acknowledge your pain and will put a bandaid on it.” The idea of protection isn’t meant to shield you from the world, but to open you up to its possibilities and allow you space to be free. Union learned a lesson about freedom as a black woman that she wished she knew sooner and that was the concept means doing “anything and everything” she wants that makes her soul sing.

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It is no secret that Union is an intentional woman and she carried that characteristic through her book’s development. She was very clear that she wanted a “black female editor and black female illustrator” to be part of this journey. Union says these were all nonnegotiables and stood firm in her stance. During production she felt this book had the potential to be a success and wanted black women to reap those benefits.

During her journey many have had their fair share of opinions on how she has chosen to live her life and one common question seems to always be at the tip of everyone’s unsolicited tongues “why do you always share so much of Kaavia?” And for Union the answer is clear, “when you share so much of your pain, then it’s ok to share some of your joy,” and that’s what Kaavia represents to the Union-Wade family.

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Welcome to the Party can be purchased here.

Chief Beyoncé Content Officer @ TheRoot. I aspire to be as steadfast & unmovable as Solange's wig. Former President of Hogwart's Black Student Union.

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