Gabrielle Union just welcomed her daughter, Kaavia James, in November, after suffering several miscarriages. She’s been posting adorable photos of Kaavia to Instagram. Like most famous moms, Gabrielle has of course had her share of mommy shamers,many of whom she’s responded to. Where does she draw the strength to take these folks on? It’s easy, Gabrielle loves herself.
Gabrielle Union is learning how to live her best life without apology.
The actress — who welcomed her now 3-month-old daughter Kaavia James with husband Dwyane Wade, 37, via surrogate on Nov. 7 — is often candid (and hilarious) when it comes to parenthood, but being so open has a downside.
Ever since her daughter’s birth, Union has taken flak on social media for everything from not wearing what some consider “age-appropriate” clothing to kissing her baby on the mouth.
“I had to hit the mommy shamers day one,” Union, 46, tells PEOPLE in this week’s issue, on newsstands Friday. “I’m going to do it my way. I’m sure I’m going to make all kinds of mistakes and when I ask for help, which I will, I would love to hear all y’all’s advice. Everybody has been on my journey of pain and anguish and trauma, and I owe it to myself to enjoy every second of my joy.”
“If you’ve been rocking with me, in my misery and my pain and my failures, I want you to enjoy my joys,” she says. “If you can’t just sit back and enjoy the miracles without offering every piece of advice Nana ever gave you, it’s okay to unfollow. It’s okay to just enjoy the ride.”
By standing up for herself online, Union wants to show people that they can live their best lives on their own terms and have agency over their body and choices.
“I want to be able to make whatever choice I want to make and not have to answer to anybody but me,” she says. “As long as I feel good, as long as I feel confident, screw you. Look in the mirror and fix your own life. [I want to] give people that example of somebody who refuses to let anyone dictate what the hell I do or don’t do or say or don’t say.”
She adds, “It’s okay to rock with yourself. I’m my favorite person on the planet. I enjoy my own company. I find that people who don’t enjoy their own company tend to comment the most on other people’s lives — take your life back. The world doesn’t end when you do what the hell you want.”
I wouldn’t say I am my favorite person, but I do enjoy my own company. Especially when I’m complaining because I almost always agree with myself. I also don’t let others determine what I do. I do try and listen to advice and have made positive parenting changes. However, the people offering me advice are very different than the trolls and commenters Gabrielle is referring to. She’s listening, though. When she was hit with all the criticism about kissing her baby on the mouth, she responded, “Hey guys I appreciate all the concern about kisses on the mouth and labored breathing, I am blessed enough to have a nurse here with us while at work.” This is how I’ve come to handle it too. I also get a second opinion. Sometimes people who give advice are well-intended. And sometimes they’re right. And if they aren’t right? Then I sit alone in a room and bitch about them while agreeing with myself.
Photo credit: WENN Photos