“I Felt Like a Baby-Making Machine.” Model Talks Honestly About Maternity and Says We Should Love Our Bodies
On Instagram and in magazines, pregnancy and maternity look like one of the most amazing periods in women’s lives. But many of us are ashamed to talk about the unpleasant things women have to go through when they are expecting or breastfeeding a baby. Model Ashley Graham decided to break this unwritten law and talk about the “dark side” of being a mother on her social media.
We at CHEERY have looked through Ashley’s Twitter and Instagram accounts and realized that we should love our bodies no matter their size or age. And in the bonus section, you will find photos of the everyday parenting life of another celebrity couple.
The model has published photos without filters online many times. For example, in 2017, during her vacation in the Philippines, she shared photos of the cellulite on her hips and suggested that her subscribers should not worry about the imperfections of the body.
The same happened when she was pregnant. Ashley openly talked about how her body was changing, how much weight she was gaining, and how her skin was stretching.
In 2019, when Ashley was expecting her first child, she gained 50 lbs. But she was okay with that. More than that, she said that she felt great and stayed just as active and flexible as she had before. She said that being pregnant was not a reason for her to stop working out, doing yoga, or having massages.
The model decided she would give birth at home. Everything went well: 6 hours after the contractions started, she gave birth to Isaac. It felt like a magical moment.
But it was only after giving birth that the true life of a young mother started — from leaking breast milk to being unable to have a good night’s sleep.
Like all moms, Ashley had to change diapers regularly. She once had to do it right where the baby pooped — in the middle of the store. The model put a changing mat on the floor and changed the diaper.
There’s no way to explain to a baby that their mother can’t feed them at a certain moment. So, the model often had to make a choice: either take her crying son home or feed him in a public place, like a café or a beach. She chose the latter.
Also, Ashley wasn’t afraid to share that mothers have to use disposable underwear after birth.
Ashley said on her page, “Raise your hand if you didn’t know you’d be changing your own diapers too. No one talks about the recovery and healing (yes, even the messy parts) new moms go through. I wanted to show you guys that it’s not all rainbows and butterflies! It’s unbelievable the obstacles we still face talking about what women really go through.”
Later, Ashley and her husband Justin decided to try for another baby and she got pregnant with twins. This time, her body went through much bigger changes. At 30 weeks, the stretch marks started to appear, and Ashley said she wasn’t feeling like a runway star, but more like a baby-making machine.
The stretch marks could be seen from under her panties, and then they spread to her belly button. At first, Ashley was worried she wouldn’t be able to be in underwear commercials, but then she decided to post a photo of her belly on her Instagram page.
At the beginning of January 2022, she gave birth to twin boys. This time, it could have ended in tragedy. In an interview, the model said she spent 4 days lying still and she couldn’t even move.
Everything was okay at the beginning. The process took just under 4 hours and Ashley was with professionals. But at some point, the model lost consciousness and woke up from a light touch on her cheek which, as she found out later, was actually a smack to her face.
It turned out that Ashley could have died. She later told the journalists she had seen darkness and something that looked like stars.
Three and a half months later, the model started working again. For a start, she took part in quite a revealing commercial for corrective underwear.
Prior to that, Ashley had to convince herself that she was still beautiful, even though she looked a bit different. The model decided that she was thankful to her body for the tremendous work it did creating and giving birth to children.
Ashley’s mother helped her accept her new body. Once, when the model was putting lotion on her stretch marks, her mother came up to her and asked her not to worry about her skin condition. She even showed Ashley her own old stretch marks and reminded her how important it was to love herself and not worry about the changes.
Ashley wrote on her Instagram, “My mom was my superhero— and she still is. Her strength, confidence, and encouragement turned me into the woman I am today.”
At the end of May 2022, Ashley returned to the red carpet for the first time for the amfAR Gala, a charity event. She chose a very bright and tight outfit to highlight her feminine silhouette, a beautiful mermaid dress.
Bonus: Parenting days of Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and Jason Statham
Following Ashley Graham’s example, supermodel Rosie Huntington-Whiteley decided to share images of herself as a mother. On her Instagram page, she posted photos taken during the trip to the Cannes Festival with Jason Statham. In the first picture, she’s feeding her baby daughter Isabella, and in the second one, Jason is carrying their daughter to the plane.
Do you have children? Do you remember how you felt during pregnancy and the first months?