Ashley Graham Opens Up About Her New Post-Baby Body And Putting An End To Mum-Shaming

"Keep your trap shut and just let that mother figure it out"

Only weeks before the global pandemic shut down the world, Ashley Graham gave birth to her first child, Isaac. Despite the utter joy it is to bring a child into the world, the process seemed to be very different to what Graham expected.

Speaking to Kristen Bell for ELLE U.S., Graham opened up about everything from birth, motherhood and what she’s learned from parenthood.

“First of all, I had no idea it was going to hurt that bad,” she revealed when referring to her labour. “Let me just go there for a second: Every mother talks about, ‘Oh yeah, it’s painful.’ Whether they got an epidural or not, or a C-section, whatever happened, they’re like, ‘Yeah, it hurt.’ And they say it kind of calmly like that. They don’t go into the astronomical pain that you go through, especially if you choose to go natural. So there’s that.”

Having always been an open book when it comes to body positivity, her recent experience with pregnancy and her postpartum body has been nothing but inspiring. While she has openly spoken about her ‘new body’ with People, she dived into the topic further with Bell. 

“When I look at my new stretch marks and the changes that my body went through, it reminds me that, as women, we’re all superheroes. I’m always reminded that our bodies were built to do this,” she told Bell.

“It’s such a beautiful thing to be able to give birth, but I didn’t realise it until afterwards. […] Before I was even pregnant, that was always my hope for women in general, that they could learn to continue to love their bodies through the changes and the ups and downs,” she said.

“And then, when I got pregnant, I had to reimagine my relationship with my body with this creature inside me taking over. I was gaining weight so rapidly. […] At first, it felt devastating, and then when I met Isaac, I said, ‘No, this is exactly what every woman has talked about for ages. This is not just a battle wound. This is something that has changed my life forever, and I’m going to celebrate my new body.'”

Graham went onto address how her mindset, when it comes to parenting styles, has been questioned but insisted that allowing each parent to find their own way with their children is all any new parent should know.

“Everybody has an opinion [on parenting], right? But I just kind of did what I wanted to do,” Graham said. “Isaac is not sleep-trained, but he only wakes up maybe once or twice in the night, max. I feel 100 percent rested, so it’s not like I’m living in agony [every day] like, ‘He didn’t sleep last night.’ We’re walking into month [seven], and he’s screaming at the top of his lungs. He thinks it’s so fun to be louder than Mom and Dad.”

Regarding the controversial ‘mum-shaming’ and unsolicited parenting advice, she went onto add: “I’ve got a couple of family members who are pregnant, and my instinct is to say, ‘Oh, do this, do that.’ But I stop myself every time, because I remember how I felt when everybody told me what to do and sent me their unsolicited advice and their lists.”

“If there’s a question to be asked, ask it. But other than that, keep your trap shut and just let that mother figure it out. The mummy-shaming on social media is out of control.”

From there, Bell agreed and noted: “What bonds us is not how we’re parenting, it’s that we are parenting. If what’s happening in your household is working for you, then you don’t need to receive any advice on how to change it. That’s confident mothering.”

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