If you’re an Ashley Graham fan, you’ll know that she is not one to shy away from the camera. As a plus-size model and body activist who embraces her curves (as should we all), Graham surprised some viewers this morning by tearfully revealing that she was hesitant to post a nude pregnancy photo of herself back in August.
“I had just announced that I was pregnant, and I thought then I was gonna feel good, and I didn’t,” Graham tearfully admitted on her Fearless show with guest Taylor Hoit, a mother of four. Ultimately, Graham received an outpouring of love when she posted the shot to Instagram, revealing her stretch marks. Still, running through her mind were feelings of doubt.
“I just felt terrible. That morning actually, I really thought to myself, ‘Get it together, Ashley. There are other women out there who are going through the same thing as you. Why don’t you have a dialogue with them? This is a new body that I’m walking into. Why don’t I just put myself out there with this new body?’” she tells Hoit.
Any pregnant person can relate to these feelings of loneliness and isolation. Thankfully, Graham started to approach her pregnancy differently and discovered what she described to Hoit as “a whole new world of body confidence.”
Hoit, who recently gave birth to twins, told Graham that she, too, struggled with body confidence. Like many other followers who saw Graham’s au naturel pregnancy post, Hoit was so deeply inspired that she posted her own postpartum photo.
By coming together to speak openly about their pregnancy and postpartum struggles, these two women are working to change the dialogue within the motherhood community — and to encourage pregnant and postpartum people everywhere to embrace their bodies’ changes.
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This body has grown four children. This same body gave birth to two of those children 10 weeks ago and somehow I find myself struggling to accept this body as if it didn't just give birth. In my head it’s as if a belly that took 9 months to grow should just flatten out and disappear overnight. It did in my other pregnancies, why couldn’t my belly do the same now? The nerve this 10 weeks postpartum body has. I tell other women how special and strong their own bodies are but STILL, I find myself struggling to love and accept myself in those same beautiful ways. It is without a doubt, absolute nonsense. Yesterday I was in the shower and my adorable partner comes in to take a quick peek. He flirts with me in a way that makes me think (that he must think) I’m someone else standing there. I immediately try to hide my body and begin to cry from the embarrassment at what he just saw. Me. I think the thing is, is that he does think I’m someone else. Someone that I’m not familiar with (a stranger really). And that in itself is just nonsense. In his own words, he says I’m intelligent, he thinks I’m hilarious, that I have the biggest heart, am an amazing mother, extremely silly, okay at making coffee, full of wild ideas and yes, BEAUTIFUL 💖 If you were to ask me to create a list of the things I think I am OR even good at, I would hesitate. So after I dried my eyes it got me thinking that there must be other women who struggle the same as I do. In fact, I know there is. Why can’t we love ourselves? Why can’t we celebrate our warrior bodies? And also, why is our physical appearance so damn important? It is without a doubt, absolute nonsense. I want to learn to love myself in all the ways I give love to other people. I want to believe in the love that other people give me. I want to take the advice I give my daughters and run with it. I want to find who I am and be proud of that girl. We go through so many changes when becoming a Mother and nobody really prepares you for that. I’m learning that everything takes time. So here I am…telling you, that I AM HERE FOR US as we try to find the ways back to ourselves 💕 #thestripesofmotherhood
But wait, this little mom-meetup gets even better: When the show was about to wrap up, Hoit’s boyfriend got down on one knee and proposed to her. And Ashley, bless her soul, congratulated the happily engaged couple by giving them $10,000. Pretty sweet.