If, like us, you can never have enough Ashley Graham or Kristen Bell, the August digital issue of Elle is quite a gift — especially for parents. For the issue, Bell interviewed new mom Graham, though it reads more like a conversation between two superheroes whose mission is to banish mom-shaming from the universe.
“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,” Graham said. “I’m always reminded that our bodies were built to do this. It’s such a beautiful thing to be able to give birth, but I didn’t realize it until afterward. … At first [my body’s changes] 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.’”
Bell couldn’t agree more. “That is exactly what I think when I look down at my body. I’m like, ‘Every mark on me now, every shape that has changed since I had kids, that’s evidence of the fact that I am a superhero.’ I hope women look down at their bodies and feel the same way.”
The interview must have taken place before a few weeks ago, when Graham posted to Instagram that she and husband Justin Ervin had just sleep-trained baby Isaac. In her conversation with Bell, she seemed fine without doing so. She also updated Bell on the fact that she is still breastfeeding and is finally getting the hang of diapers. Bell reassured her that whatever their progress on these parenting milestones, she had zero judgment for her friend.
“What bonds us is not how we’re parenting, it’s that we are parenting,” Bell said. “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.”
Holy crap, we need pillows and motivational posters and engraved plaques with that hung everywhere. And that’s not just a thing evil mom-shamers of the internet need to know. Even Graham admitted that she’s sometimes tempted to give others advice they didn’t ask for.
“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 mommy-shaming on social media is out of control.”
Let’s remind everyone of this wisdom one more time when they click over to the full Elle interview and read about how Bell lets her daughters play with their makeup and Graham is working toward racial justice. Both moms are doing stellar jobs at raising their kids so far, and, we’ll just assume, so are you.
Isaac may be a little too young for this talk, but Graham can look up to these celebrity parents who teach their kids about racism.