Ashley Graham: ‘I knew immediately I was going to be a great mom’

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Ashley Graham covers the latest issue of Harper’s Bazaar UK. The editorial was shot by her husband Justin Ervin, on her mom’s Nebraska ranch. Ashley, her mom, her baby and Justin were all in New York at the start of the pandemic, and they decided to drive across the country to stick out the pandemic in Ashley’s hometown. The photos are rather gorgeous – her husband is a great photographer, and she looks so relaxed. She posed for most of the photos with her son Isaac. Most of the interview is about her pregnancy, childbirth and baby too – you can read the full piece here. Some highlights:

When she found out she was pregnant: “I was so excited. I knew immediately I was going to be a great mom.” But the poster girl for body positivity finds it unexpectedly hard to cope with the changes of her own body. “That was the wildest part. I thought, ‘What about the things I’ve told myself? What about the affirmations I’ve gone through?’ None of these mattered because my body was changing so rapidly. It really took me some time to figure it out mentally, because it was like there was an alien taking over my body.” She thinks she has ‘pre-natal depression’. “When you go from laughing to crying in 30 seconds, you do wonder if you are OK. Unbeknown to me, that’s pregnancy.

She had a home birth in a birthing pool with a doula & two midwives: “Justin wanted to be as helpful as possible, and the midwife told him: there’s nothing you can do, nothing. There’s a photo of him rubbing my arm as I’m hanging over the edge of the pool, gazing into the eyes of the midwife, who’s keeping me focused and helping me count. You can tell there’s a tear running down his face – it was agonising for him to see me in so much pain and not to be able to do anything about it.” In the end, Justin decides to make dinner in case Graham is hungry after giving birth. “I was in the pool, and I looked over to see him in the kitchen cutting up meat and adding seasoning, because it was all he could do…”

Spending afternoons in Nebraska with baby Isaac: “He’s such an outside baby – he likes the grass, he likes the sun.” Once a week, she and Justin go on a ‘date night’. “All we’re doing is driving to the park, watching the sunset, having a kiss in the car. It’s the simplest thing, but it’s a game-changer.”

The photoshoot: “I kept it easy-breezy, I let my hair air-dry and I didn’t even wear mascara, because I’m the kind of girl who runs around like this. I also did the styling and helped to art-direct.” Meanwhile, Justin is the photographer, cinematographer, art director and fashion assistant. “Everyone knew their role, but man, it was a lot of work.”

Motherhood: “I actually feel really good. I don’t know what it is – mother-resilience? I’ve learnt that I can function without sleep – I didn’t know that.”

[From Harper’s Bazaar]

The idea of giving birth upsets me in general, but giving birth in a birthing pool in a Brooklyn apartment with a doula and two midwives? Lord. I could NOT. She also talks about how her water broke while she was doing yoga and a lot about how much pain she was in. Again, why not take the drugs?!? I’ll stop with this, not because I know people will yell at me, but because I need to stop visualizing all of this stuff because I feel sick to my stomach. And I kind of think pre-natal depression is a thing too – pregnancy hormones are very real, just the same as the postpartum hormones/crash.

Cover & IG courtesy of Harper’s Bazaar UK.

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14 Responses to “Ashley Graham: ‘I knew immediately I was going to be a great mom’”

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  1. Dani says:

    The whole birthing experience is awful (and I’ve done it twice!). I wanted one of those all natural births too until I almost died the first time but good for her! I wish I was that confident when I had my kids.

  2. LA says:

    My second birth was natural. I had had some friends and family have bad experiences with epidurals, so wanted to give it a shot. I won’t lie. I changed my mothereffing mind when active labor began in earnest. But my little 5.5 pounder (who is nine today, as it happens) was coming too fast for me to get the meds once I wanted them. So, natural it was. It was crazy painful and I never had a third because of it. But if I’d gotten pregnant again by oops, I’d have gone natural again, tbh.

    • Victoria says:

      Aw I had a similar experience – first one went fine, epidural, everything was great. Second one, all hell broke loose. Four hours from start to finish, no epidural bc I was writhing in pain too much, water broke all over my husband (ha!). That one’s been a little terror ever since (but he’s also my snuggle baby).

    • Gutterflower says:

      Same! My first (now 12) I had an epi, took a few hours. My second (now 9) they broke my water and he was there 30 hellish minutes later with no time for meds. A nurse delivered him because it was so sudden. My third (now 3) I got an epi but it only worked on one side.

  3. Tootsie McJingle says:

    As a mom I wish I had her confidence. As the mom to an almost six year old and an almost five year old, I rarely think to myself “I am SUCH a good mom”. It’s not even that I think I’m a bad mom. It’s just with social media, seeing what everyone else is doing with their kids and wondering to myself “Why didn’t I do that with my kids? Look at how much better of a mom she is!”, it’s hard to feel like a good mom even if someone else tells you that you are. You often think of all the things you did wrong before all the things you did right.

    • AMA1977 says:

      My mom told me once that if you’re worried you’re not a good mom, you probably are, because worrying about it shows that you are aware and focused on it. I remind myself of that often when I worry that I’m not so great. Also, SM is the devil. Nobody shows an accurate representation of their life. All of the moms showing off cute kids alongside crafts or picnics or baked good or whatever also lose their patience, and sometimes yell and/or get frustrated, and lock themselves in the bathroom for a minute to catch their breath (I know it’s not just me!) Give yourself a break; being a mom is hard sometimes. <3

    • MerlinsMom1018 says:

      @Tootsie McJingle.
      AMA is absolutely right. SM is indeed the devil. Here’s my take. If your kids are happy, healthy and safe then who cares what other Moms do? Obviously I don’t know you but it’s probably safe to say that you do your best, you make sure they’re fed and clothed and you make sure they have what they need and are loved and know it on the daily
      And who knows? Maybe there’s Mom’s out there looking at how you are with your kids and thinking they wish they could be a great Mom like you.
      Hang in there. I bet you’re doing much better than you give yourself credit for

  4. Sam the Pink says:

    I’ve had 4 natural births. They varied WILDLY in terms of pain, process and recovery. I think part of it also depends on who you have around you. If you have people telling you you’re nuts for not using drugs, that can change your perception. I think it was easier for me because I always knew that natural birth was something i wanted to attempt.

    Yes, it hurts. The pain can vary. My first two were painful, but there was never a point where I felt like “this was a mistake.” Felt that way with the third though (because I had back labor). I had a midwife that was associated with the birth center (I was not at home) and my CS Practitioner/doula. For me, the sensations that went along WITH labor were more unpleasant than the contractions. Like, I SWEAT through labor. I sweat buckets. That sucked a lot more than contractions. She is totally right about the husband though – mine was the same. He felt useless.

  5. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    I let my kids do the talking. And if, by chance, you are a good mom, when your kids become teens and then adults, rest assured, they’ll let you know lol. And from where I sit (middle age), for all my self sabotage and thinking I was a terrible mom at times, they think I hung the moon. That’s all I’ll ever need.

  6. Scarlett says:

    Yeah, I knew all my life that I was going to be a great mom too.
    Then I had two kids who were polar opposites of each other, and had me and the hubby questioning every single parenting rule we knew. My kids are both over 20 and I am still second guessing so many things I said/did. I like to think I did my best but I wonder sometimes if that’s enough.
    Side eyeing the heck out of AG’s quote, let’s talk in a few years after multiple kids.

    • CuriousCole says:

      It is a slightly odd quote, especially for a very new mom, but I’m looking at it as her empowering herself. Also – I am confident that my decision to wait until mid-late 30s to have kids is going to result in me being a better, more mellow mom than if I’d started in my mid 20s, I wonder if she meant it that way?

  7. jferber says:

    I have always loved her for many reasons. She is awesome and breathtakingly beautiful. That face is perfection! Congrats to her and her fam on their new baby. God, I really needed to hear some positive, nice news now. We all do. Vote in November!

  8. CherryL says:

    She’s one of those annoying people who only talk about being a mom.

  9. Bread and Circuses says:

    My cousin gave birth in a baby pool, and my main memory is her husband went into the bedroom and lied to her that the midwife had said it was time to get in the pool because he knew she wouldn’t move off the bed if she didn’t get up now.

    (It was her first baby, but not his; he had a better idea of how things were gonna go in terms of pain/motivation to walk.)