Ashley Graham Praising Her Postpartum Body Is the Energy We All Need
Ashley Graham stands in front of a bathroom mirror, one arm covering her breasts, her head tilted to one side as she appears to take in the full image of her postpartum body. It's a stunning image of postpartumhood when a body is still healing and vulnerable. The next photo in the carrousel is a close-up of her holding her belly scars and fat, followed by an image of her puckering her lips in a sassy pose while still nearly nude.
"Hi, new tummy," she writes in the caption. "We've been through a lot. Thank you."
And just like that, thousands of women and postpartum people take to the comments section to flood her with loving, kind words. Because while this is not a revolutionary post, we've certainly seen plenty of examples of body positivity on social media; the image is a beautiful, intimate look at how Graham approaches her body after sharing her pregnancy with her 17.7 million Instagram followers.
Graham has been modeling professionally since the age of 12 and has strutted on catwalks for many iconic fashion designers like Dolce & Gabbana, Michael Kors, and Tommy Hilfiger to name a few. But it was a photo in 2014 that landed her serious notoriety in the fashion history books. Graham was the first plus-sized model to be featured in the coveted Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue.
The famous mom of three has been documenting her pregnancy while simultaneously celebrating large bodies, giving her followers the empowering message and energy we all need when it comes to honoring and respecting our bodies and what they can do. The power of her candid, intimate post was not lost on her followers.
"This made me tear up—seven months postpartum here. Thank you for sharing," wrote fellow model @theericalauren.
"Your body did amazing things!!! I'm so happy you posted this!!!!" @sampagesix, a fellow plus-size model, chimed in.
But it wasn't just famous women adding to the chorus of cheers for Graham's post. Regular, ordinary netizens commented their appreciation too.
"Women are more than our tummies!" one user wrote. "Your journey is everything I look forward to," wrote another.
Graham has been sharing her pregnancy journey with gorgeous, up-close, and very personal images since her public pregnancy announcement in July 2021, when she posted this stunning image showing her standing in a grassy field, surrounded by misty hills and ethereal light.
Her caption read, "The past year has been full of tiny surprises, big griefs, familiar beginnings, and new stories. I'm just beginning to process and celebrate what this next chapter means for us."
Graham's announcement was met with plenty of loving congratulations, kicking off 40 weeks of raw glimpses at pregnancy in a body that rejects the tradition of thin normative ideals. Beauty is not limited to a singular size, and Graham masterfully illustrates that truth for everyone in her spellbinding images.
In August of 2021, Graham posted a series of three images that appear to be completely candid shots of her holding her child on her hip while talking on the phone. She is rocking a bikini that highlights her pregnant belly. If ever there was an example of how beautiful mom bodies are (hello, swimsuit season insecurities, looking at you!), this is it. And in a possible sign of changing attitudes about body sizes, the comment section for this particular image was more fascinated by the phone with a cord than by the fact that Graham is a plus-sized, pregnant woman in a bikini.
Graham doesn't just preach body positivity—how easy that can be for someone already so beautiful and successful, some might say. But she clearly surrounds herself with loving people who love her body for what it can do. Take this image of Graham standing fully nude and very pregnant. Her big, round belly is covered in stretch marks that create a swirling pattern. Does she shy away from it? Nope. She celebrates her silver lines with this lovely caption, "Justin says my stretch marks look like the tree of life."
Instagram user, @kierafrancesnightingale wrote, "Thank you @ashleygraham for normalizing stretch marks. You look stunning, mama. I got deep ones with both of my children, and I am now so self-conscious about my tummy. Thank you for showing stretch marks to be fierce and beautiful. You boosted this mama's confidence."
Instagram is often seen as a popularity contest of who has the most pristine lifestyle, so when a celebrity with a huge influence over millions of people decides to use the platform to push back against standardized beauty norms, it can make a huge difference in how others see themselves; especially people with marginalized bodies.
Many congratulations to Ashley Graham on the birth of her two babies, Malachi and Roman. We can't wait to see more of her honest, candid takes on postpartum healing.