Ashely Graham is never one to shy away from speaking her truth. Though we’re living in the age of social media where filters blur out our every imperfection and our feeds are merely a highlight reel of the success and achievements of others, Graham is unapologetically swimming against the tide. Rather than conform, she’s paving a new path forward: one in which authenticity is championed above all else and we can not only embrace our flaws and those unique features that make us loveable, but also shift our attitude towards them so as to practice positive self-talk.
Now, the model is taking on snap back culture when it comes to the societal pressures placed on women to bounce back after pregnancy. In an open and honest message to fellow mothers, Graham revealed how her relationship with her own body has changed since the birth of her twins, who she welcomed in January of this year.
While Graham documented much of her pregnancy, she’s only now opening up about the trauma surrounding the birth which resulted in her losing litres of blood and being unable to leave home for two months. This triggered negative feelings towards her body that she struggled with. “Like so many women, what I went through with childbirth has reshaped my relationship with my body,” she explained to Glamour. “I say this knowing that I am the person who has been shouting from the rooftops to you all, ‘Love the skin you’re in.’ Yet for me, the births of all my three children threw a lot of that out of the window.”
Graham admits that she was “naive” as to what life, and her relationship with her body, would be like after giving birth. “I was plunged into the postpartum experience – the handbook that no one can give you,” she explained.
After welcoming her first son, Isaac, in 2019, Graham began to obsess over the 20 pounds that simply wouldn’t come off. These feelings resurfaced following the birth of her twins, as the model found herself repeating old patterns and worrying about the number on the scale. “The aftermath was deeply overwhelming,” she says. “I was a wreck, and when I saw myself in the mirror, I still felt like I looked pregnant.”
Adding to the issue was pressure from the modelling industry, which has long demanded women conform to unrealistic standards of beauty. For Graham, this external pressure to return to her pre-pregnancy size was jarring. “I work in an industry that expects me to return to work in a body that has ‘snapped back’ – a pressure that no woman, in any industry, desires to feel. I have always fought against unfair and unrealistic standards and yet, if I am being completely honest, here I was, expecting myself to snap back. And fast.”
In sharing her story, Graham has encouraged other mothers to join the conversation and voice their own struggles. It’s created a safe space and community where others can detail their own experience with snap back culture, something Graham now credits as helping her to speak more kindly to herself through affirmations as she looks to love her body once again. “I’ve learned it’s okay if the journey to love the skin you’re in is more complex than you could ever have imagined,” she said.
“Even now, if I’m completely honest, I go in waves. I am still not entirely comfortable in my body, no matter my own body positivity advocacy.”
As Graham expressed, “I am bold, I am brilliant, I am beautiful…we all are.”
Source @womenshealth.com.au: Read more at : womenalive.org