Ashley Graham Talks About the Traumatic Birth of Her Twins

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Model and mom-of-three Ashley Graham has never shied away from being totally authentic. It’s a reason she has millions of fans. But in a recent essay she penned for Glamour, Graham shares her harrowing birth story with her twins, and how it’s taken longer than expected to get back to loving her body.

Graham has been a champion of body advocacy for years. She’s also human, and after the birth of her twins, Graham said it’s been a slow journey back to feeling like herself. Part of it, she said, comes after a home birth that didn’t go quite as expected.  “The night I gave birth to the twins, I hemorrhaged,” she wrote.

Graham said her first son, Malachi, was born right as her midwives were arriving. Hours later, Roman was born in her apartment bathtub. Though her sons were healthy and safe, Graham said what happened next shook her to the core.

“The next thing you know, I looked at my midwife and I said, ‘I don’t feel good. I think I need to lay down,’ and I blacked out,” she explained. “All I can remember is feeling a light touch on my cheek, which I found out later was actually somebody smacking the crap out of my cheek, someone holding my hand, my husband Justin in my ear, praying, and someone jabbing me with a needle in my arm. And I remember seeing darkness and what seemed like stars.”

Graham said she came to sometime later and was shocked by what she saw. “I looked around the room, saw blood literally everywhere, and let out this deep, visceral cry,” she wrote, “an emotional release from the chaos I had just experienced.”

Graham said during her recovery at home, she realized she wouldn’t be “bouncing back” to work or in her skin for much longer than she’d planned. “I lay on that bed for four straight days. I couldn’t walk for a week. And I didn’t leave my house for nearly two months,” she said.

Graham said the weight gain, stretch marks, and slower pace caused her to doubt her relationship with her body. “Like so many women, what I went through with childbirth has reshaped my relationship with my body—and 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,'” she explained. “Yet for me, the births of all my three children threw a lot of that out of the window.”

She was also vulnerable about her own reality while helping other women. “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,” she said.

At the end of the end, Graham said she’s learned valuable lessons through her experience: “I want to continue to create spaces for women to feel fearless and beautiful and vulnerable, all at the same time.”

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