Ashley Graham - who gave birth to son, Issac, in January - has spoke candidly about pregnancy and labour in a new interview.
The 32-year-old shared intimate details of her experiences of being a new mum, likening pregnancy to an “alien taking over my body”.
The model, who believed she suffered from pre-natal depression, shared her story in a recent issue of Harper’s Bazaar.
“When you go from laughing to crying in 30 seconds, you do wonder if you are OK. Unbeknown to me, that’s pregnancy.”
In an unusual move, Graham's husband, the cinematographer Justin Ervin, had to take her photos for the magazine because of the coronavirus pandemic.
In one of the images, Graham is pictured breastfeeding her son, Issac, amid the rolling grassland.
Graham shared her pregnancy openly on social media, which included an introduction to Issac a few days after he was born.
She has also been very open about the realities of motherhood since, covering everything from stretch marks to breastfeeding for her 10.9 million followers.
Despite her successful online persona, Graham admitted that one of the best things she did was to widen her mum-friend circle in real life.
“One of the best things I did for myself was to make pregnant friends, and then I realised I wasn’t alone, I was normal, and that calmed me down. I started to enjoy being pregnant in my third trimester,” she said.
Graham, who opted for a home birth, also talks about the details of her labour.
The model’s waters broke after going into labour at a yoga class: “It was the first really big contraction. I started crying, and I was like, wow, game on.”
She woke up at 7am with contractions but decided to go to her yoga class, enjoy brunch and have a pedicure during the day to keep her routine as normal as possible.
Graham was able to have the home birth she planned and went on to campaign against New York’s coronavirus protocol that was forcing women to give birth alone.
“If I hadn’t had my midwives or even Justin in the room, the whole experience would have been a very different one for me,” she shared.
Although having Ervin there was so important to Graham, she admitted that there was “nothing he could do”.
“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, her husband decided to go into the kitchen and make them some food, not knowing what else to do.
“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...”
Since giving birth, Graham has openly shared her pre and post birth experiences with the world. In one photo, captioned “same me. few new stories” she shares a photo of her post-birth body with stretch marks on her stomach.
She also shared candid parts of new motherhood, including what she described as a “diaper blow up” while out and about, something many new mums will relate to.
“First diaper blow up while running errands with no restroom in sight! Thank God I remembered to put the changing mat in the diaper bag!!!”