Less than a week after her exciting pregnancy announcement, Ashley Graham is making headlines once again. The model took to Instagram to share a partially nude photo of herself and her stretch marks. The close-up snapshot shows an unfiltered look at her changing body with the caption “same, same, but a little different.”
In addition to the emotional changes you experience during pregnancy, there are a lot of physical changes to adjust to as well. It’s a period when your body seems like a complete stranger to you, and learning to love the new version of yourself isn’t always easy. You’re gassy, peeing all the time, have a swollen vagina—the list body changes during pregnancy goes on and on—but practicing self-love is super-important. Graham has been an advocate for body positivity for several years, so the candid post seems fitting for the model.
“Thank you for making me proud of my body,” writes one woman.
“Thank you for this! I see me here,” another note says.
“I love my tiger stripes, my warrior body,” one message reads.
Learning to love the skin you’re in during pregnancy not only affects your well-being day-to-day, but it may be good for you and baby in the long run too. Researchers say by assessing a woman’s relationship with her body during pregnancy, it can help predict how well the mother might bond with her baby and her longer-term emotional wellbeing. “Women are under constant pressure about their appearance, and during pregnancy and after birth is no exception,” says Catherine Preston, BSc, an expert in body image from the University of York’s Department of Psychology. “It is important therefore that pregnancy care is not just about the physical health of the mother and the health of the unborn child, but also about women’s emotional wellbeing, which can give us a lot of important information about how they might react to being a new mom in the longer-term.”
Graham’s message serves up a much-needed slice of reality, and will hopefully show moms and moms-to-be that they aren’t alone in their journeys.