Every single time I catch a peek of Ashley Graham’s Instagram, I drool. She is gorgeous, and what makes her even more attractive is how much she loves her own body. I have a serious girl crush on her (and my wife knows all about it so it’s all good).
Ashley recently announced her second pregnancy with her husband Justin Ervin, and since then, she’s posted a few photos of her growing belly. I am still drooling, not only because she’s even more gorgeous when she’s pregnant, and still maintains a body-positive outlook, but now I want to be pregnant again. Thanks, Ashley!
My wife, however, is not cool with the possibility of expanding our family again.
I can understand why. The last time we tried to expand our family, we got two for the price of one: We were blessed with twins. Now that they’re six years old, I am having some baby fever. Ashley’s pregnancy posts (and the ones she posts of her adorable son) give me all the feels. Of course, everybody knows that social media is just a highlight reel, and my wife has a valid reason for pointing out that having another baby (or babies!) might not be the best idea.
I had a fabulous pregnancy until week 32 when I was diagnosed with preeclampsia. Funnily enough, I had no idea there was even a problem until a routine OB check-up went way wrong, real fast. With 60% of Black moms-to-be diagnosed with the potentially fatal condition compared to white moms, I was incredibly naive about how serious this was.
I had none of the symptoms, at least none that I was aware of. Some of the physical signs of preeclampsia include changes in vision, severe headaches, and upper abdominal pain above the rib cage — which, by the way, I had all of the time since I had two babies fighting for space in my uterus. Other symptoms include sudden weight gain in the face and legs, decreased output of urine, and nausea and vomiting — also, not easily attributed to something as serious as preeclampsia when you’re pregnant. The only true indicator that something was “off” happened as I lay hooked up to fetal monitors, one for Baby A and one for Baby B. The doctor took my blood pressure and found that it was dangerously high. It was so high that she immediately sent me to the hospital I’d deliver in, straight to the labor and delivery floor, for further testing.
I’ll spare you the details of my five-day hospital stay while dealing with preeclampsia; suffice it to say that after that, I got my ass in gear and stayed still. The girls were delivered (thankfully both healthy) on their scheduled due date at 36 weeks. Granted, none of this has anything to do with Ashley Graham, but that was my only pregnancy. I miss being pregnant — especially when I see her beautiful maternity photos. Even though I had a serious health issue, nothing compares to the feeling of carrying a baby inside of you, while also carrying the excitement and innate fear that comes with pregnancy.
Other than her hotness, Ashley Graham’s pregnancy photos remind me of the time in my life when I felt unequivocally beautiful. I did not hate my body. I did not look at my thighs and say “why me,” or complain about how my butt looked in spandex. I gave my body the love it deserved for 36 weeks. It worked hard to keep our babies safe. From the brain cells it took to push away the brain fog, to the swollen calves, to my uterus, every single part of my body worked for me as best it could, and I felt beautiful the entire time — tired, but beautiful.
Maybe my wife is right. I should be grateful we don’t need to buy anymore diapers or lug around car seats or stuff a double stroller into the trunk of our car. These things should make me happy, but I miss them. I miss the multiple pacifiers in every bag I own (now I have multiple face masks in every bag I own). I miss breastfeeding. The tiny clothes. I miss milestones too, like their first steps, a video I watch at least once a month. And I miss the times we all celebrated little things like their first tooth or their transition to solid foods.
Maybe the truth is that Ashley Graham’s pregnancy photos remind me of a time when I felt full of joy, of excitement, of self-love, with two babies in tow. I want to feel that way again. To hold my baby for the first time. I want to smell all the smells that babies naturally exude. I want to relish in the awe of it all.
Even with all of the insanity that comes along with having twins, and now having six-year-old twin girls in my house, my wife and I are their role models. We are the ones who teach them about what it means to love their bodies. To nourish it with both food and positive words. To forgive it and strengthen it, to love it. And judging by her own body confidence, I’m sure that’s one area where Ashley Graham and I are similar.
For now, I will continue to live through Ashley’s IG page for all of her second pregnancy updates. That has to be okay because my wife will never give the green light to add another baby to our (very small) house. Ashley’s IG page and her posts about self-love will be where I return when I need a little reminder that even when I am not pregnant, I am still beautiful. Baby or no baby for us, what I know for sure is that my crush on Ashley Graham will remain for the foreseeable future. Let’s hope my baby fever doesn’t stick around for that long.
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