The model mom of three has the simplest method to bring herself back to appreciating her postpartum body during stressful moments.
Ashley Graham is currently doing all the things. The newly minted mom of three has returned to work after the January arrival of twin boys Malachi and Roman, whom she’s raising with her husband, Justin Ervin, along with the couple’s eldest son, two-year-old Isaac. Graham knows all too well the struggles of feeling like she’s stretched pretty thin, so you’d be wise to take her advice on how to return to your body during stressful moments. Luckily, her tried-and-true method is free, can be done in a matter of minutes, and requires nothing but a mindful moment for yourself.
Graham has always been open about her relationship with her body, as a longtime advocate for self-love and being kinder to ourselves, no matter where we might be in our individual journeys. She’s been candid about the traumatic birth experience she faced with her twins and how she’s embraced so much change — not just physically, but emotionally — since welcoming her eldest son in 2020 and experiencing a miscarriage before getting pregnant with her twins in 2021.
The 34-year-old model recently teamed up with Knix on an expansive lingerie collection designed to help anyone feel sexy in the skin they’re in — a motto that has undoubtedly guided Graham’s modeling career in more ways than one. And while that’s all well and good, any mom can attest to feeling like a foreign entity in their body, especially during pregnancy, and in the months (hell, years) postpartum.
So what’s Graham’s go-to method for combating negative thoughts and insecurity? Affirmations, which, she shares with Scary Mommy, are mostly messages of self-love when she’s simply not feeling herself. “To get out of my own head, I give myself affirmations: ‘I am bold, I am brilliant, I am beautiful,’” she tells Scary Mommy. “Sometimes, no matter how hard you try to reframe negative thoughts, they still affect you in waves, but you just have to keep reminding yourself of your strength and beauty.” Pro tip if you’ve never tried affirmations: Choose a message that resonates with you. Say it aloud to yourself in the mirror, or record a voice note to listen to whenever you need a bit of a boost. You can also keep it as a sticky note in a space where you’ll see it often.
"When I look at my new stretch marks and the changes that my body went through, it reminds me that, as women, we're all superheroes,” she told People. “I'm always reminded that our bodies were built to do this. It's such a beautiful thing to be able to give birth, but I didn't realize it until afterward...Before I was even pregnant, that was always my hope for women in general, that they could learn to continue to love their bodies through the changes and the ups and downs."
She also acknowledges that healing — from any situation, but especially birth and/or welcoming a new baby — is in no way linear. “No woman’s journey through the postpartum phase is the same, but I will say that it’s OK if your journey of self-love and acceptance comes and goes in waves. It’s important to have a great support system around you as well,” she says.
Graham has used her work in fashion, and her platform on social media, to help support and elevate those who haven’t traditionally been seen or heard by mainstream brands. To wit, her line with Knix includes size-inclusive lingerie looks (4XL to XS, with bra sizes up to 44F). “I have always been a voice in the body-positivity space, an advocate for all kinds of bodies, and I hope I can use my platform to bring the same messaging forward for pregnant and post-birth bodies,” she says. “As a body activist and as someone who supports all shapes and sizes, this campaign could not have been more perfect. All bodies are beautiful, and we need to celebrate that!”
Graham hopes that guiding force will echo throughout everything she does: “I want to continue to create spaces for everyone to feel confident, beautiful, and vulnerable at the same time.”
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