Caroline Goldstein
Updated Feb 11, 2020 @ 2:02 pm
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Pregnant women and new moms are so often cast in an idealized, idolized light—kind of a weird holdover from centuries past when women were essentially seen as vessels for baking humans. Anyway, it’s 2020 now, and women like Ashley Graham are rewriting that mythical narrative about new motherhood: In short, it’s not always pretty. (But it is beautiful.) Yesterday, February 10th, Graham posted an unposed, unretouched photo of her postpartum body on Instagram, and she also opened up about the “messier” aspects of the post-birth recovery process.

“Raise your hand if you didn’t know you’d be changing your own diapers too🙋🏻‍♀️After all these years in fashion I never could’ve guessed that disposable underwear would be my favorite piece of clothing but here we are!” she captioned her post.

Graham also noted that some of those “messy parts” are only unexpected because no one seems to be talking about them.

“No one talks about the recovery and healing (yes even the messy parts) new moms go through,” she wrote. “I wanted to show you guys that it’s not all rainbows and butterflies!”

Graham, who gave birth to son Isaac in January, also gave props to the company Frida Mom, which makes essential postpartum recovery products: Think perineal healing foam, sitz bath tablets, and disposable postpartum underwear, which Graham is wearing in her pic.

You may have heard of Frida Mom not for its amazing products, or that the brand calls them “the vag squad” (also amazing), but because ABC banned its ad from airing during the 2020 Oscars broadcast. According to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ guidelines, ads containing “feminine hygiene products” are not permitted to air during the awards ceremony. Nor are ads containing “guns and ammunition,” which really tells you something about the state of the Academy and standards about representation in general.

That makes Graham’s candidness now, and throughout her pregnancy, all the more significant. A post-baby selfie may seem like a small step for one woman, but all those seemingly small steps contribute to normalizing what is, actually, normal. Here’s to more “messy” new mom selfies (or “messy” selfies in general) this decade.