Ashley Graham showed off her stretch marks in a nude pregnancy photo, and we love it
Just days after Ashley Graham and husband Justin Ervin announced they’re expecting their first baby together, the model and author is sharing an honest look at what pregnancy does to the human body with a nude photo. We wouldn’t expect anything less from this icon of body positivity.
“Same same but a little different,” she captioned a nude Instagram photo of herself that shows stretch marks on the side of her belly and thigh.
Stretch marks occur in about 90% of pregnancies, according to What to Expect, and they have little to do with the size of your body. Genetics are the biggest factor in determining whether you get the marks, which occur when the rapid weight gain (natural in all pregnancies) stretches the layer of tissue under the skin’s surface. There’s no way to prevent them, but dermatologists recommend keeping skin moisturized to prevent it from feeling dry and itchy.
Like so many of Graham’s messages of self-love and acceptance, this one was mostly welcomed by her followers, many of whom thanked her for making them feel good about their own bodies, pregnant or not.
“Thank you for being so real in a world of fake,” wrote @aesthetics_lives.
“I’m pregnant, hormonal, and going though so many body changes,” @maceyjflo commented on the post. “This made me tear up. I really needed this today.”
Some moms-to-be were excited to be on this journey at the same time as Graham is.
“I showed my husband this photo and he said, ‘See! She’s just like you,’ ” @hippieparades wrote. “I am almost 21 weeks pregnant and I’ve been struggling with my changing body. I love how much you embrace it. I’ve always looked up to you and your confidence. Congratulations on your babe!”
@arcanejee added, “My body looks EXACTLY like this. I’m not really proud of it…just saying that some of us don’t have smooth skin or flat tummies like other women. We come in different shapes, sizes and colors, but we deserve to be loved and respected just like everybody else.”
Because this is the internet, there were also people who felt the need to voice their disapproval of Graham’s photo—either because of the nudity, her curves, or both. But when one commenter said she would “never understand” the “need to have total strangers look at your body,” others quickly came to Graham’s defense, sharing how helpful the photo was to them and others.
Graham has received online criticism from trolls since becoming one of the most famous plus-size models in the world. Sometimes she claps back at her critics. Sometimes, like now, she ignores them. She and Ervin, her husband of nine years, clearly have better things to do as they prepare for their first baby.