Model Ashley Graham is a mum to three beautiful little boys – two-year-old Isaac and five-month-old twins, Malachi and Roman.
She has always been open about her pregnancy and motherhood journey, sharing plenty of snaps with her fans through her Instagram account.
However, up until now, she’s never shared much detail about the twins’ birth. We know that she had a home birth and that the boys were born at 40 weeks, which is incredible for twins.
We also knew that it was a tough journey but we really didn’t know the extent of it.
Although Ashley describes the birth as “incredible,” she shares that she lost litres of blood straight after the birth and the aftermath was deeply overwhelming.
Ashley opened up to Glamour, sharing a very personal essay about her pregnancy, birth, body positivity, and devastating miscarriage she suffered before falling pregnant with the twins. It coincides with her campaign for Knix.
A quick twin birth at home
As Ashley writes,
The night I gave birth to the twins, I hemorrhaged. It was 2 a.m. when my contractions started. At 3:45 a.m. I went to the toilet thinking I needed the bathroom, and Malachi came out just as my doula was arriving, in time to bring him into the world.
Two hours and seven minutes later, I had Roman in my apartment bathtub—we didn’t even have enough time to blow up the home birthing tub because everything happened so fast.”
At first, Ashley explains how she and her birthing team were celebrating – a twin birth at home is unheard of and one that lasts only three and a half hours – amazing.
I was feeling so incredibly grateful to this team of skilled, intelligent, and trained professionals around me, who were there for me when I had Isaac, and were now with me again for the twins.”
The next thing you know, I looked at my midwife and I said, “I don’t feel good. I think I need to lay down,” and I blacked out.
All I can remember is feeling a light touch on my cheek, which I found out later was actually somebody smacking the crap out of my cheek, someone holding my hand, my husband Justin in my ear, praying, and someone jabbing me with a needle in my arm. And I remember seeing darkness and what seemed like stars.
When I finally came to, I looked around and I saw everybody. They just kept saying to me, “You’re fine. You’re fine. You’re fine.”
They didn’t want to tell me, right then, that I’d lost liters of blood.
They didn’t want to tell me that one of the midwives had to flip me over, press her finger down right above my vagina bone to try and stop the bleeding.
And they didn’t want to tell me that the vein in my arm kept collapsing and they couldn’t get the needle in for the Pitocin, so they’d had to put it in my hand.
But even though they didn’t want to go into the details at that moment, I looked around the room, saw blood literally everywhere, and let out this deep, visceral cry—an emotional release from the chaos I had just experienced.”
After the hemorrhage, Ashley couldn’t stand or walk. She was rolled onto a bed where she sat with the twins for four days straight.
She couldn’t walk for a week and didn’t leave her home for nearly two months. Physically and emotionally, the birth also took its toll as she struggled to return to work and didn’t feel comfortable in her post-birth body.
I had planned to be back at work after eight weeks, but I was a wreck, and when I saw myself in the mirror, I still felt like I looked pregnant.
Even now, if I’m completely honest, I go in waves. I am still not entirely comfortable in my body, no matter my own body positivity advocacy.
Day by day it goes back and forth. I tell myself that I am a warrior for carrying and birthing my babies, for surviving the hemorrhage, for being a mother to my three boys, and yet also still struggling with the transformation of my body.”
‘Biggest losses I had ever had’
Before Malachi and Roman, Ashely, her husband, Justin Ervin and their son, Isaac moved from New York to Nebraska. This was during Covid so the little family was already quite isolated.
When they returned to New York, Ashely fell pregnant again. However, she lost the baby a month later.
It was devastating; it felt like one of the biggest losses I had ever had in my life to date. And I understood at that point what so many other mothers have gone through.
I had a child already, and looking at him was the only way to ease my pain, and yet the loss was so acute.
I cannot even fathom how heartbreaking it must be for women who have not yet had children, and for those who have been through miscarriages multiple times. And yet the world expects us to move on and handle our grief with grace.
I just remember breaking down more than a few times, just at random, and thinking, “How do women across the world do this? Because my story is no bigger than anyone else’s.”
You can read Ashley’s full essay at Glamour.