Ashley Graham stars alongside son Isaac, 6 months, and husband Justin Ervin in Elle's August issue, with photos shot by Ervin

By Jen Juneau
August 03, 2020 12:51 PM
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Ashley Graham and son Isaac for Elle
Justin Ervin for Elle

Ashley Graham is doing motherhood her way.

Alongside a new interview with Kristen Bell for Elle's August 2020 issue, the supermodel and mom of one poses alongside husband Justin Ervin (a photographer who also captured the images for the magazine) and their 6-month-old son Isaac Menelik Giovanni at a farm in her home state of Nebraska.

Graham, 32, opens up in the interview about how "everybody has an opinion" when it comes to motherhood — and she is no exception. "I've got a couple of family members who are pregnant, and my instinct is to say, 'Oh, do this, do that,' " she tells Bell, 40. "But I stop myself every time, because I remember how I felt when everybody told me what to do and sent me their unsolicited advice and their lists."

"If there's a question to be asked, ask it. But other than that, keep your trap shut and just let that mother figure it out. The mommy-shaming on social media is out of control," she adds.

As for how she approached getting her son to snooze through the night, Graham — who poses nude in one photo, while breastfeeding — says she "just kind of did what [she] wanted to do" and reveals Isaac "is not sleep-trained."

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Ashley Graham, son Isaac and husband Justin Ervin for Elle
Justin Ervin for Elle
Ashley Graham for Elle
Justin Ervin for Elle

"But he only wakes up maybe once or twice in the night, max," she says. "I feel 100 percent rested, so it's not like I'm living in agony every day like, 'He didn't sleep last night.' "

Meanwhile, Isaac is "screaming at the top of his lungs" nowadays and "thinks it's so fun to be louder than Mom and Dad," says his mama, adding, "I think we've figured out the diapers we like, and we only have maybe one blowout a week. And I'm still breastfeeding."

Graham also discusses with Bell (herself a mother of two) how the pain of childbirth was much more intense than she'd anticipated, admitting, "I had no idea it was going to hurt that bad."

"Every mother talks about, 'Oh yeah, it's painful.' Whether they got an epidural or not, or a C-section, whatever happened, they're like, 'Yeah, it hurt.' And they say it kind of calmly like that," she says.

"They don't go into the astronomical pain that you go through, especially if you choose to go natural," adds Graham, who previously opened up about her home birth story.

Elle's August 2020 cover
Gigi Hadid for Elle

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The "silver lining" in the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Graham says, "is that I gave birth just before quarantine, so I’ve been able to watch Isaac grow up before my eyes."

"Experiencing every single moment with him has been a dream come true," she continues, admitting, "I feel really bad for the next kid, because I don't know if they're going to get this much attention."

Having a baby has also made the model appreciate what her body can do even more, even though there were some mental hurdles she had to clear along the way.

"When I got pregnant, I had to re-imagine my relationship with my body with this creature inside me taking over. I was gaining weight so rapidly," Graham recalls. "Then, to get stretch marks on my stomach, that to me was like, 'Oh my gosh. I can't believe this happened.' "

She adds, "At first it felt devastating, and then when I met Isaac, I said, 'No, this is exactly what every woman has talked about for ages. This is not just a battle wound. This is something that has changed my life forever, and I'm going to celebrate my new body.' "