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Ashley Graham proudly displays post-pregnancy stretchmarks in inspirational Instagram post

HELLO!'s Body Work columnist Alex Light applauds the new mum...

Alex Light

I love Ashley Graham. I always have - she was one of the first models to be truly unapologetic about being a different size to the fashion and media norm, and the way she proudly shows off her body inspired me… It made me feel good to be me, to know that I can, too, feel comfortable in my own skin - and I know so many others feel the same. So I was delighted to see her latest post - the model gave birth four weeks ago, and she is putting her post-pregnancy body on display with pride. Rather than treating it with loathing and attempting to fix it, which is generally the road diet culture leads women down after giving birth - you know, bodies 'bouncing back', getting your body 'back', back to the pre-pregnancy body? No thanks. 

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Back in January, 32-year-old Ashley welcomed baby Isaac with her husband, Justin Ervin, and she documented her pregnancy journey online. Now, the social media star has shared a snap of her tummy with her 10 million followers on Instagram. She captioned the picture: "Same me. Few new stories," referring to her purple stretch marks. 

MORE: Why 2020 is the year we stop comparing ourselves to others on social media

The post had already racked up one million likes within a few hours of posting, and I’m not surprised - this is the kind of positivity we need in the world. Rather than ‘look at me, I bounced back within months’, it’s important for normal women at home to see how bodies change - and know that that change is OK! It’s normal, you grew life, you gave birth to a tiny human.

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Lots of fellow celebrities took to the comments section to share their appreciation of the post. Lily Aldridge, Doutzen Kroes, Karlie Kloss and Joan Smalls all shared hearts and words of encouragement. 

RELATED: The most iconic celebrity pregnancy photos of all time

In another recent post, Ashley posed in a pair of disposable underwear and candidly discussed the 'messy' recovery after giving birth. "Raise your hand if you didn’t know you’d be changing your own diapers too," she wrote. 

"After all these years in fashion, I never could’ve guessed that disposable underwear would be my favourite piece of clothing but here we are! No one talks about the recovery and healing (yes even the messy parts) new moms go through. I wanted to show you guys that it’s not all rainbows and butterflies."

Social media is a brilliant way to connect people and create communities, but it also has a dark side. Join HELLO!'s #HelloToKindness campaign to promote positivity on social media. A kind ethos underpins everything we do at HELLO! and we urge our community to think twice before you post. Find out more about the #HelloToKindness campaign.

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