Model Ashley Graham is opening up about the difficult birth of her twins in January, and revealing for the first time that she suffered a miscarriage before getting pregnant with them.
The Sports Illustrated model said she and Ervin moved to her mother's home in Nebraska when COVID hit. When the couple returned to New York in September 2020, they began trying for another baby and Graham became pregnant in early 2021.
"I’ve not shared this until now, but I fell pregnant in January of 2021, on my husband’s birthday," Graham wrote. "Because it was my second pregnancy, I started to show early, and we were so excited. But at the end of February, I had a miscarriage."
Graham went on to describe the miscarriage as "devastating," calling it "one of the biggest losses I had ever had in my life to date."
She said that looking at her son Isaac was the only solace during this difficult time.
"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," she said. "And yet the world expects us to move on and handle our grief with grace."
Graham eventually did get pregnant again — this time with twins, and said she initially felt prepared for their arrival.
"I felt like 'I’ve got this,'" she wrote in her essay. "But it was also pretty much the end of my body as I knew it. I got huge, and fast."
Graham described her home birth, which started off as a celebratory occasion.
Her son Malachi was born first, just as her doula was arriving, and then Roman arrived within the span of a few hours. After the boys were born, though, things took a scary turn.
"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," Graham revealed, writing that she remembered a light touch on her cheek, which she later learned was someone trying to smack her back into consciousness. Her team scrambled to give her medication, but the vein in her arm kept collapsing.
"I remember seeing darkness and what seemed like stars," she said. "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."
Once she was awake, Graham said she let out a "visceral cry" and had to be moved on a bed sheet since she couldn't stand or walk. Thankfully, her newborn twins were OK, but it would be some time before the new mom of three recovered fully.
"I couldn’t walk for a week," she said. "And I didn’t leave my house for nearly two months."
Graham said that she hopes that in revealing the intimate details of her experience, she'll open up the conversation for more women to be forthcoming about what they've been through.
"I tell you all of this — in pretty unflinching detail — because I believe in the importance of honesty; in revealing things about myself that I hope will help others talk about what they too have been through," she said.
Graham has continued to be honest about her struggles with breastfeeding two babies and accepting a body that she said transformed into "a baby-making machine" with "stretch marks up to my belly button."
"Even as a body advocate, I’ve learned it’s okay if the journey to love the skin you’re in is more complex than you could ever have imagined," she said.