Plus-size model and Ashley Graham got very honest about her first trip away from her baby son — and confesses how it was a much different experience than what she’d been anticipating.
During September the 32-year-old had an appearance in Fendi’s spring/summer 2021 show marking Graham’s first time on the runway since welcoming son Isaac Menelik Giovanni with husband Justin Ervin on Jan. 18.
“I have to say, it was a vacation. It was not what I was expecting — it really wasn’t. In eight months, I hadn’t left his side longer than five hours. And I was really nervous, like, can I do this?” says Graham.
“Other mothers have done it. They leave their babies even earlier. I was like, ‘Am I gonna feel guilty?’ But I didn’t feel guilty because I knew that I was going for work,” she explains. “I had so much milk that I had already saved up for him, and he was gonna be here with his dad and his grandma, and everything was gonna be fine.”
Ashley recalls for SELF magazine the four days she was overseas for the fashion engagement actually going by “so fast” — but it wasn’t entirely as glamorous of an experience as one might think.
“Don’t get it twisted — behind every backstage at both the shows and the fittings I was at, I was the girl in the corner, plugged into a pump,” she tells SELF. “A lot of those girls are 18 to 24, 25, and they’re kind of looking at me like, ‘What are you doing?’ So I’d be like, ‘Oh, I’m pumping! This is milk for my baby.’ And they’re like, ‘Oh.’ ”
“But also, a lot of the women that are on the teams around, they’ve been in my shoes before. So they’re like, ‘Oh, you’re pumping. Are you pumping and dumping? Are you FedExing your milk?’ ” Graham adds. “It’s all these funny questions that you get asked that you maybe haven’t even thought of. But it’s a wild ride, for sure.”
“On a regular basis, though, I try not to stress myself out because I feel like when I’m stressed, I don’t get as much milk,” says the mother of one. “I pump after Isaac’s first feeding in the morning, and then I’ll pump again after I put him down around 9 a.m., 9:30 a.m. for his morning nap. If I’m with him, then that’s the only pumping I do for the day. But if I’m not with him, then I’m pumping, like, every three hours.”