Ashley Graham is speaking out about one of the lesser-known side effects some new mothers experience: postpartum hair loss. According to the supermodel and mother of 16-month-old Isaac, the excessive hair shedding was "more traumatic than even birth."
"That was more traumatic than even birth because I was like, 'My hair's falling out in clumps — what am I doing?'" the model and podcaster, who is married to photographer Justin Ervin, told the magazine. "And then I realized it's actually a thing."
Postpartum hair loss — also known as postpartum telogen effluvium — typically occurs around three months after childbirth as a woman's hormones adjust to pre-pregnancy levels. The American Pregnancy Association notes that, during pregnancy, elevated estrogen levels can effectively pause hair shedding, leaving hair follicles in a resting phase, with many pregnant women experiencing thicker locks during that time. But after giving birth, those levels drop and the follicles that had been resting begin to shed, resulting in what can feel like a dramatic loss of hair.
That's not the only postpartum side effect Graham's endured.
"My skin got a bit irritated as well, and I had a little bit of rosacea that I had to combat," she said, adding that she's also retained some of her pregnancy weight.
"Everybody told me if you breastfeed, the weight falls off," the body-positive influencer said. "Well, that was BS. And I'm still working on like 20 pounds. When I say working on, I just kind of look at it every day like, 'Hello, new body.' And that's just kind of how I go on with it."
But her biggest struggle as a new parent has nothing to do with her physical form.
"I would say the hardest part is definitely that real mom guilt about leaving," Graham admitted. "And the first time I left was when I walked in Milan Fashion Week… It was the first time I was going to leave him — it had been eight months. I had lots of milk saved up, but just that idea of leaving him just brought so much guilt. Then when I actually got on the airplane, I was like, 'Wait, I could treat this like a vacation.' And that's what I did for four days."
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