Something is happening at American Vogue.
For the magazine’s January 2020 issue, the famed portrait photographer Annie Leibovitz shot a quartet of subjects. And while it’s all business as usual in terms of the stardom and calibre of each cover subject, what’s different is the overarching theme that unites each one: motherhood.
Cardi B (a rapper), Ashley Graham (a model), Stella McCartney (a fashion designer) and Greta Gerwig (an actress and filmmaker) are all featured in their own cover stories for the magazine, and in their respective profiles, each offers unique insights into how they’ve navigated pregnancy, motherhood, and balancing their careers with it all.
Below, we’ve rounded up some of the insights each has offered about their experiences with pregnancy and motherhood:
Ashley Graham on sex while pregnant
That doesn’t mean people don’t still have questions. In her profile, Graham admitted that she asked her friends to tell her about their own experiences with sex while pregnant. She found that the sex was different than what she was used to — she expected her sex drive to change, but not how sex, itself, worked.
“I feel like every relationship goes in waves of sex. You’re like, Hey, do we need to plan this? And now, with pregnancy, things have been real-ly diff-er-ent,” she told the magazine.
“Because there’s this huge bulge that can be sensitive if you lay on it or go into a new position. I’ve been literally asking every single one of my friends who have had babies or who’re pregnant, like, ‘What positions do you guys do?’ This has to be a normal conversation among mothers.”
Greta Gerwig on the similarities between motherhood and filmmaking
For Greta Gerwig, the director behind “Lady Bird” (2017) and the upcoming “Little Women” (2019), what makes motherhood and filmmaking “twin adventures” is the way they are united by an abiding sense of doubt.
“I think [it’s] that feeling of forever being under-qualified and kind of awed by the thing,” Gerwig told the magazine. “I was always scared about being a mother, in terms of what it would mean for what I was able to do.”
While she was pregnant, Gerwig said she would frequently indulge in watching Cardi B’s videos on Instagram, in which the rapper would gleefully and candidly discuss the changes her body was going through. “She’d do videos about how her hair looked better, but then she was mad because she had terrible heartburn. Everything. I would eat it up. I’ve just been very moved by women who’ve claimed all of it.”
Cardi B on the standards of motherhood
In the same way that Cardi B is beloved for her humour, she’s also beloved for what’s perceived to be authenticity: her refusal to adhere to what those around her want or expect her to be. Most times, she’s more interested in breaking rules than she is in following them. When it comes to motherhood, she carries with her the same irreverent spirit that makes her a joy to watch.
“I could shake my ass, I could be the most ratchet-est person ever, I could get into a fight tomorrow, but I’m still a great mom,” she told the magazine.
“All the time I’m thinking about my kid. I’m shaking my ass, but at the same time I’m doing business, I’m on the phone with my business manager saying, make sure that a percentage of my check goes to my kid’s trust. I give my daughter so much love, and I’m setting her up for a future. I want to tell her that a lot of the shit that I have done in life—no matter what I did, knowing that I wanted to have kids made me go harder to secure a good future for my kids.”
Stella McCartney on balancing a schedule with four kids
Stella McCartney is busy. Not only is she a well-decorated and well-respected fashion designer, with a reputation as the “conscience” of the fashion world, but she’s also a mother of four children. Her sons are Miller, 14, and Beckett, 11. Her daughters are Bailey, 13, and Reiley, 9.
Obviously, she drinks a lot of coffee.
“I had four school drop-offs this morning,” she told Vogue.
“I start at 6:30 a.m., and by the time I get to work [by bicycle], I feel like I’m literally done for the day. I’m a big hot sweaty mess, too ... When you’ve got a job and you’ve got kids, [the school run] is when you get to see them, and you have to wake up super early and engage in that moment. Then I try and squeeze in some exercise, and then I go to work. And I try and get back for the bookending of being a mum.”
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