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Being a new mother is an awesome feeling for me. However, I’d be lying if I said that there were a few things that came with my awesome bundle of joy that I don’t love so much. Stretch marks are one of those things. But that aside, what has really thrown me for a loop is the body that was left after my sweet pea was born. I have a body now that I don’t recognize. It goes far beyond added weight. I have what appears to be a “second belly” – like something hanging under the one I already had. I’ve consulted with other mothers who have this and they all say it’s the result of the C-section I had. Lovely. Luckily I’ve been told that with exercise, eating well, consistency (and maybe stomach binding) it can shrink, or maybe even go away.

Thank God my husband understands this, and told me that in time the body he was used to will snap back. However, he has also stated that I should set a goal, or at least a start date, on when I should work on “Operation Snap Back.” He said he wants me (and us) to be healthy for our son, but part of me can’t help but wonder if he’s still attracted to me and this weird new shape I’ve inherited as a result of my pregnancy. He says he is, but for how long do I get the “I just had a baby pass”? I don’t want my son to be two years old and I’m still walking around with this gut. Something must be done.

I’ve had this conversation with a few friends who say that I shouldn’t stress about getting back in shape. But when I relay my concerns, what the majority of them say is that “If he loves you, he’ll love you just the way you are. You just had a baby!” And I get it. It’s not like I gained weight by lying around eating cookie dough and ice cream while watching ratchet TV all day. I was creating life, so he should love me as I am right?

But what it’s really about is ME. How I feel, my energy level, how I fit in my clothes…or not…and my over sense of well-being and confidence. Losing weight wouldn’t really be for my husband, it would be for ME…and my son who needs to see his parents as examples of what living a healthy lifestyle looks like. And if my husband happens to think I look hot in the process, then I’ll take that too!

Let’s be honest here, when you first met your spouse or significant other, what most likely attracted you to them wasn’t their wit, intelligence or sparkling personality. It was their physical appearance. Now of course they fell in love with the person you are on the inside at some point, but it’s also equally important in a relationship to maintain that physical attraction, even if it isn’t as important as emotional intimacy. Sure, when you make those wedding vows you say  for better or worse, through thick and thing (literally), and your partner should ride with you until then end no matter what you look like. But the reality is if you are really honest with yourself, a person who seems like he or she doesn’t care about themselves anymore is unattractive. Keeping it sexy for your partner is just as important as any other aspect of your relationship that needs nurturing.

At the end of the day, the responsibility to keep yourself healthy and looking right is to YOURSELF. It’s not just about appearance, but your overall sense of self-worth – and showing your partner that you love yourself enough to care about yourself is a turn-on. Confidence is sexy on everyone, and if someone is going to be the beneficiary of all that hotness – aside from you of course – shouldn’t that person be your man? If you do it for yourself, you’ll ultimately be a better partner and mother if you have children. By not letting yourself go, everyone wins.

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