"I gave birth and survived months of no sleep. I couldn't not respect my body after that."

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confident in having sex
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Motherhood—and mothers' voices—should be celebrated every day. But that also means having honest, judgment-free conversations about the complexities of parenting. In our series Millennial Moms, we reveal the beautiful—and daunting—responsibilities of motherhood through the lens of different women's experiences, from balancing side hustles in order to provide for our kids to dealing with dating apps as young single moms.

Sticky snot is stuck to my elbow and my hair hasn't been washed in at least three days, yet I've never felt sexier. I know it sounds weird—it is weird—but hear me out. Even though my husband and I are both busy working from home and watching our two energetic toddlers (whom I swear must have caffeine instead of blood flowing through their veins), intimate moments are happening between us more frequently than ever before. In the bedroom, on the couch, in the shower—yeah, you get the picture. Becoming a mom has totally transformed my confidence in life, especially when it comes to sex. I feel stronger than ever before, with a newfound respect for my body that absolutely makes a difference when it comes to romance.

I've struggled with body image issues since I was a kid. I'm not proud of the amount of self-hate, negative self-talk, and extreme guilt I've had over everything from my weight to the lack of exercise in my life. Combine that with my strict abstinence-only upbringing, one terrible ex-boyfriend, and general anxiety, and sex was something that was always just okay. It didn't matter that I was in love and attracted to my husband—I couldn't stand myself, so I just couldn't get comfortable letting my guard down for sex. And it kind of sucked. 

At the beginning of our relationship, I thought I must be doing something wrong. Why was sex not something I looked forward to like my friends did? Why was it hard to get lost in kissing and enjoying myself? I was honestly ashamed of my body and embarrassed for my husband to see me naked. My husband is great and has never once pressured me to do something I didn't want to do—in the romance department or anywhere else—but still, I knew something was missing. When I got pregnant one month before our first anniversary, it was no surprise that my sex drive plummeted even further. I was dealing with morning sickness, aches and pains, and overall pregnancy woes on top of everything else.

After my now three-and-a-half-year-old son was born, things started gradually changing. I finally realized my body is amazing.

I grew a life within my uterus, gave birth, used my breasts to nourish and feed my baby, and survived months of no sleep and utter exhaustion. I couldn't not respect it after that.

When I got pregnant with my second son just nine months post-partum while still breastfeeding, I struggled again. My baby belly showed so much faster, I gained more weight this time around, and the pains were even stronger. (Pregnant sex is just not it for me, okay?) But after giving birth again, bonding with my baby, and learning how to be a mom of two, my confidence just continued growing. It's been an up-and-down journey of learning to like myself as our family expanded.

confident in having sex
Credit: Getty Images

Admittedly, my body was different after my pregnancies. I have more stretch marks and looser stomach muscles, which isn't great for my self-esteem. But it feels like I gained so much more than I gave up. I became so proud of myself, fiercely protective of my kids, and totally leaning into my role as their mama. My mindset shifted with my babies in mind, finding the motivation to go on walks with them because they loved being outside and work out as a way to treat my body with respect because of how much it goes through. Now, I am stronger, more confident, and happier. People comment on my "mom glow" all the time, and I feel more beautiful because I'm genuinely happier than ever.

This confidence carries over into the bedroom, where sex is now something I looked forward to and enjoy more than I ever have in my life.

Before kids, my anxiety would have me over-thinking everything, stressing about something on my to-do list, and feeling too overwhelmed or self-conscious to really enjoy myself during sex. That still happens sometimes, but now I feel a lightness I can't explain. I get turned on easier and am open to intimacy more often. Don't get me wrong, I still have anxiety. But my newfound-mom confidence means I like my own body more than ever, which means sex feels better than ever, too. I feel more connected with my husband, more willing to experiment, more often "in the mood." It's honestly like being a teenager again, except in my own damn house where I can make the rules.

I'm not saying become a mom automatically fixed all my body image problems or that this experience will be the same for everyone (*insert "results may vary" warning here*), but for me, motherhood feels great. I'm loving this newfound confidence in myself, I'm appreciating what my body can do, and I'm feeling freaking blissful when it comes to sex. I may have more stress lines and stretch marks, but I also have bigger…er, smiles, so it's all worth it.