So much of the conversation about postpartum bodies is how they change physically. But, for many mamas, the way that pregnancy changes their perspective of their bodies is just as significant as the changes to their bodies themselves.

Take Hilary Duff for example: The mom-of-one says having a baby transformed her view on her body—and helped her come to appreciate it in a whole new way. “My body helped create a bond between us, and me being there for him in those first months of his life ultimately was far more important than me trying to get in shape right away,” Duff tells Women’s Health Magazine. “And that mental shift helped all the other stuff eventually fall into place.”

But this didn’t happen immediately when Duff welcomed her son, Luca, in 2012. Rather, the Younger star says it was initially challenging to feel at peace with her body after gaining pregnancy weight that proved difficult to lose.

“I felt like my only purpose was just to be his mom and be able to feed him,” she says. “I wasn’t one of those women who just could nurse and lose the weight. Some people bounce back and don’t have to deal with that, and that’s wonderful for them. But for me, it was so hard to connect with my body again once I had a baby.”

In time—because these things often do take time!—Duff says she realized that her body wasn’t going to be the same. The difference was, she learned to be okay with that because she could also recognize all her body had done in pregnancy and then in raising her son. “We’re all too hard on ourselves about everything. It’s important sometimes—whether it’s in front of the mirror, or trying to get breakfast on the table—to just take a step back and chill for a minute,” she says. “It helps put a lot of things into perspective.”

Duff isn’t alone in feeling like motherhood boosted her body confidence: According to a recent survey, 65% of moms say they feel “more confident and comfortable” with their bodies than they did before pregnancy.

As Duff’s experience also shows, this can be a gradual process. But as your strong arms help you lift a growing child into bed, your legs allow you to chase after them and laugh lines emerge from all the fun you have together, take a moment to reflect—and, hopefully, appreciate your body for just how amazing it is.

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