Splurge on a new outfit (or two).
The best post-pregnancy advice I got came on the heels of my son's birth three years ago. I was complaining to my friend Julia about how bad all of my clothes looked on me. "That's because your clothes are for a skinny, flat-chested woman," she said. "You have to show off your new attributes." Realizing she was right, I picked up a few cute dresses that played up my newfound cleavage while hiding my larger tummy and hips. Bingo! I have to admit my feminine ego appreciated the admiring glances I got as I pushed my two kids in the stroller.
"Buy some clothes that look good on you now," says Dr. Raskin. "And never think that by buying size fourteen pants you're saying you won't get back into size tens."
Even if you've lost weight, your body won't return to its exact proportions, so work with what you have. Lori Woehrle, a mom of two in Washington, DC, uses her much smaller bust size as a good reason to wear tight or low-cut shirts. "Making the most of what I've got helps me feel more like the young woman I once was," she says.
Be good to yourself. With her second child, Deb Widner of Columbus, Ohio, gained back all the weight she'd lost, plus some. But she realized it was a waste of energy trying to live up to society's idea of what's hot. "I wanted my mom identity, but I wanted my sexual identity as well," she says. "I don't think the two are separate."
So she treated herself well: sexy new nighties; long, frothy baths after the kids were down; massages -- all helped her feel like her old luscious self. "I look in the mirror and I'm not perfect," she says. "But I feel better about who I am now than I did at eighteen, because I'm more in tune with myself."