It’s not uncommon for the lights to go out on our sex lives when couplehood is suddenly redefined by parenthood.

I’m not just referring to those seasons when sex is sparse—when the lights are out because there is literally no action—but the seasons when the lights are out because we, as women and mothers, are afraid to be seen. Maybe even ashamed.

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Since having kids, when the bedroom starts heating up the alarm bells in my head start signaling me to shut the lights down.

Not because my husband is turned off by the sight of my body. Not because he has ever hinted at the fact that my body is imperfect. And not because he prefers the lights to be off.

But because I do.

My body doesn’t look like it did when we said our vows all those years ago. It’s been pulled and stretched, with the wrinkles and scars to prove it. It’s been ravaged by babies and marred by time. I’ve got a perma-pouch with what resembles deflated balloons resting atop it.

I can’t help but think that it wasn’t this body my husband vowed to have and to hold, and it’s just seemed safer to keep it hidden. 

But after years of doing it in the dark, I recently saw the light.

It had been a long day of working and sweating around the house, and my husband and I both needed a shower. So, for the sake of efficiency, we turned shower time into sex time. With the lights on.

We fumbled around for a bit, trying to get into a comfortable position in the awkward space of our tiny shower. And while searching for “the spot” we both acknowledged that something wasn’t quite working.

“I don’t know if this is going to work,” I said.

“Maybe not,” he replied, “but I’m enjoying the view.”

Now, the bright lights of the bathroom were glaring through the steam, spotlighting every bit of my bare body. But instead of alarm bells sounding in my head, it was a lightbulb that flashed through my mind.

Sure, I saw the dimples and cellulite, the stretch marks and sagging. But he didn’t. I had allowed myself to be seen, and my husband liked what he saw.

It had been so long since I’d given him the chance to get a good look at me, but when I did, I discovered his appreciation for every part of me. I’d been hiding the gift of my body for so long, afraid that it was no longer what he wanted to see.

But what I discovered when I allowed myself to be vulnerable was that my husband doesn’t want perfection, he just wants me.

I realized he truly is my safe place and that I can trust him and his love for me even when my flaws are exposed.

Letting him see me in the light allowed me to see myself in a new light. Flawed, yes, but still loved. A woman with a body that is worthy of being seen and enjoyed. A woman whose body has drastically changed over the past 14 years, but whose husband still finds her attractive.

In a world that shames women for having a mom-bod or a flawed-bod, let’s give our husbands the chance to hand us a new script—one that rewrites the definition of beauty, giving us the confidence to boldly stand before them and bare it all.

Let’s let them enjoy the view. It might just be what is needed to change our own.

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Jenny Albers

Jenny Albers is a wife, mother, and writer.  She is the author of Courageously Expecting, a book that empathizes with and empowers women who are pregnant after loss. You can find Jenny on her blog, where she writes about pregnancy loss, motherhood, and faith. She never pretends to know it all, but rather seeks to encourage others with real (and not always pretty) stories of the hard, heart, and humorous parts of life. She's a work in progress, and while never all-knowing, she's (by the grace of God) always growing. You can follow her on Facebook and Instagram.