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    Dear Diva Rebecca,

    I am deeply in love with my wife of 7 years. We recently had a child together a year and a half ago. This was our first. Lately my wife has been very depressed about her weight. She was never a super skinny woman, she had curves. But she just never lost most of her pregnancy weight. To me, she is just as beautiful as the day I met her. But if this issue of weight comes up, my wife tears up and then shuts me out emotionally. It breaks my heart because I know how badly she feels about herself. And I just can't seem to make her believe that I still love her and I am still attracted to her. I still think she is beautiful! I can't stand to see her so depressed about the way she looks. Is there anything I can do?

    Sincerely,

    Married to Beauty,
    Leawood, Kansas


    Dear Married,

    I think your wife is very lucky to have someone has wonderful as you by her side when she feels so badly about herself. But sometimes, no matter how much love you give someone, it might not help their own self-image and self-esteem. She is the only one who has the power to change the way she feels about herself.

    Having a child is a life changing experience as I am sure you know. Because of the new time constraints, new moms have much less time (if any at all) to devote to themselves such as going to the gym, going to the salon and just taking the time to primp themselves at home. Sometimes new moms don't even have the time to take a shower on a given day! At first it is survivable. But after a while of letting yourself go, it can really get on your nerves.

    How a woman sees herself in the mirror directly influences the way she feels about herself externally and internally. She doesn't like the way she looks so she might think that everyone else doesn't like the way she looks. She is having a hard time letting you love her because she doesn't love herself right now. How can she believe that you think she looks great when she thinks she looks so unattractive? This is why she is shutting down when the issue comes up. She doesn't really believe you.

    She is going to have to feel better about herself by doing something about it, but it has to be her decision. Still, you can help! Have a talk with her about this problem. But don't let the main focus be about her weight, let it be about her depression. Let her know how you feel, almost exactly like you told me. You love her, but her depression about her weight is hurting you (and her) and you want to help her. Offer some suggestions. You could give her more time to herself while you babysit allowing her to go for walks, or go to the gym or even go shopping for new clothes. Ask her what she would like to do, is there anything that she thinks might help her feel better about herself? Don't force anything and try to let her do most of the talking. If she clams up about the problem, don't try to force anything else and let it go. She will think about what you said for a while. Then bring it up again later and ask her if she has thought about it.

    You can keep telling her how beautiful you think she is, how much she turns you on and how sexy she is. She might not believe it herself, but it certainly can't hurt! Give her a compliment everyday if you can remember to. The more she hears it, the more apt she will be to start believing it. If she comes back at you with a comment like, “How can you like all of this fat on me?” Just let it blow by you, don't let it discourage you and don't tell her to stop talking like that. The last thing she needs is another reason to feel badly about herself.

    What she needs the most is time to devote to herself. I told you to ask her what she would like to do for herself and what you can give her. But do some things for her without asking her. Take the baby when you get home for an hour or two and let her relax or do what she needs to do. Let this become a regular habit. She might object at first (new mothers are extremely territorial) but do so more and more until she feels comfortable having some time to herself. Eventually, she will use that time to truly do things for her own benefit.

    Good Luck!

    Sincerely,

    Diva Rebecca

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