FORMER EastEnders actress Melissa Suffield has revealed she's gained a newfound respect for her body after becoming a mother for the first time last year.
The 28-year-old declared that she feels "no shame" about her post-baby body ever since welcoming her son River last March with fiancé Robert Brendan.
Speaking to Closer magazine, Melissa discussed body positivity and self-acceptance as she insisted said that feeling "sexy" is about "being comfortable" in the skin you're in.
She shared: "I feel no shame about the way I look – every woman, whatever shape, deserves to be represented.
"Like most women, there are still days when I look in the mirror and think, 'urgh that's not me!' but that's all part of an ever-changing relationship you have with your body.
"I'm a mum now and I've got confidence I didn't have before because I grew and birthed a human being. Being sexy is about being comfortable in your own skin, not looking a model."
Last month, the actress won praise from fans as she posed in a lacy lingerie set at her Kent home.
In the inspirational Instagram post, Melissa said she was "ready to take back some ownership" after a year of breastfeeding and pumping for son River.
Talking to her followers, Melissa said: "Finishing breastfeeding after a year, I’m like OH HEY BODY, WELCOME BACK.
"It feels good to know I can start to concentrate on myself again, and take back some ownership after pregnancy and pumping.
"Starting on making little daily changes, whether that’s an extra caffeinated coffee, or underwear that isn’t for feeding a baby.
"This @beijalondon Waves set is STUH-NING.
"Delicate, and yet genuinely comfortable- and even though I was dreading a return to underwires, it is such a great fit that it hasn’t even registered!
"I had a virtual fitting with Julie, and I’d recommend it to anyone. She was warm, knowledgeable, and there was no awkwardness or anything at all."
Melissa added: "Who knows where my body is going to go from now, but I’m all about doing what I can to make myself feel good TODAY.
"And getting out of crop tops and maternity pants is certainly a good place to start."
One fellow new mum told her: "You are gorgeous! 😍 I’ve not moved out of my giant knickers yet 😂."
Another told her: "Oh hello yummy mummy 😍❤️."
The actress previously shot to fame playing Ian Beale's daughter Lucy in EastEnders between 2004 and 2010, joining the soap at the age of 11.
She was the third actress to put their face to Ian Beale's only daughter, but became the first recognisable star to take on the role and appeared as a series regular for six years.
The star announced in 2019 that she is engaged, sharing a snap of her dazzling diamond ring and the caption: “#ISaidYaass."
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