Heather Dewald
Heather Dewald
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Melissa Rycroft’s new ‘do symbolizes more than the average trim.

“A week ago, I cut 6 ½ inches off,” the Dancing With The Stars: All-Stars champ, 30, tells me during the Clearblue Advanced Digital Ovulation Test launch held at the Hotel on Rivington Penthouse. “I saw one of my good friends for the first time this week. She’s like ‘oh, you got the mom haircut.’ [scrunches up face] And I went ‘but it’s easy!’ The second I said that, I said ‘I’ve turned into mom.’

OK! GALLERY: SEE PHOTOS OF MELISSA RYCROFT, KELLIE PICKLER, ALI FEDOTOWSKY, KIM KARDASHIAN AND MORE IN THE VALERIE GALLERY

Taking on the title of “mom” changed her perspective when Ava, 2, whose dad is hubby Tye Strickland, was born.

“I felt the stigma right when I had Ava,” she confesses. “How am I supposed to act? What am I supposed to wear? What am I supposed to say? What am I supposed to do? It just happened. Once you forget about what society wants you to say and how they want you to dress, and cut your hair— it’s like ‘you’re a mom now, you shouldn’t be wearing that.’“

OK! GALLERY: MELISSA RYCROFT AND TYE STRICKLAND HIT MAGIC MIKE PREMIERE

Still, the woman who won The Bachelor in 2009 knows she’s not the only one struggling.

“Recently Kate Hudson came under scrutiny because she posed topless, and she’s a mother,” Melissa says. “It’s like ‘how dare you!’ I’m like ‘she’s a mom, but she’s still a person. She should still feel sexy and she should still feel good about herself.’ I think it was done tastefully. “

She continues, “I’ve tried to rebel against society and what they feel like moms should look like, but I totally did the mom haircut. Step one!”

OK! GALLERY: THE BACHELOR FINALE DRESSES OVER THE YEARS

Of course, the transformation into feeling comfortable as a nurturer took time.

“I lost myself a lot after I had Ava,” she says with a sigh. “I struggled to redefine who I was, and what my purpose was. I started having those conflicting feelings of ‘I want to be a mom, but I also really like my job, and I like to work.’ I felt bad saying I wanted to work. I felt like any good mom wouldn’t say that; all you want to do is be with your child, so it was a conflicting point of view in my head.”

OK! GALLERY: OK! EXCLUSIVE PHOTOS: FIRST PICS OF MELISSA RYCROFT’S BABY AVA

She adds, “I finally had to say ‘you know what? If work is what you love to do, and that’s what makes you happy, there’s nothing wrong with doing that.’ I do want to be a good role model for my daughter, that when she grows up, she can decide—‘I can stay at home, or I can be like my mom and do what she loves to do.’”

Melissa is excited to get the word out about the Clearblue Advanced Digital Ovulation Test, which is the only ovulation test that can identify a woman’s four best days to get pregnant—two more days than any other test on the market.

How has motherhood changed you or someone you know? Tweet us @okmagazine.

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