A New Mexico mom is encouraging other women to embrace their postpartum bodies and feel gratitude for all the little imperfections.
Amelia Olson-Hendrickson posed in a crop top for a mirror selfie she posted on Instagram. In the caption, she shared an empowering message about body image.
Olson-Hendrickson has a 15-month-old daughter. She said that after giving birth, she didn’t recognize herself. “I didn’t recognize my body or my identity or my arms or my brain or my words,” she wrote.
However, the mom added that she’s finally started feeling like herself again and appreciating the ways her body changed when she had a baby. She wrote: “184 lbs and still trying to find ways to honor my body and heart. Ways to find gratitude for all the things my body has and does allow me to do.”
“So, today, I feel thankful. For my body, my cellulite, my scars, my stretch marks my periodic adult acne. All of it,” Olson-Hendrickson continued. “Because this is me, and I haven’t anything smarter than to love myself and feel absolutely beautiful no matter WHAT.”
The mom encouraged others to adopt this attitude and see their own beauty. “Look in the mirror and find one thing to admire,” she concluded. “Now do it every day. You deserve to be your biggest admirer.”
Olson-Hendrickson told The Huffington Post the response to her photo has been overwhelmingly positive. Though a few commenters have suggested her body isn’t “out of the norm enough to deserve bravery points,” the mom said she’s fine with that opinion.
“The point of the post was to proudly boast about how I am feeling about my body and share the struggles I’ve encountered in trying to get to a genuine place of admiration and respect for all the things my body has and continues to allow me to do,” she said.
“Some days, I want to hide in a Target dressing room and cry and only wear sweatshirts for the rest of my life,” she added. “Other days, like the day I posted the selfie, I feel like a queen who can wear cute clothes and feel good about myself.”
Olson-Hendrickson told HuffPost she feels finally free from the pressure to please others. “Our society is so uncomfortable with wildly confident women,” she said. “My body and my confidence belong to me, and I get to decide how I want to exhibit my beauty and confidence regardless of if anyone agrees with me.”
Ultimately, the mom wants women to embrace self-love and a positive body image. “There is no good or bad body, only good and bad things we tell ourselves about our body,” she said.
Olson-Hendrickson would also like to dispel the notion that there are things women “can” or “can’t” wear. “Wear whatever the hell you want, if someone doesn’t like it they can turn around,” she said. “I think you’re perfect!”