UPDATE: A Queensland mum whose bikini post went viral on Facebook has revealed why she has bigger things to worry about than cellulite and snipes from teenage girls on a beach.
Brisbane motivational speaker Julie Cross told APN how she had lost her husband 'Flash' on November 11, six years ago after she nursed him for four years following a stroke at 41.
Her husband died waiting for a heart transplant that never came.
Around the same time as her husband's stroke, her youngest son Tom, now 13, was diagnosed with autism.
It left her caring around the clock for both of them.
"(It's been) 10 years since I went to bed and woke up in the morning to my hubby not being able to walk and talk..... me thinking that when he couldn't walk to the toilet properly during the night that it was the sleeping tablets and cursing myself about it for years,
"10 years since Flash had his stroke and I lost him the first time, the disbelief, the grief, the not knowing what a stroke was, the telling my boys and not being able to answer their questions, the grief, the tears and then the, "I have to be strong" realisation."
Despite her personal struggles, Ms Cross has managed to raise two boys and motivate many others through her speaking engagements.
Her eldest son Jack, 17, plans to join the Army following in the footsteps of his late father.
Ms Cross made national headlines when a Facebook post of herself in a bikini was liked by more than 120,000 people in a day.
The Sunshine Coast Daily's post on her story overnight reached more than 3.5 million people - a new record for APN's Facebook pages.
She posted the picture after she walked past a group of young people in her bikini and heard the comment "I think she is over the bikini!".
The 46-year-old who describes herself as 'having child bearing hips and stretch marks on my tummy' then made the courageous decision to show she would not be intimidated.
Ms Cross said she thought it was 'a little sad' that women continued to worry so much about how they looked, or how their bodies compared to other women.
As her recent life experience has taught her, there are far bigger issues in the world than cellulite, she says.
She said she did not believe her Facebook post was 'courageous' - a term she preferred to leave for people entering a burning building to save someone.
But she hoped her post would empower more women to be themselves - and to be comfortable in the skin they are in.
Ms Cross said she was disturbed that even young women were continually comparing their bodies with someone else, regardless of their size.
"We are the ones looking at each other and playing that game.
"We are all doing that - even if the girl is a size 8 - she's looking at the size 6.''
Ms Cross, who speaks with mothers and daughters at motivational sessions, said she hoped that her story would encourage other women to have a 'strong, healthy self-esteem', regardless of their appearance.
Facebook post from 46-year-old bikini mum goes viral
A QUEENSLAND mum has been stunned after her Facebook post of herself in a bikini was liked by more than 120,000 people in less than a day.
Brisbane motivational speaker Julie Cross posted the picture after she walked past a group of young people in her bikini and heard the comment "I think she is over the bikini!".
The 46-year-old who describes herself as 'having child bearing hips and stretch marks on my tummy' then made the courageous decision to show she would not be intimidated by snipes.
" I faltered for a moment and then went on,'' she wrote on her Facebook post in which she shared the picture below.
"So this is me walking my talk...
"My name is Julie Cross, I am 46 years old, I am a size 10 on a good day, a size up on other days, but I don't look at the size anymore,
"I just buy clothes that feel comfortable.
"I have child bearing hips and stretch marks on my tummy that I am proud of because I carried two beautiful big nine pound healthy baby boys.
"I am healthy, strong, proud and happy... And you are invited to feel the same! And if I come your way and you don't like what you see then move away...
"And sisters, now is the time to start looking after each other!!"
The post has already attracted more than 1260,000 likes and been shared by more than 2600 people.
After being overwhelmed with lots of positive comments, Julia posted a thanks - but also pointed out:
"I just had a message from FB...somebody reported that photo for 'nudity'... bahahaha... what is wrong with some people!? Need a little loving I suspect..."
JULIA CROSS' RESPONSE TO THE POPULARITY OF THE POST
Wow, to say I am surprised, that a photo of me in a bikini and a plea to remember to love ourselves enough was going to get over 80 000 likes and thousands of comments, would be an understatement!
And so, a big sign that body image is still such an 'issue' for us women.
It is not about judging the people who judge but loving them, because on another day it may have been me doing the judging, because I too have been affected by the marketing that gently and subliminally coerces us to believe we are not good enough unless we look a certain way, wear certain clothes etc,
It takes discipline to catch your thoughts and remind yourself you don't have to buy into that fear, we are all miracles and we are all enough...
We look at a new born baby and we see a miracle easily, we look at those fingers and toes like it is the first time we have seen them and delight in their healthy rolls and cute dimples... we don't look at a baby and say ...well look at you you are a mess and with that nose life is going to be tough!
And then when we were 2 we looked in the mirror in the nude and delighted in our bodies... we also looked at others with no judgement, and that was when we were courageous, fearless and moved through the world with confidence... and then the marketing started its work...
Everybody looked at you as a baby in awe, and that is how we should all still look at each other, I mean we just grew up is all! And we looked at ourselves with love, that is what I believe, we need to remember and practice again...
Every relationship and conversation we have with others will be affected by the relationship and conversation we have with ourselves.
"I am a miracle, I am enough and so are YOU!"
THANK YOU! I wish for you an abundance of self love on this Monday morning!
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