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Elizabeth Smart shares new family photo — and all the reasons she's grateful

TODAY logo TODAY 2017-05-19 Ree Hines
Elizabeth Smart family photo © elizabeth_smart_official/Instagr Elizabeth Smart family photo

Elizabeth Smart is counting her blessings — and sharing them with a new photo of her growing family.

The child abduction activist and journalist recently posted a belated Mother's Day image to Instagram that captured a picture-perfect family scene.

In the shot, Smart has her arms wrapped around 2-year-old daughter Chloe, while 1-month-old son James lies stretched out across dad Matthew Gilmour's lap.

"Grateful for Matthew giving me two beautiful children, grateful to my Mom for being the best mom I could ever ask for, grateful to all the strong women who have impacted my life so much!" she wrote.

Among the hashtags she included were "#blessed" and "#lovemylife."

Those are common enough sentiments in social media posts, but for 29-year-old mother of two, they're more than that.

Smart was kidnapped from her Utah home in 2002, and repeatedly subjected to physical abuse and sexual assault by street preacher Brian David Mitchell and his wife, Wanda Barzee. She was rescued nine months later.

Since then, Smart has not only gone to build a family that she's grateful for, but also to help other families by working to prevent predatory crimes with the Elizabeth Smart Foundation.

Becoming a mother has made her more passionate about that cause and more appreciative of what her own parents went through.

"When I had my little girl it felt like my heart was relocated in my throat,'' she told Hoda Kotb during a visit to TODAY last year. "Every second of my day was, 'Is she breathing? Is she OK? What does she need?' Now as a parent, going out and talking to other parents, talking to other survivors and hearing their story, I can't help but think of my own parents and what they went through."

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