The North Carolina couple was pleasantly surprised when the pictures went viral and hoped it would encourage other lesbian couples to have their own children as well.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on June 7, 2021. It has since been updated.
The decision to have a baby is an enormous one for couples. It comes with its fair share of obstacles and issues. But gay couples have a harder time when making and executing this decision. Whether it is preconceived notions of parenthood or the established standards of heteronormativity, gay couples face a lot more challenges than a straight couple would, deterring them from having children at all. So when a lesbian couple shared their pregnancy journey, it served as an inspiration for other same-sex couples to start their own families as well.
Melanie and Vanessa Iris Roy are moms from North Carolina. They decided to carry a child each and document their pregnancies online. The stunning pictures the couple shared were not exactly expected to go viral, let alone become a source of inspiration for other same-sex couples to have children of their own too. The first set of pictures were shared in January 2014 when Vanessa Iris was pregnant and then went on to give birth to their son, Jax. Little Jax makes an appearance in the second set of pictures the couple took in January 2015 when Melanie was carrying their second child, daughter Ero.
"It's crazy to see that people were referring to my family as an inspiration. We are still in complete shock," Melanie told The Huffington Post. The couple always knew they both wanted to experience motherhood and wanted to carry a child. After their side-by-side photos started making rounds on the internet, they were pleasantly surprised and hoped it would encourage other lesbian couples as well. The pictures show the clear changes each of their bodies went through in the year apart, as they went on to become a family of two, to three, and then finally a family of four.
“The woman’s body is incredible. The way it creates and grows another human being is amazing. We hope that our picture is that sign that some women may need to encourage them to carry a child,” says Melanie. Details of how they conceived were not disclosed. The picture was shared on various LGBTQ advocate pages including one from Brazil where it got more than 150,000 likes. Melanie took to her own page to express gratitude for all the love they had received, reported the Daily Mail.
In her post, she wrote: "I am so thankful for the life I have been given. For my two gorgeous healthy kids Jax and Ero. For my kickass wife who is literally my best friend, my therapist, my lover, and my partner in life all wrapped in one. My parents for all the things they sacrificed to give me the childhood I had and the solid foundation built with family, love, and tradition. My wife's parents for accepting me as one of their own and always being there for us. This positive move to Charlotte wouldn't have been possible if it wasn't for them. I've also been blessed with great friends along the way. Tonight while laying next to my two munchkins my heart was filled with love thinking of how awesome my life is."
Speaking to Bored Panda about the positive impact their viral images had Melanie said, “We received one email from someone who said that after reading our story they got the courage to finally come out to their mother." She added, “It’s a great feeling to think that we can have a positive effect on so many people. We never would have thought our picture could do this.” In a more recent update on her Instagram page, Melanie wrote: 4 years ago this photo went viral. Two women. At-home artificial insemination. First try. It was a big deal because that wasn’t really something you saw often. Thank you all for wanting to hear our story. And thank you for still listening through all the changes."
She went on to explain that she has since separated from Vanessa and they are now navigating co-parenting while living together. She went on to state that it is something that needs to be seen more as well. "I appreciate each and every one of you," she concluded in the caption. "It takes a village and you are all part of mine."