When North Carolina couple Melanie and Vanessa Iris Roy decided to share their pregnancy pictures online, they had absolutely no idea they would go viral.
And now, 5 years on from the stunning snaps being taken, the couple is hoping their story will continue to inspire other couples to take the leap and conceive.
Despite their children now approaching 5-years-old, the moms hope their photos will inspire other lesbian and gay couples to make the gracious leap towards being parents.
Now, any couple deciding to raise children is a big step but for gay parents, there are many more obstacles and many have a hard time executing the 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, often deterring them from having children at all.
Well, 5 years ago, Melanie and Vanessa decided they were both going to carry one child each.
While they documented their pregnancies online, the couple didn't expect their stunning photos to go viral.
The first set of pictures were shared in January 2014 when Vanessa was pregnant with their son, Jax. The second photo is from a year later when Melanie carried their daughter, Ero, featuring young Jax playing in the sand at their feet.
"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 moms hope that their side-by-side photos can serve as an encouragement to other lesbian couples. Melanie explained, "Vanessa and I have always said we would both like to carry."
"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."
It wasn't until after the photos went viral did they come out and encourage other lesbian couples to conceive.
Details of how they conceived were not disclosed but the pictures were shared on various LGBTQ+ advocate pages, including one from Brazil where it got more than 150,000 likes.
There are 3 main medical options for lesbian couples who want to have a baby. All 3 options have pros and cons depending on the medical health of the mother. The main options are donor insemination, intrauterine insemination, and in vitro fertilization. The first being a male donor's sperm being syringed into the mother, the second being similar to the first but by use of a catheter and finally, the final being where doctors use fertility medicine to encourage the development of multiple eggs in your ovaries.
Some couples may even choose to adopt, which has been legal in all fifty states since 2016.
In a post, online Melanie wrote, "I am so thankful for the life I have been given. For my 2 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."
We think Melanie and Vanessa are simply amazing and they set an incredible example for parents within the LGBTQ+ community!