Melanie Roy (on the left in both photos) and her wife, Vanessa, posed for these photos one year apart. (Photo: Melanie Roy/Instagram)
Side-by-side photos of a same-sex couple, taken one year apart, are going viral this week. The photos show the couple standing on the beach — in the first, one wife is pregnant; in the second, the other is bearing a baby bump.
Melanie Roy posted the photos on her Instagram account after she and her wife, Vanessa, took a trip to Miami a few months ago. The first photo was taken in January 2014 and shows a pregnant Vanessa showing off her belly in a bikini. The second photo was taken in January 2015 on the same beach, and this time Melanie is pregnant — and the couple’s son, Jax, is playing at their feet. The photos were taken by the couple’s friend, photographer Elizabeth Kern.
“My wife wanted to put the photos side by side,” Roy, who lives in Charlotte, N.C., tells Yahoo Parenting. “We posted it to Instagram not thinking anything of it.” But after a Brazilian LGBT advocacy group posted the photo to its Facebook page on April 16, the picture started gaining attention, with more than 160,000 likes and 20,000 shares. “People are saying the picture has helped them realize that both partners in their relationship want to carry a child, or that they don’t need to be so hidden about their relationship,” Roy says.
Melanie and Vanessa Roy both knew they wanted to carry a child. They had their two kids exactly 11 months apart. (Photo: Melanie Roy/Instagram)
It’s unusual for both partners in a lesbian couple to get pregnant, Melanie Roy says. “In a lesbian relationship there is usually one person who is more boyish and one who is more feminine. I think this photo is getting noticed because the boyish one — that’s me — still wanted to carry a child and go through a whole pregnancy, which is a very feminine thing.”
Roy says she always knew she wanted to be pregnant one day. “Yes, I dress more like a boy than my wife, but the woman’s body was made to carry a child,” she says.
In this case, since both wives went through pregnancies, Roy says she had to do some backpedaling when it was her turn. “When Vanessa was pregnant, there were things she would complain about and I’d be like ‘it’s not that big of a deal,” Roy says. “Then when I was pregnant, I’d go through the exact same thing and suddenly understand what she’d been talking about. I had to apologize throughout my whole pregnancy.”
The couple’s daughter, Ero, was born in February, exactly 11 months after her brother. “I’ve never seen a kid as obsessed with another baby as Jax is with his sister,” Roy says. “We co-sleep and have a big bed and every morning he wakes up and crawls over me to give her a good-morning kiss.”
Roy says she’s thrilled her photo has gotten so much attention, especially if it helps others understand lesbian couples. “I’m hoping it will shine a light on our relationships a little better,” she says. “People see it as a boyish girl and girly girl, but we’re both women and this is what a woman’s body does. If there is a couple out there and they aren’t sure if they should both carry, maybe this will help them make up their minds.”