It's a safe assumption to say that we all want to do good in the world. The desired scale will depend on the person, though. Do they want to work towards enacting policies that will positively affect an entire country, or do they simply enjoy helping out their neighbours with a chore? The ways in which we're able to do good grow and change as our lives do, with some even happening by complete accident.
That's what happened to one lesbian couple who decided to share their dual pregnancies, only to have their post go viral, serving as an inspiration to people around the world.
The decision to have a child is one of the biggest, most impactful choices someone can make throughout their lifetime. It's not always a hard decision as some couples are extremely enthusiastic about building families and raising children, but it comes with a total restructure of one's life with the baby in the center of it all.
Everyone's journey toward parenthood is also wildly different, as are the families that come of it. Some choose share theirs publicly for a myriad of reasons, like one couple from North Carolina.
Meet Melanie And Vanessa Iris Roy
In 2014 some photos of their collective path toward motherhood went viral after Melanie posted them to her Instagram account.
The picture was composed of two different shots, both of Melanie and Vanessa on the beach. The first shot features Melanie facing away from the camera, holding a bouquet behind her back, head turned towards a pregnant Vanessa as they kiss.
The second shot reverses the first. This time, Vanessa is facing away from the camera, kissing a pregnant Melanie, their first son sitting in the sand between them.
The Photos Were Taken A Year Apart
The post was a beautiful showcase of their lovely, growing family, and a tribute to the unique choices they made to achieve it. The world thought so too. Their posts were being shared far and wide, turning them into a viral sensation.
"It's crazy to see that people were referring to my family as an inspiration. We are still in complete shock," said Melanie when speaking to the Huffington Post about her and her wife's newfound popularity.
They Love Being A Source Of Hope
Melanie then went on to say that she and Vanessa had always wanted a family, and wanted to share the experience as much as they could. "Vanessa and I have always said we would both like to carry."
She also said she hopes the photos encourage other lesbian couples by showing them that not only is it possible for them to have a full, happy family, but that their journeys and experiences are worth celebrating just as much as any other couple.
On The Act Of Carrying
"The woman's body is incredible. The way it creates and grows another human being is amazing," Melanie said, "We hope that our picture is that sign that some women may need to encourage them to carry a child."
The couple was not shy about their respective time spent carrying their children, happy to showcase the changes their bodies went through and documenting their respective pregnancies. Their posts were shared to LGBTQ+ advocacy pages, where they gained hundreds of thousands of likes, as well as a rallying group of supporters within the comments.
They've Had Real Impact
Melanie later spoke to Bored Panda and shared some stories she'd heard from their newfound fans. "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 said, "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."
Their firstborn is their son Jax, with their second being their daughter, Ero.
A few years later, Melanie reposted the photo and reflected on all that transpired after.
"4 years ago this photo went viral. Two women. At-home artificial insemination. First try," read the caption, "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 then went on to explain that she and Vanessa had split, but were navigating co-parenting while still living together at the time.
Their Family Is Still Going Strong
If recent posts to Melanie's account are anything to go by, she and Vanessa are both still being incredible, loving mothers to their children. Jax and Ero are growing up fast, a sentiment their mothers probably feel far more than any onlookers.
Melanie is grateful for all the support she received after her moment of internet fame. As she wrote in her reflection post, "I appreciate each and every one of you.It takes a village and you are all part of mine."
Love Can Still Be Found In The Comments
On any post regarding Melanie and Vanessa's pregnancies, you can see tons of comments showing support and adoration for their bravery.
"My husband and I are struggling along on our own journey to start a family. What I see in these photos is truly inspirational. Love and new life. So beautiful. Congratulations!" reads one comment under the original post that started it all.
"Two words come to mind ... admiration and hope. High respect and wishes for an amazing beautiful life," says another.
A World Of Difference
Melanie was right; when their photo first made the rounds, seeing a gay couple be so open about how they're going about building a family was far less common. They chose to be bold in sharing their experiences and thus inspired many couples to do the same, following in their brave footsteps.
For Melanie and Vanessa, the decision to build a family was easy, as was the decision to be so open about it. These decisions were beyond impactful, changing not only their lives but the lives of people who looked to them as an inspiration. Knowing your family has sparked so much positive change in the world merely by existing must be a true blessing, the love you feel for your children being spread outward.