Trina Cary was thrilled when married couple and new parents Mel and Gabby accepted her call to participate in a sexy postpartum photoshoot. The parents of three were the perfect fit for the vision Cary had in mind, but she didn't expect what followed after. Shortly after sharing the beautiful pictures online, internet trolls were quick to respond, calling Mel a 'slut' and a 'hoe' for taking part in such a daring shoot.
Mel became a mom to all of her children in a span of 12 months—her son being just three months old when she got pregnant with twin girls. Since then, Mel has had a tough time finding a way to love her body again, despite her husband's efforts to convince her otherwise. "Not once did Gabby ever make me feel insecure about the way I looked," she told Buzzfeed in an interview. "He still thought I looked as beautiful as the day he met me."
Which is why Mel decided to quench her fears and do this photoshoot—something that was totally out of her comfort zone. "It was time for me to feel the same about myself and set an example for my girls," she said.
Following the shoot, Cary shared the following images on her blog, along with a powerful message to every mom out there: "Women, let us celebrate our flaws. Own our stretch marks and extra skin."
Both Cary and Mel were hurt and saddened by the negative response they received for a project that was meant to evoke body positivity and self love. Comments ranged from people judging Mel for posing nude to dismissing her insecurities by saying she's too thin to feel badly about herself.
"People are cruel," Cary said. "I shouldn't have been surprised as I deal with haters all the time regarding vulnerable sessions, but I was in shock... The fact that people jumped at tearing her apart broke my heart. Insecurities are personal; you can't tell someone how to feel."
Cary shared similar emotions in a powerful Facebook post where she stands up for Mel, who told her photographer she "no longer wants to partake in interviews regarding the session because the negative comments have taken a toll on her and that she is not feeling healthy at the moment."
Moms today are held to unrealistic beauty standards, and this shoot was simply a way to celebrate postpartum bodies and all the changes they've undergone during pregnancy. There shouldn't be any shame in showing off a body you're proud of—post-baby or otherwise.