A photographer in Canada is fighting back after her client was shamed online for participating in a sexy postpartum photo shoot.
Mel and her husband Gabby decided to participate in the intimate shoot after seeing a model call from photographer Trina Cary.
Cary told BuzzFeed News that she thought that the parents of three were the "perfect fit" for her vision.
"Let's showcase self-love, couples love, postpartum and body confidence all in one go," she said.
Mel said in a blog post shared by Cary that she wanted to do the shoot because she had struggled to accept her body after her pregnancies.
Mel gave birth to three children in 12 months. Her son was only 3 months old when she became pregnant with twin girls, and she said afterward it was "hard to adapt and fall in love" with her body.
"Every mom knows that it was worth the struggle for the end result," she said in the blog. "But it’s still hard. You don’t have time to think of the way you look most days, but sometimes you catch a glimpse of your body and hardly even recognize the reflection staring back."
She said that about a year after her pregnancy with her twins, she decided to "let go and started to celebrate the journey my body had been through."
"Not once did Gabby ever make me feel insecure about the way I looked," she said. "He still thought I looked as beautiful as the day he met me. It was time for me to feel the same about myself and set an example for my girls.”
The shoot was part of that self-love, and Cary shared the photos on her blog with the message, "Women, let us celebrate our flaws. Own our stretch marks and extra skin."
But Cary sad she was shocked and saddened by the response of people online. Some said Mel was too skinny to be insecure and called her a "slut and a hoe" for sharing the pictures, Cary said.
"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 said the comments bothered Mel so much that she has declined speaking to the media about the photos.
"She read some of the negative comments and they really took a toll on her," Cary said. "Words hurt."
Cary knew the couple before the shoot, so she said the situation particularly angered her. So, she decided to write a defense of her friend on Facebook.
She said she was shocked and saddened that Mel was attacked as a woman and as a mom:
I hurt for Mel. I hurt for any other woman trying to regain her confidence and do something for herself. The gist of the comments were people who aren’t comfortable with their own bodies lashing out at her - funny it was always her never her husband. Everyone is entitled to their own view and opinion but there are many other constructive ways to voice that without being rude and hateful. This session was not about two people being vain this was about learning to love yourself again. There isn’t one person out there who doesn’t want a nice picture of themselves that makes them feel good when they look at it. Some people even went as far as calling her a slut or a hoe, shame on you!!! This woman has dedicated her life to her husband and her children. She is fighting personal insecurities and your best comment is to trash her?! It makes me physically sick reading comments like these. Words hurt, people! I feel sorry for the authors of these comments because they are the ones who need a session like this most but will never have the courage or strength to do one. They are the ones shrouded in jealousy and insecurities and choose to reply out of spite.
She added that she also received positive comments and hoped everyone could read those and reflect:
Now that being said I also went through and found the positive comments. Of course the negative ones are the ones that stick with you. But we must not forget the impact this session had on the world. It wasn’t being reshared out of hate. It was being re-shared out of love. I saw it on my page with over 2000 new likes, countless private messages and new Instagram followers. This session inspired and I am so incredibly proud of Mel + Gabby for having the strength to show the world their vulnerability. So thank you for everyone who cried when they viewed these photos, who felt the love and who sat silently with a smile while they looked. You are beautiful souls and I hope that we can continue to help the world come together and build each other up instead of tear each other down.
Cary said she posted the response because she wants people to "see the love" behind the shoot.
"This session was done to heal so help her heal," she said. "It is about a beautiful mother who is learning to accept and love her new body and an amazing husband who has supported her along the journey. It is about women coming together and learning to be brave and confident and love themselves for exactly how they are."