One mom is defending her decision to get very creative with her maternity shoot online. On July 3, comedic writer Emily Murnane took to Twitter to share a screenshot of another woman’s maternity shoot.
The pictures showed a heavily pregnant woman with thousands of bees on her swollen tummy. As Murnane wrote on Twitter, “The queen is tethered to my belly inside of a cage. Poetry.”
It’s unclear if Murnane knows the woman in the photos personally, however, the woman in the photos is now speaking out after her pictures went viral. Bethany Karulak-Baker is a commercial beekeeper who is expecting a child.
And as Bethany shared on Facebook, these aren’t just photos of a “woman with honeybees on her belly.”
“About a year ago, I suffered an extremely traumatic miscarriage. I was hospitalized, broken-hearted, filled with self-blame, and distraught. As we drove away from Yampa Valley Medical Center, after losing our baby, I recall tearing up with the realization that my baby was left alone inside those brick walls; ultimately to be shipped away and examined. I fell into a deep depression for months following the unexpected surgery. I struggled with my mental health, with how to interact with friends and family, and how to continue my responsibilities as a mother and wife.”
It was a few months after surviving a miscarriage that Bethany and her husband learned they were expecting again. “Instead of embracing our new miracle, I remember feeling confused and apprehensive.” And so she kept the first several months of her pregnancy a secret. Then COVID-19 hit and made it all that much harder.
“This time was not only unfamiliar and bizarre but was also extraordinarily emotionally challenging. In spite of all this, our family grew stronger, and, in hindsight, I realize that the quarantine allowed me to grow my baby in a stress-free environment with phenomenal nurturing from my husband. There was a massive silver lining to this presumably dark cloud. We, as a family, grew to love and support one another more than I could have ever imagined.”
It wasn’t until she was 37 weeks pregnant with a healthy baby that she shared the images of the bees on her tummy with her friends, family, and unknowingly, thousands of strangers.
“I have emerged from these events like a butterfly from a cocoon; strong, beautiful, and ready to take on the world,” Bethany shared. “So, you see, this isn’t just a photo of a woman with honeybees on her belly. This photo represents much, much more. My only hope is that one day my children will look at this photo and see the warrior inside of me.”
After the photographs featuring the bees went viral and when the comments got out of hand, Bethany took to Facebook again.
“It seems things have grown a bit out of hand the past few days. It’s abundantly clear that people on the internet do not know that I am a commercial beekeeper with an observation beehive directly in my living room for year-round viewing of a live colony, founder of a non-profit teaching local youth about protecting the pollinators, saving the honeybees, and becoming beekeepers, all amongst other bee-oriented things. (Like selling honey to pay for my kids’ education!) […] So please do not worry about me or my babe. We have 15 days to go, and, as everything in my life, we are going full throttle till the end!”
Haven’t we learned by now not to judge mothers for their own personal decisions? If Bethany felt comfortable creating this memory for herself and her family, shouldn’t we just leave it at that?
Sara Vallone has been a writer and editor for the last four and a half years. A graduate of Ohio University, she enjoys celebrity news, sports, and articles that enhance people’s lives.
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