I’ve been around the block a few times and thought I had seen most of what the internet has to offer, but it turns out that some things can still surprise me, and the bee maternity photo shoot doing the rounds this week was certainly one of them.
The images, which show an expectant mother standing in a field with her belly covered in bees, went viral after comedy writer Emily Murnane shared them. The caption in particular left the Twitter hive abuzz with confusion and surprise. It read:
“I wasn’t stung once. The queen is tethered to my belly inside of a cage. We dumped the bees on me and they naturally began to beard. I was terrified as I am allergic (welts that last for weeks, don’t worry, this was approved by my doc), but it was worth it. This is roughly 10k bees.”
Wild stuff, folks. You can check the photos out below:
The queen is tethered to my belly inside of a cage. Poetry. pic.twitter.com/KyAJQLEza5
— Emily Murnane (@emily_murnane) July 3, 2020
It turned out that the bee maternity photos were originally shared by professional beekeeper Bethany Karulak-Baker. After they went viral, she came forward to tell her side of the story and share the moving tale of what inspired them.
In a Facebook post, Karulak-Baker explained that she suffered a miscarriage last year, and struggled with her mental health for months afterwards, even feeling fearful of telling friends and family that she was pregnant again.
She said that the love and support of those close to her helped her through this dark time, and that the photo shoot was meant to represent her inner strength:
“I am happy to say that I am 37 weeks pregnant with a healthy baby who will join us in a few short weeks. I am blessed beyond words that I have made it this far, through all the trials and tribulations, from the last 12 months. I have emerged from these events like a butterfly from a cocoon; strong, beautiful, and ready to take on the world. 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.”
The bee maternity shoot was criticised after it went viral, with many people contacting Karulak-Baker directly, so she took to Facebook again to assure everyone that she is a professional who is used to working with and living around the creatures, adding:
“[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! Now, if you will excuse me, I have to get to my weekend job, slinging honey at market.”