Global superstar Beyonce in a first-person cover story for Vogue opens up about a major health scare she faced last year during her pregnancy and the delivery of her twins, Sir and Rumi.
In a wide-ranging interview titled, "Beyoncé in Her Own Words: Her Life, Her Body, Her Heritage," the singer and businesswoman writes about pregnancy and body acceptance, revealing for the first time that she went into "survival mode" after the birth of her twins.
The 36-year-old superstar admits that after the birth of her first child, Blue Ivy, "I believed in the things society said about how my body should look."
"I put pressure on myself to lose all the baby weight in three months, and scheduled a small tour to assure I would do it. Looking back, that was crazy," she writes.
In her pregnancy with the twins, the icon faced a serious health scare, she writes, "I was 218 pounds the day I gave birth to Rumi and Sir. I was swollen from toxemia and had been on bed rest for over a month. My health and my babies’ health were in danger, so I had an emergency C-section."
Beyonce and her husband Jay Z, 48, welcomed the twins last summer.
"We spent many weeks in the NICU. My husband was a soldier and such a strong support system for me," she continues. "I was in survival mode and did not grasp it all until months later."
In the powerful, candid essay, Beyonce also talks about the changes her body went through after such a physical ordeal.
"After the C-section, my core felt different. It had been major surgery. Some of your organs are shifted temporarily, and in rare cases, removed temporarily during delivery. I am not sure everyone understands that. I needed time to heal, to recover," she adds.
This is where Beyonce made sure to approach things differently than she had years prior with her first child.
"During my recovery, I gave myself self-love and self-care, and I embraced being curvier. I accepted what my body wanted to be. After six months, I started preparing for Coachella. I became vegan temporarily, gave up coffee, alcohol, and all fruit drinks. But I was patient with myself and enjoyed my fuller curves. My kids and husband did, too," she adds.
For this particular cover shoot for Vogue, Beyonce says she stripped away "the wigs and hair extensions" and was sparse on makeup to inspire other women to embrace their natural bodies.
"To this day my arms, shoulders, breasts, and thighs are fuller. I have a little mommy pouch, and I’m in no rush to get rid of it. I think it’s real," she writes.
But don't for one second think Beyonce won't "go into beast zone and work my a-- off" when she's ready to lose the added weight.
The essay didn't just focus on Bey's twins and health, she also wrote about her ancestry and her hopes for her legacy.
"I researched my ancestry recently and learned that I come from a slave owner who fell in love with and married a slave," she writes. "I questioned what it meant and tried to put it into perspective. I now believe it’s why God blessed me with my twins. Male and female energy was able to coexist and grow in my blood for the first time."
"I now feel so much more beautiful, so much sexier, so much more interesting. And so much more powerful."
She also spoke about the mental maturity and power she feels that she has only just begun to harness.
"I look at the woman I was in my 20s and I see a young lady growing into confidence but intent on pleasing everyone around her. I now feel so much more beautiful, so much sexier, so much more interesting. And so much more powerful," she adds.
Everyone remembers her game-changing Coachella performance from earlier this year that became the most-tweeted about, most-viewed performance in the history of the event on YouTube and other platforms.
"I had a clear vision for Coachella. I was so specific because I’d seen it, I’d heard it, and it was already written inside of me," she writes.
During her performance, Beyonce sang "Lift Every Voice and Sing," known as the black national anthem, and quoted Malcolm X in between songs.
"I know that most of the young people on the stage and in the audience did not know the history of the black national anthem before Coachella. But they understood the feeling it gave them," she explains. "It was a celebration of all the people who sacrificed more than we could ever imagine, who moved the world forward so that it could welcome a woman of color to headline such a festival."
"They don’t have to be a certain type or fit into a specific category. They don’t have to be politically correct, as long as they’re authentic, respectful, compassionate, and empathetic" - Beyonce on raising her daughters.
As the mother of two girls, Beyonce says she wants them to know that they can be anything, "CEOs, as bosses, and that they know they can write the script for their own lives."
"They don’t have to be a certain type or fit into a specific category. They don’t have to be politically correct, as long as they’re authentic, respectful, compassionate, and empathetic," she writes. "I want the same things for my son. I want him to know that he can be strong and brave but that he can also be sensitive and kind. I want my son to have a high emotional IQ where he is free to be caring, truthful, and honest. It’s everything a woman wants in a man, and yet we don’t teach it to our boys."