To her fans, Beyoncé Knowles is nothing short of an icon. She's known to her most avid fans as "Queen Bey", and has amassed an enormous following on social media - who dub themselves the "Beyhive". Her musical career has been nothing short of extraordinary, and to this day, she remains one of the best-selling recording artists of all time. She has received a staggering total of 22 Grammy Awards, as well as countless other industry honours.
Knowles is also a mom-of-three to six-year-old Blue Ivy, and one-year-old girl and boy twins, Rumi and Sir with husband Jay-Z. While notoriously private when it comes to her personal life - especially her children - Knowles recently opened up to Vogue magazine in a rare op-ed detailing the difficulties she endured in both of her pregnancies, as well as during the postpartum period.
Speaking candidly about her very private battle with a poor self-image following the birth of Blue Ivy in 2011, she admits she put undue pressure on herself to lose the baby weight in three short months. She even scheduled a tour to hold herself accountable. With her second pregnancy, however, she decided to approach things very differently.
"I think it’s important for women and men to see and appreciate the beauty in their natural bodies," she writes.
But something else happened during her pregnancy with Rumi and Sir that also caused Knowles to alter her course. In her piece for Vogue, she revealed that she suffered from toxemia up until birth. Toxemia - also referred to as 'pre-eclampsia' - is a serious condition that occurs in approximately five to ten per cent of pregnant women, and results in high blood pressure and protein in the urine. Most common in women who are over 35, women who are carrying multiples and those who have a history of diabetes or high blood pressure, toxemia can be fatal for both mother and baby if left untreated. While it cannot be prevented, there are certain measures that doctors recommend to ensure the best possible care for both mom and baby (or babies) - such as reducing sodium intake, frequent monitoring, drinking more water, and bed rest.
Confessing that she had been on bed rest for a month prior to delivering the twins, Knowles shared that Rumi and Sir's birth and the subsequent postpartum period was an incredibly scary time for her family.
"I was swollen from toxemia and had been on bed rest for over a month," she says. "My health and my babies’ health were in danger, so I had an emergency C-section. We spent many weeks in the NICU."
Today, thankfully everybody in the Knowles-Carter clan is happy and healthy, but Knowles reflects upon her difficult birth with not only a new appreciation for other parents who have experienced something similar, but also for other new moms who may also be struggling with their postpartum bodies.
"I gave myself self-love and self-care, and I embraced being curvier," she writes. "I accepted what my body wanted to be."
And that's why she is Queen.