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Beyoncé's Story Nails Why Women Need Time to Heal After Birth

Photograph by GettyImages

In her Vogue September cover story, Beyoncé revealed for the first time that she had an emergency C-section when she gave birth to boy-girl twins Rumi and Sir.

The essay, narrated in her own words, detailed the birth complications she had in June 2017. Her birth story is a powerful example of just how important it is for women to have sufficient time to heal after birth.


Instagram post by Beyoncé * Aug 6, 2018 at 1:03pm UTC

On the day she birthed the Carter twins, Beyoncé weighed 218 pounds. The mom was swollen from toxemia, also known as preeclampsia, and had been on bed rest for more than a month. Preeclampsia is a rare pregnancy complication characterized by elevated blood pressure and protein in the urine after the 20th week of pregnancy. It can lead to serious, even fatal, complications for both mother and baby. Both Beyoncé and her babies' health were in danger, so she had an emergency C-section and spent many weeks in the NICU.

"I was in survival mode and did not grasp it all until months later," she said. "Today, I have a connection to any parent who has been through such an experience. 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."

I was in survival mode and did not grasp it all until months later.

She's right—not everyone gets that moms need time to recover. It's a shame that the U.S. remains the only developed country that doesn't mandate employers offer new moms paid leave under federal law. It's not only about having time to care for newborns, it's also about making sure new moms have the space and resources to properly heal. Those who have C-sections specifically (about 30 percent of deliveries, or 1.26 million children a year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) have gone through major abdominal surgery. Women can take six to eight weeks to recover from the post-operation pain and bleeding.

Even Queen B herself needed time to heal, something she didn't realize after the birth of her first child, when she pressured herself into losing all the baby weight in three months and even scheduled a small tour. Notably, she approached things very differently the second time.

Now that we know what she went through, it makes her iconic photo with the twins, taken just one month postpartum, even more impressive.


Sir Carter and Rumi 1 month today. 🙏🏽❤️👨🏽👩🏽👧🏽👶🏾👶🏾

Giving herself that time to heal also allowed her to be patient with herself and to accept her new, fuller body.

"During my recovery, I gave myself self-love and self-care, and I embraced being curvier. I accepted what my body wanted to be," she said. "I was patient with myself and enjoyed my fuller curves. My kids and husband did, too. ... I think it’s important for women and men to see and appreciate the beauty in their natural bodies."

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