Beyonce makes a lot of things look easy and effortless, but she’s not pretending her pregnancy or postpartum experience was.

In a cover story for the September issue of Vogue, the mother of three opened up about the reality of recovering after the birth of her twins, and it has been anything but easy.

After a month of bedrest and swelling from toxemia, Beyonce had an emergency C-section to birth her twins, Rumi and Sir, over a year ago. The family spent weeks in the NICU and the experience was traumatic. Beyonce “was in survival mode and did not grasp it all until months later.”

Mothers who have been through similar experiences know exactly what she’s talking about. She says many people underestimate what mothers go through, physically and emotionally, and that she now has a connection to any parent whose been through a C-section themselves.

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“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 explains.

After the twins were born, Beyonce’s body (one of the most admired bodies on earth) was different than it had been before her pregnancy. “I was 218 pounds the day I gave birth to Rumi and Sir,” she says, noting that her experience this time around, and the way she’s accepted her postpartum body are very different from what she felt after having Blue Ivy in 2012.

“After the birth of my first child, 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. I was still breastfeeding when I performed the Revel shows in Atlantic City in 2012. After the twins, I approached things very differently,” she explains.

“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 says.

Beyonce chose to remain out of the public eye for the first six months of Rumi and Sir’s lives, but by giving the world a bit of an idea of what she was going through at the time, she’s doing a public service.

Even if you have all the support and resources in the world, postpartum recovery isn’t easy. Pregnancy changes our bodies in major ways. C-sections are major surgery.

Beyonce makes most things look so easy, but we’re so thankful to her for telling the world that this is hard.

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