In June of 2017, Beyoncé welcomed twins Rumi and Sir with hubby Jay-Z, and almost a year later she gave birth to another life-changing creation—her history-making Coachella performance. In her new Netflix documentary, Homecoming, the superstar takes us behind the curtain of both transformative events, and we're still reeling from those glimpses into the delivery room!
"My body went through more than I knew it could," the 37-year-old explained of carrying her youngest children, which stopped her from performing at Coachella in 2017. "I was 218 pounds the day I gave birth. I had an extremely difficult pregnancy—I had high blood pressure, I developed toxic pre-eclampsia, and in the womb, one of my baby’s heartbeats paused a few times, so I had to get an emergency C-section.”
In a beautiful montage of her pregnancy and labour, we see a beaming Bey at an ultrasound appointment before flashes from the hospital following her c-section, Jay-Z still in his surgical gear and their newborns cozy in their hospital hats and swaddles. It ends with a stunning video of Beyoncé in bed doing skin-to-skin with her tiny newborns, looking the picture of maternal bliss.
The clips give way to an inside look at the rigorous lifestyle changes she made and rehearsals schedule she undertook to get back into shape and become the first black woman ever to headline the California music festival. And her going-back-to-work fears were so relatable (even if her work is a little different from ours).
“It’s my first time back home on the stage after giving birth. I’m creating my own homecoming, and it’s hard. There were days that I thought I’d never be the same, I’d never be the same physically, my strength and endurance would never be the same,” she explained, adding that while rebuilding her severed muscles was a challenge, one of the hardest parts was feeling so detached from herself. "A lot of the choreography is about feeling, so it’s not as technical if it’s your own personality that brings it to life, and that’s hard when you don’t feel like yourself.”
In scenes where Beyoncé is working out, Jay-Z is right beside her, massaging her muscle spasms and helping her stretch. And after limiting herself to "no bread, no carbs, no sugar, no dairy, no meat, no fish, no alcohol" (and being hungry, she admits), he's the first person she FaceTimes when she finally gets back into her pre-pregnancy costumes a month before the festival ("And it's zipped!" she exclaims).
Other montages in the doc show Queen Bey playing with one of her twins in an activity centre, her older daughter Blue Ivy watching her practice, and mom and twins being lovingly reunited after rehearsal.
We saw a lot of ourselves in the singer's struggle to return to work and find that elusive work-life balance, breastfeeding her twins in the trailer between rehearsals and worrying about not being present with her family. "Just trying to figure out how to balance being the mother of a six-year-old and of twins that need me and giving myself creatively and physically. It was a lot to juggle. It’s not like before when I could rehearse 15 hours straight. I have children, I have a husband, I have to take care of my body.”
In the end, she gave the world a performance that will never be forgotten, documented beautifully in this two-hour film and the surprise live album she released simultaneously. But Beyoncé also learned something major along the way.
“I definitely pushed myself further than I knew I could and I learned a very valuable lesson: I will never, ever push myself that far again. I feel like I’m just a new woman in a new chapter of my life and I'm not trying to be who I was. It’s just so beautiful that children do that to you.”