Beyoncé’s new Netflix documentary, Homecoming, dropped on Wednesday. Not only does the film give us a behind-the-scenes look at her absolutely incredible 2018 headlining Coachella performance (dubbed Beychella), but the superstar also shares details about what she was going through as she prepared for the groundbreaking production — including her recovery from an extremely difficult pregnancy.
In June 2017, Beyoncé gave birth to twins Sir and Rumi. (She and husband Jay-Z had already welcomed their older daughter Blue Ivy in 2012.) In Homecoming, Beyoncé reveals that the pregnancy was actually a surprise; she was supposed to perform at Coachella the year prior, she explains, before she unexpectedly became pregnant with the twins. Unfortunately, the pregnancy took a toll on the singer, and she developed dangerous complications. As she says in the film:
My body went through more than I knew it could. I was 218 pounds the day I gave birth. I had an extremely difficult pregnancy. I had high blood pressure. I developed toxemia, preeclampsia, and in the womb, one of my babies’ heart beats paused a few times, so I needed to get an emergency C-section.
Preeclampsia (also known as toxemia) is a severe condition marked by high blood pressure and protein in the urine, and is one of the leading causes of maternal and infant illness worldwide. The Preeclampsia Foundation notes that it affects up to 8 percent of pregnancies, and is believed to cause 76,000 maternal and 500,000 infant deaths annually, by conservative estimates.
Beyoncé also explains that she essentially had to “rebuild” her body. “There were days that I thought I’d never be the same … physically, and my strength and endurance would never be the same,” she says. But difficult rehearsals gave the star a new perspective: “I learned a valuable lesson: I will never, never push myself that far again. I feel like I’m a new woman in a new chapter of my life and I’m not even trying to be who I was.”