Being the first black woman to headline Coachella is a huge deal, and considering Beyoncé has a team of stunning visual media artists on hand pretty much at all times, it makes sense that she wanted to preserve that performance for posterity. Homecoming: A Film By Beyoncé just dropped on Netflix, but the things we learned about Beyoncé's pregnancy from Homecoming is just as compelling as the concert footage. A big chunk of the two-hour and 17-minute documentary is dedicated to her pregnancy and postpartum journey.
She was, of course, initially supposed to play Coachella in April of 2017, but her pregnancy derailed those plans and she wound up canceling. Bey gave birth in June of 2017, leaving her just ten months to prepare for the next year's Coachella. The title "Homecoming" is a sly dual reference to both HBCU homecomings, which was the concept for the show, and her triumphant return to the stage.
But the road was long and grueling. It's incredibly heartbreaking to hear the challenges Bey faced forcing herself to climb back to the top of her game in such a short period of time after what turned out to be a very difficult pregnancy. Her experience is both super relatable and completely awe-inspiring. Here's what her road to Coachella looked like.
The Pregnancy Was A Surprise
When Beyoncé first announced her pregnancy via an Instagram photoshoot in February of 2017, many people were speculating about the details of the then-35-year-old's conception. Now we know!
"I was supposed to do Coachella the year prior, but I got pregnant unexpectedly," Beyoncé reveals early on in the documentary. "And it ended up being twins, which was even more of a surprise."
She Had A Complicated Pregnancy & An Emergency C-Section
Beyonce gives a complete run-down of the health challenges she faced during her pregnancy and delivery — and they were numerous.
"I was 218 pounds the day I gave birth," she says. "I had an extremely difficult pregnancy. I had high blood pressure. I developed toxemia, pre-eclampsia. And in the womb, one of the babies' heartbeat paused a few times, so I had to get an emergency C-section."
She Had A Crisis Of Confidence
Beyoncé was genuinely concerned about her postpartum body and worried she'd never again be the performer she built herself up to be.
"It's my first time back home on the stage after giving birth. I'm creating my own homecoming, and it's hard," she says at one point. "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."
Getting Back To Dance Rehearsals Was A Struggle
In footage of her first post-pregnancy rehearsal, Beyoncé reveals that it's her goal to be able to do SoulCycle, stairs, and a dance rehearsal all in one day again. It was obviously incredibly difficult and she doesn't sugar coat it.
"A lot of the choreography is feeling, so it's not as technical," she explains. "It's your own personality that brings it to life, and that's hard when you don't feel like yourself. I had to rebuild by body from cut muscles. It took awhile to feel confident enough to freak it and give it my own personality."
Her Diet Was Intense
Beyoncé revealed that her Coachella prep diet was "no bread, no carbs, no sugar, no dairy, no meat, no fish, no alcohol." Added the mom of three: "And I'm hungry."
She Mentally Checked Out At One Point
Given the nearly insurmountable task she'd set herself to, it's understandable that a huge part of the struggle for Beyoncé was the combination of physical and mental endurance challenges.
"In the beginning, it was so many muscle spasms. Just, internally, my body was not connected," she said. "My mind was not there."
She Breastfed The Twins In Her Trailer Between Rehearsals
Like many back-to-work moms, Beyoncé just wanted to be with her newborns.
"My mind wanted to be with my children," she continued. "What people don't see is the sacrifice. I would dance and go off to the trailer and breastfeed the babies. And the days I could, I would bring the children."
Even Beyoncé Had To Figure Out How To Balance Working Mom Life
She may be Beyoncé, but she struggled to find and set new boundaries between work, self-care, and motherhood just like the rest of us.
"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," she reveals in the doc. "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."
The Era Of Her High-Energy Dance Routines May Be Over For Good
Beyoncé clearly pulled off a nearly impossible feat with Beychella, and she acknowledges that she likely pushed herself too hard.
"I definitely pushed myself further than I knew I could and I learned a very valuable lesson: I will never, never push myself that far again," she says with resolve. "I feel like I'm just a new woman in a new chapter of my life and I'm not even trying to be who I was. It's just so beautiful that children do that to you."
From the sound of it, Beyoncé may be ready to give up the high-energy dance routine era of her career and move into something gentler, but just as powerful. And no matter how she approaches artistry and motherhood from here on out, Beyoncé has an army of devoted fans ready to support her.