After more than a month of speculation, Beyoncé has officially revealed the first photograph of her twins, Sir Carter and Rumi. The photo itself, which was posted on Instagram, has garnered more than 5 million likes at the time of this writing. It's a thing of beauty: Beyoncé stands in her birth of Venus pose in front of a backdrop of vibrant flowers, holding her 1-month-old twins while she wears an open, flowing purple and floral robe and a blue veil. There's a lot to be said about the photograph, but the one thing we're not saying about Beyonce's twin photo is arguably the most important, most powerful statement Queen Bey has made since announcing her twin pregnancy.
It's not the hidden meanings found throughout the photograph, of which there are more than a few. The blue veil, for instance, could easily be a symbol of women's piety, per early Christian iconography. In Christianity, "you veil something because it is powerful and the veil is to protect those outside of it from the power beneath it," Women in the Scriptures explains. The color purple, of course, stands for royalty, which the twins arguably are.
It's not the manner in which Beyoncé has been able to control her own narrative, either. In an era when information is free-flowing and incriminating secrets are tweeted out by presidents' sons with reckless abandon, it's nothing short of unbelievable that Beyoncé, who is one of the biggest stars on the planet, has managed to reveal her twins on her own terms, in her own time, and in whatever manner she sees fit.
No, perhaps the most important thing about Beyoncé's new photo is how it is an unapologetic celebration of her high-risk pregnancy, after she suffered an already very public and devastating pregnancy loss.
In 2013, Beyoncé opened up about her miscarriage in her HBO documentary Life Is But a Dream, speaking about her previous pregnancy loss in a rare moment of candor. "About two years ago, I was pregnant for the first time," Beyoncé says in one scene. "And I heard the heartbeat, which was the most beautiful music I ever heard in my life." The now mother-of-three went on to say that she was "overjoyed," saying she picked out names, thought about what her child would look like, and was overall feeling very maternal.
Then Beyoncé starts to detail the moment she realized she was no longer pregnant, saying:
"I flew back to New York to get my check up — and no heartbeat. Literally the week before I went to the doctor, everything was fine, but there was no heartbeat."
According to the American Pregnancy Association, anywhere from 10-25 percent of all clinically recognized pregnancies will end in miscarriage. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), miscarriage is the most common type of pregnancy loss, but the commonality of the experience does not negate the pain, or the feeling of a personal, unique loss others simply can't understand. And while every woman handles miscarriage and/or pregnancy loss differently and in her own way, Beyoncé's past comments surrounding her experience highlight a time of immense sadness and intense grief.
How will I be able to announce a pregnancy I fear will come to an abrupt and unexpected end? How will I pose proudly and defiantly, perhaps with my son by my side, or my partner, knowing that pregnancy could vanish?
I have experienced three miscarriages since the birth of my son almost three years ago. Throughout every single one of those pregnancy losses, I have felt a number of emotions, including pain, self-hatred, relief, guilt, sadness, and even comfort. Every loss, regardless of my reaction to it, has made me that much more hesitant to celebrate any subsequent pregnancy I may experience in the future. How will I be able to announce a pregnancy I fear will come to an abrupt and unexpected end? How will I pose proudly and defiantly, perhaps with my son by my side, or my partner, knowing that pregnancy could vanish?
I am not a close, personal friend of Beyoncé's, nor am I a mind-reader, so I have no idea how she felt after her miscarriage, or how she felt when she found out she was pregnant with her daughter, Blue Ivy, or her twins, Sir Carter and Rumi. However, in a song Beyoncé's husband, JAY-Z, released two days after Blue Ivy's birth, titled "Glory," a few choice lyrics paint a picture of hesitation and understandable angst that many woman (not to mention, couples) feel after going through a painful pregnancy loss.
"Last time the miscarriage was so tragic/We was afraid you disappeared but nah baby, you magic.”
The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) states that approximately 80 percent of miscarriages occur in the first trimester of any pregnancy, which is why most soon-to-be mothers are advised to announce their pregnancies only after 12 weeks. There are numerous causes for a miscarriage, including hormonal imbalance and chromosomal abnormalities, which make the miscarriages completely outside of a mother's control. That loss of control is arguably what makes any pregnancy following a miscarriage so difficult: you're acutely aware that you are no longer in charge of everything that goes on in and to your body. You are, for lack of a better term, simply along for the ride: at the mercy of fate or god or circumstance or the cosmic cards of chance, leaning on your own belief system, or lack thereof, to see you through the unknown.
Which is why Beyoncé's vibrant pregnancy announcement and twin reveal is inspiring and brave. Miscarriage has been part of Beyoncé's story; a story that has ended with the birth of three children. The painful parts of pregnancy have been intertwined with the joyous parts: the parts that break Instagram records and leave fans jonesing for one more picture, one more detail, one more look into the life of someone seemingly perfect and other-worldly.
Beyoncé's vibrant pregnancy announcement and twin reveal is inspiring and brave.
Beyoncé is human, and she experienced a very human loss that left her, in her own words, experiencing "the saddest thing I've ever been through." She has come out of the other side of pregnancy loss, and she is unapologetically celebrating her pregnancies with the acute knowledge that while it's not always easy, pain can beget beauty, loss can beget joy, and a miscarriage can be just one part of a story that ends with a superstar holding her twins.