Beyonce Knowles

Beyoncé‘s road to motherhood was not without its bumps, but they have taught her some valuable lessons.

In a January 2020 cover story for Elle magazine, the 38-year-old pop, hip-hop and R&B powerhouse gets candid about pregnancy losses she endured before she and husband JAY-Z welcomed daughter Blue Ivy in 2012, and how it affected the way she looks at her career and life trajectory.

“I began to search for deeper meaning when life began to teach me lessons I didn’t know I needed,” she answered a fan via Instagram, who asked if the singer was “disappointed not winning” more accolades for her album Lemonade and documentary Homecoming.

The latter was nominated for six Emmy Awards this year and won zero, while Lemonade lost out on album of the year at the 2017 Grammy Awards, to Adele‘s 25 — a turn of events that even Adele, 31, had something to say about.

“Success looks different to me now. I learned that all pain and loss is in fact a gift,” adds Beyoncé, who also debuts her new gender-neutral IVY PARK x Adidas collaboration line in Elle. “Having miscarriages taught me that I had to mother myself before I could be a mother to someone else.”

Beyoncé and JAY-Z, 50, would go on to welcome three children over the years: twins Rumi and Sir, 2½, and daughter Blue, who turns 8 next month.

“Then I had Blue, and the quest for my purpose became so much deeper,” the “Formation” singer recalls of the time following her miscarriages. “I died and was reborn in my relationship, and the quest for self became even stronger.”

“It’s difficult for me to go backwards,” Beyoncé continues. “Being ‘No. 1’ was no longer my priority. My true win is creating art and a legacy that will live far beyond me. That’s fulfilling.”

It’s still a challenge for the musician, businesswoman and mother of three, though, who admits “balancing work and life” is “the most stressful thing” for her.

“Making sure I am present for my kids — dropping Blue off at school, taking Rumi and Sir to their activities, making time for date nights with my husband and being home in time to have dinner with my family — all while running a company can be challenging,” she tells Elle.

“Juggling all of those roles can be stressful, but I think that’s life for any working mom,” Beyoncé says.

The star also reveals the question that really works a nerve is the one the internet is always posing. “Are you pregnant?’ ” she says of what she hates hearing the most, and quips, “Get off my ovaries!”

Despite those queries, Beyoncé says her body confidence is at an all-time high: “If someone told me 15 years ago that my body would go through so many changes and fluctuations, and that I would feel more womanly and secure with my curves, I would not have believed them.”

“But children and maturity have taught me to value myself beyond my physical appearance and really understand that I am more than enough no matter what stage I’m at in life,” she adds. “Giving zero f—s is the most liberating place to be.”

Elle‘s January 2020 issue hits newsstands on Dec. 17.