Beyoncé: I Had to Figure Myself Out Before Having a Baby

UPDATED 10/11/2011 at 12:00 PM EDT Originally published 10/11/2011 at 08:00 AM EDT

Beyonce Due in February after Focusing on Relationship, Career
Courtesy Harper's Bazaar
Beyoncé is thrilled about motherhood. But she never would have gotten there without focusing on her womanhood first.

"It was important to me that I gave myself time to focus on becoming the woman I want to be, building my empire, my relationship, and my self-worth, before I became a mother," the singer, 30, tells Harper's Bazaar in its November issue, on newsstands Oct. 25. "Now God has blessed us with the ultimate."

Beyoncé, who announced she is due in February, speaks at length in the interview about her husband, Jay-Z, in particular.

"We have been together since I was 20 years old. We took our time and developed an unbreakable friendship before we got married," she says. "But, like anything great and successful in your life, marriage takes hard work and sacrifice. It has to be something both you and your husband deeply want."

She adds: "The best thing about marriage is the amount of growth you have because you can no longer hide from your fears and insecurities. There's someone right there calling you out on your flaws and building you up when you need the support. If you are with the right person, it brings out the best version of you."

These days, she's more confident than ever in all aspects of her life, personal and professional.

"I am finally at the stage in my life where I am not so concerned with other people's opinions about my life decisions," she says. "It is so liberating to really know what I want, what truly makes me happy."

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