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Ciara is well-aware of the power of her platform. For that reason, she uses her voice to promote things that help others, that motivate people, and that speak to women who look like her. “When I think about my journey I think about the opportunity to inspire so many other women like myself,” she tells ESSENCE.

An example of that can be found through her partnership with All Good Diapers. The brand is not only seeking to eradicate leaks while providing a stylish diaper, but also supply diapers to families in need. They have a goal of 10 million they’re aiming to get to families by the end of 2021.

“At this point in my life and my career, impact is so important. I really love working with partners that have that same goal in mind,” she says. “With All Good Diapers, the cool thing is, whenever you purchase a box of diapers at Walmart, a day’s worth of diapers are given to a family in need through Feeding America. That’s an organization that in our house we know very well, and it’s important to be able to give back in any way possible. In this case, of course for the children, this is about the new originals, the new generation of babies coming up and they really are our future.”

At the time that the partnership came about, the singer was pregnant with her third child, son Win. She carried him during the height of the pandemic, calling it the “longest pregnancy ever” because of the quarantine period. And despite her celebrity status, she dealt with the same restrictions and requirements as everyday expectant moms, sharing her experiences on Instagram with fans who could relate.

“It was crazy and trippy having my first ultrasound without my husband,” she says. “That was new.”

Aside from going to appointments alone, she was also forced to keep a mask on while going through labor.

“I took my first push and [the obstetrician] realized my mask was down and he was like, ‘Get that mask up!'” she says. “I was like, ‘Oh my gosh! Really? Right now while I’m pushing out baby Win?’ But it was the reality.”

There were benefits to that complicated time though, which hasn’t completely ended. She was able to breastfeed Win for nine months straight, which wasn’t possible with Future and Sienna because she always went back to work soon after giving birth. Russell has been home more. And she’s also able to work from home, including doing our interview in a chic picture-filled corner of her residence.

“I’m kind of getting a little spoiled that I can literally sit here and talk with you, have my interviews, do all this good stuff and then afterward, go right to my babies,” she says. “That’s the best feeling in the world. I’ve got to figure out what my new schedule’s going to be when it’s all done and good because there’s some positives to it.”

With everyone at home, she also has more time to train. After having her third child, Ciara’s been open about working her way back through exercise and proper diet (she’s a WW ambassador) to feeling like pre-baby, or as we agreed, “Goodies” era Ciara. She’s encouraged and motivated other moms to get moving, and also helped them understand a common postpartum condition that she’s experienced with each pregnancy: diastasis recti. It’s a separation of the abdominal muscles that can be caused by the physical changes that come with carrying a baby.

“The cool thing is I now know what it is. At first I didn’t know what diastasis recti was,” she says. “What happens is every time your body goes through that process of giving birth and expanding to create space for the baby, the muscles go right back to that place again afterward so I have to retrain my muscles all over again. Now that we know, we were able to dial it in much earlier on working on my muscles coming together and strengthening them and getting them back to normal as soon as possible. It’s still a process. I feel pretty good about where I am. I can feel the gap closing.”

She adds, “I’ve embraced it and I’m determined to like really get myself back as close as possible to having that core that I knew of before even having a child. I know it will probably never be the same again, but like I’ve always said, it’s my beauty marks.”

It’s also great to have a partner who embraces those marks. Ciara and husband Russell Wilson are approaching their fifth year of marriage and their influence as a couple is strong. They’ve given encouragement to women looking for their own prince charming, which she says is “really sweet” and “a blessing.” She hopes though that people are also inspired by the work she did loving on herself as a single mom, which allowed for the right man to enter her life and be a major influence on the life of her son, Future. That too is a message she wants to share to help others, in this case, to be able to love on themselves at all times, especially the hardest times.

“I really think if I didn’t take the time to redirect my thoughts and really be intentional with myself and really focus on loving me — I honestly thought I was going to be single way longer than I was and God had other plans. I like those plans, but there’s something really sweet to that moment when you’re by yourself, too,” she says. “I was a single mom before Russ came into my life and I know that’s a very vulnerable place, but it’s also a room for opportunity to really level up and really be the best that I could be for my son. Being the best I could be for myself allowed me to the be the best I could be for my son at that time. It also allowed me to be prepared when the love of my life came walking through that door.”

Check out more of our chat in the video above, including how she plans to celebrate Russell on Father’s Day, what makes them work so well as a couple (hint: it’s Jesus), and how she goes about finding balance as a mom, wife and artist.

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