The Voice

EXCLUSIVE: The Voice's Kelly Rowland says becoming a mum made her question her identity

''I was so unsure about myself.''

By Amber Giles
Despite having belted out the lyrics to empowering and motivating songs for women across the globe, such as Independent Woman and Survivor, singer Kelly Rowland admits there was a point in her life where she questioned her position in the world. And it was the day she became a mother.
"I was so unsure about myself," Kelly, 39, tells TV WEEK of her first few moments stepping into motherhood.
Mum-of-one Kelly struggled after she had her son, Titan. (Image: Nine Network)
The Voice coach and long-time member of US group Destiny's Child alongside Beyoncé Knowles and Michelle Williams admits she looked to other women in Hollywood during this time.
"I was reading about actress Susan Sarandon after she had her baby," Kelly says. "She kept thinking about the fact that in some of her movies she's a sexy siren or vixen – and was nervous about having a baby because she didn't know if people would find her sexy again.
"After I released my song Motivation, it was such a pivotal moment in my solo career, because it was like 'Oh, Kelly Rowland – she's a woman.'
"I was so happy to embrace that. But I kept thinking after having a baby, 'Will I still be a siren?' Whatever the hell that means!" [Laughs]
With son Titan and husband Tim. (Image: Instagram @kellyrowland)
Although she was in love with her baby boy, Titan, now five, Kelly said the identity shift rattled her.
"It took me a while to find my mojo," she says. "I lost my mojo and was upset – I wanted to exude all this confidence, but didn't know if it was there."
Kelly was aware her mental health could take a hit once she became a mother, and looked to close girlfriends to make sure she had support.
"That was the one thing that made me so nervous," she explains. "I know sometimes there are mothers who go through post-natal depression – I didn't, but that's real too. I had a really great tribe around me with my sisters and my family, so I was completely covered."
Motherhood and its uncertainties inspired her to write the parenting handbook, Whoa Baby! A Guide For New Moms Who Feel Overwhelmed And Freaked Out in 2017. Kelly says she's still constantly helping women facing a change in identity.
"I think it's important to check in on each other when we do have kids," she says. "The women who don't have a tribe are the ones you have to check in with – we have to do that as women."
Kelly said the identity shift when she had her son Titan rattled her. (Image: Instagram @titanjewell)
Kelly also admits it took having a baby to realise how important her health is, and that she had to make herself a priority.
"I think it's about appreciating your body at every stage it's in," she says. "When I had my son, I was so hard on myself. And when I lost my mum to cardiac arrest, I thought it's not about vanity anymore as much as it is about health and making sure my body can support itself."
Kelly ticks into a new decade when she turns 40 next year. While some might be nervous about approaching a milestone birthday, Kelly is proud to be heading into her forties as the fittest she has been.
"I like to take a nude photo for myself every 10 years," she admits. "I got it [the idea] from Kim Cattrall, who played Samantha in Sex And The City. When she hit 40, she took a photo of herself nude and I thought, 'You know what? That's a really good idea!'"
WATCH BELOW: Kelly Rowland shows off her fit body as she works out in the gym. Post continues after video...
The singer recently posted a shot of herself in a bikini to Instagram with the hashtag of her age, "39", but Kelly wants to make it clear why she put the photo out into the world.
"It's not about being skinny," she says. "It's about being fit, and that means a lot to me. There's so much pressure to have the "bounce-back body" after having a baby, which is too much pressure to put on ourselves as women. That's just not fair.
"For me, when I post my picture, it's not about how many abs you have or how skinny you are – that's bullsh*t – it's more about how you are taking care of yourself. Self-care is more important right now during this time than it has ever been."
While a strict diet and training helps keep Kelly fit, she says she loves to treat herself when she needs it.
"I think it's fine to let yourself go and have cookies and hamburgers, because that's my favourite thing," she says.
"But you also want to have food to fuel the body and not just for comfort. Where I come from in the South, food is all about comfort and family, so I need to retrain my brain."
"It's not about being skinny. It's about being fit, and that means a lot to me." (Image: Instagram @kellyrowland)
Considering Kelly has written the book on how hard motherhood can be and is now the fittest she has been, the question begs: would she go back and have another baby?
"Absolutely!" she says without missing a beat. "The thing is, having a baby is so sexy – and being able to trust your body and mind to bring a child into the world is a blessing.
"I would definitely have another one. My son has been asking for one – he would be a fantastic big brother."
While she hasn't added number two just yet, Kelly is focusing on her other baby right now, which is The Voice – and doing her best to be this season's winning coach.
Singer Guy Sebastian – one of the show's quartet of coaches alongside Kelly, Boy George and Delta Goodrem – says Kelly has brought the fire this season, although she's quick to laugh off the comment.
The Voice judges are all keen to win. (Image: Nine Network)
"We all have the fire, we all want to win!" she says. "I wear my heart on my sleeve – to a fault sometimes – but at the same time, you have artists who come in and they have stories to tell. And when you connect with them or the song it ups the ante for everyone."
With international coaches Kelly and Boy George unable to fly into Australia due to COVID-19 restrictions, a decision is yet to be made as to how the second half of the 2020 season of The Voice will play out, but Kelly isn't concerned.
"We're all trying to figure it out and keep up that energy," she explains.
"As coaches, we're passionate and want to see our artists thrive. We like to work with them [in person], so we're trying to find our footing. We'll get it – we all still want to win because we're quite competitive!"

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