Beyonce with her kids Rumi and Sir Image Credit: Supplied

Cardi B is at the height of her career, but earlier this month she hit the pause button to give birth to a daughter she shares with fellow rapper Offset.

Still, the Invasion of Privacy rapper had planned to hit the road with Bruno Mars this fall for the remainder of his 24K Magic World Tour. On Thursday night, she released a statement announcing she was bowing out.

“I thought that after giving birth to my daughter 6 weeks would be enough time for me to recover mentally and physically,” she wrote on Instagram. “I also thought that I’d be able to bring her with me on tour, but I think I underestimated this whole mommy thing.”

She added: “Not only am I just not ready physically, I’m not ready to leave my baby behind since the doctors explained it’s not healthy for her to be on the road. I hope you guys understand that this decision has been the hardest to make but I have to do what’s best for myself and my baby!”

Cardi is just the latest celebrity to open up about her expectations of motherhood and confronting the reality of the situation.

It’s worth noting that plenty of mothers in America have no choice but to return to their jobs very soon after giving birth. Nearly a quarter of employed moms return to their jobs within two weeks of giving birth, according to a 2015 report by non-profit magazine In These Times, which analysed Department of Labour data.

Still, because of the wealth and fame that gives celebrities the best products, health care and nannies (or even nannies at all), it’s easy to think famous women are also super-humans with perfect pregnancies, trouble-free deliveries and easy entries back to their jobs. But even Serena Williams, one of the world’s greatest athletes, faced life-threatening complications during labour.

Williams opened up about the scary moment, and even filmed an HBO docuseries about her pregnancy and return to tennis. Her experience also highlighted the fact that black women are more likely than white women to suffer from life-threatening childbirth complications; Williams told the BBC that “doctors aren’t listening to us, just to be quite frank.”

“I was in a really fortunate situation where I know my body well, and I am who I am, and I told the doctor: ‘I don’t feel right. Something’s wrong.’ She immediately listened,” Williams said. “She was great. I had a wonderful, wonderful doctor. Unfortunately, a lot of African-Americans and black people don’t have the same experience that I’ve had.”

Williams has also opened up about other challenges of being a working mother, including missing her baby’s first steps. Many other working moms could relate.

We’re in a moment of celebrity where fans love to see their favourite stars get real and authentic, and being a tad rough-around-the-edges just adds to the charm. Cardi B is the perfect encapsulation of this; much of her stardom has been driven by her adept approach to social media.

But even more private superstars have also taken time off and returned to the spotlight well after giving birth. Beyonce, who gave birth to twins in June 2017, performed in April at Coachella. “I am so happy to be here. I was supposed to perform at Coachella before, but I ended up getting pregnant, thank God,” she told the crowd. “This is a very important performance for me tonight. I’m happy to be back on stage.”

Beyonce then explained how she came up with the entire show, and revealed that even for her, she had “worked very hard” to put the “Beychella” show together: “I had time to dream and dream and dream with two beautiful souls in my belly, and I dreamt up this performance” she said. “And this is more than I ever dreamt of it being.”

Whitney Port (of The Hills fame) had a YouTube series called I love my baby, but I hate my pregnancy chronicling how she was dealing with being pregnant. Previously, she thought pregnancy was “this exciting, beautiful, wonderful, magical thing, until I experienced my own, and it wasn’t all of that,” Port told Today in 2017. “I was feeling all these negative feelings. I thought, ‘What’s wrong with me?’ Why aren’t I more excited? Why aren’t I owning this?’”

Comedian Ali Wong taped both of her Netflix specials while pregnant, and tells jokes with graphic detail about going through labour and breast-feeding. Her star rose dramatically after the specials and earned her a legion of fans, including many women who finally were hearing experiences they could relate to, being joked about on a comedy stage.

In Wong’s first special, Baby Cobra, she addressed all of the pressures moms face, which she noticed even before giving birth.

“I can already see how there’s this crazy double standard in our society,” she said. “It takes so little to be considered a great dad, and it also takes so little to be considered a bad mom.”