Carrie Underwood on Her 'Soul-Searching Year' Post-Accident: 'I Had a Few More Downs Than Ups'

"Nobody notices as much as you think they will, so that's been nice to learn," the country singer says of her tough year's silver lining

Carrie Underwood is finding her footing after a nasty fall.

In the cover story for Redbook‘s September issue, the singer got candid about the difficult year leading up to and following her accident last November, when she tripped on the steps outside her Nashville home as she was taking her dogs out. The injuries Underwood suffered led her to receive 40-50 stitches in her face and surgery on her broken wrist.

“It was … a very soul-searching year for me,” Underwood, whose upcoming album Cry Pretty will be released in September, recalled. “There were some personal things that happened. And I had the accident and all of that to get through … and just life. Life is full of ups and downs, and I might have had a few more downs than ups last year.”

Underwood, 35, had to gain her confidence back in the aftermath of the fall. “Any time someone gets injured, it looks pretty bad in the beginning, and you’re like, ‘What is this going to wind up like?’ You just don’t know,” she said.

She continued, “It was also a perception thing, because I look at myself [now] and I see it quite a bit, but other people are like, ‘I wouldn’t have even noticed.’ Nobody else looks at you as much as you think they do. Nobody notices as much as you think they will, so that’s been nice to learn.”

<a href="" data-inlink="true">Carrie Underwood</a> CR: Redbook

In June, radio host Bobby Bones told PEOPLE Now about Underwood’s experience: “I think she feels that she looks different because she wrote that in her letter to the fans especially early on. She said, ‘I may not look the same,'” he commented. “I don’t know that I would’ve even noticed it.”

During her recovery, Underwood has contended with rumors about her injury.

“I’m on some magazine every other week for something crazy,” she told Redbook. “It’s a little sad, because the truth is just as interesting. I wish I’d gotten some awesome plastic surgery to make this [scar] look better. But I try not to worry too much about it.”

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Underwood — who shares son Isaiah, 3, with hockey player husband Mike Fisher, 38 — is keeping her priorities straight: “My mom will be like, ‘Did you see they are saying this about you?’ And I’ll be like, ‘Mama, I don’t care. I’m just trying to raise my son and live my life.’”

And she certainly has been. Beginning with a standing ovation at the ACM Awards in April, Underwood’s comeback has been in full swing, from visiting American Idol — where she performed a soaring version of her song “Cry Pretty” — to celebrating her 10-year anniversary at the Grand Ole Opry, as well as working hard on her forthcoming album Cry Pretty. In June, the singer won her 18th CMT Award, continuing her streak of being the winningest artist in CMT history.

<a href="" data-inlink="true">Carrie Underwood</a> CR: Redbook

She has a message for young women struggling with self-perception.

“The first thing I would tell them is that we’re all insecure; that’s just called being human,” Underwood said. “I feel like the most important thing to realize is that even people who seem to be superconfident have insecurities that they are dealing with.”

She added, “Honestly, you just do the best you can. Don’t worry about things you can’t change.”

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