New mom takes baby steps back to active career
It’s a journey of ‘bump’ and hormonal mood swings. But one brightened by fulfilment, discernment, and enlightenment. With new life comes new beginnings and Shamara Spencer has already embraced the good, the bad, and downright scary ordeals of motherhood. Today, this mother of one shares how she took baby steps to return to her career.
“I am absolutely in love with my son. The love makes all the little fears and doubts feel small after a while. But my heart [also] belongs to movement. Giving birth took a toll on me when I realised I couldn’t move as freely as I would love to,” she told The Gleaner.
The established choreographer and dancer recounted her pre-Mommy days juggling a nine-to-five life while commuting between Mandeville and Kingston for classes, rehearsals, and video shoots most weekends.
“I was always on the go, working my nine-to-five weekly. Most weekends I would travel to Kingston and teach dance classes. Some evenings in the week I would travel to Kingston for a rehearsal or a shoot and travel back to Mandeville the next morning for work,” she explained.
Spencer’s inspiring movement has graced the screen alongside popular local artistes like Jada Kingdom, Sevana, Amanyea, reggae Grammy winners Koffee and Kabaka Pyramid, as well as Sean Paul, just to name a few.
Although she had a pretty packed schedule going between parishes, the creative always managed to make time for fitness, attending the gym three times a week. She rose from slumber, jump roping in the early mornings, creating choreography and training in various dance styles whenever she got the chance.
Pregnancy presented a roller coaster of emotions, introducing both physical and mental changes. “More than anything, I was affected mentally. The hormonal imbalance was real. I always knew I was an emotional being but this took it to another level.”
By the time she got to labour, the mother-to-be was excited to meet her son. Unfortunately, the event included a traumatic experience that she was all too happy to overcome. “Labour was pretty manageable at first but then things started to get a little rocky. I am just grateful that all is well and that both the baby and I are fine,” she added.
Since her traumatic encounter, Spencer has identified the possible side effects and triggers, healing herself accordingly, “I did my best to express myself to those closest to me; I was very aware that something was different and I should take note of it. As soon as I noticed any negative effects associated with the trauma, I took note and did my best to communicate, even if it meant talking to myself. My weapon of remedy and recovery was communication.”
Her goal postpartum was to get back into the gym six weeks later. But life had other plans. So she decided to give it a test run and examine the results, “I started testing out movement but my body was not at 100 percent. I was still feeling weak and in pain, so after doing a check to see that mobility was fine, I went ahead and took another break for a month and a half to give myself more time to rest.”
Since officially returning to the artform she says it feels like dancing for the very first time, only in a brand new body, “It’s amazing. I felt extremely free and peaceful,” she said, adding, “I honestly am just grateful to be here and be able to move again. The real bounce back isn’t about the performance of the body and how you physically look, which most people tend to highlight. The real bounce back is protecting and prioritising your mental health. Maternal health starts with mental health and I am happy to have been aware of that.”
Going forward, her baby boy takes precedence over everything, and her goal is to give him as much love and guidance as possible. As far as work is concerned, Spencer is currently working on choreographing and releasing new dance projects; she currently had the Hot Gyal Soca Challenge delivered in time for the carnival season.
When asked about what advice she would give to mothers who are trying to get back to their healthier selves after having their babies, the boy mom confessed that she still hasn’t figured out the formula just yet. But what she recommends is that new mothers give themselves grace, “It doesn’t happen overnight. And it’s okay to have down days and not be excited about motherhood at times. Be honest with yourself about how you feel and speak to someone who will listen and understand.”