Expecting the unexpected: Baby Talk with Shanola Hampton
By Dana DeMercurio
Shanola Hampton is one fit and fabulous mommy-to-be! We recently chatted with Shanola about her first time pregnancy, how she and hubby producer Daren Dukes are planning for their baby, and why taking time to breathe might just be your key to success as a parent. Check out what this fiery Southern Belle told us in this exclusive AKA Mom Magazine interview.
AKA Mom: This being your first pregnancy, can you walk us through your emotional reaction when the doctor announced first that you were pregnant and second, that it’s a girl?
Shanola: My husband and I had tried for exactly 12 months to get pregnant, which looking back seems like a long time, but really isn’t. When we found out we were pregnant, we were really surprised. Most people try to get pregnant and it happens in the first month. We thought maybe we were going to have to adopt. But once we let it go, which people say all the time is the key to getting pregnant and yet never very simple, it took all the pressure off and we were able to conceive. My husband and I have been together for such a long time so going through this process brought us closer. We are definitely ready for this baby! When I found out it was a girl, I was shocked. I honestly thought it was a boy because I had no morning sickness and everything so was easy breezy. I thought for sure a girl would have given me a hard time. We were able to do a blood test really early on and find out which sex the baby was.
AKA Mom: What has been the biggest challenge so far in your pregnancy, whether its diet, exercise, mood swings, and how has your husband been helping you through this experience?
Shanola: I’ve always been a ‘mind over matter’ person, and I try to stay in my same exercise routine as well and keep moving a lot. I obviously can’t do bootcamp anymore, which was a rude awakening. I think the hardest transition has been the weight on my legs. Ever since I was little I had a very high metabolism. Carrying this extra weight has been a huge adjustment for me. As far as emotions, I’ve been pretty in control because I don’t want to drive my husband crazy! I am married to the most amazing man, and he has been so amazing. Men also have a big transition and it’s funny to watch them change too; to see the nurturing side come out of them is amazing. Every step of the way he has been helpful.
AKA Mom: Have you felt your baby kick yet?
Shanola: Yes!! It was so amazing!! When I finally felt her move I called out for my husband to come see, and of course she calmed down before he got there. Just last week, we not only felt her, we saw her move around in there! It’s like a little alien taking over your body. At nighttime, she wonders why I’m not moving around as much, and she gets really active and starts kicking and moving around.
AKA Mom: As a first time mommy, do you find yourself completely caught up in all the pre-birth excitement of baby shopping, decorating and planning for your delivery?
Shanola: I’m obsessive! Even though I’m easy breezy, I’ve also got a Type A personality, and I like things very organized and on a set schedule. After we did her nursery, then I wanted to remodel the kitchen, which has now turned into a total home remodel. We found out the sex of the baby early so that we could pick colors. We didn’t want everyone buying yellow gifts and clothes for her! Everything is coming together though.
AKA Mom: What are you and your husband most looking forward to as new parents?
Shanola: I think what I look forward to the most is seeing her face right as she is born. I’m looking forward to that moment when she is here and I see this little being that’s been in my body and can finally put a face to her. We have lived a very selfish life together, having been just Daren and I for the past 13 years, and now we will have to adjust. It’s not just about him and me anymore, and I’m really looking forward to this challenge. He is just looking forward to her saying “Daddy!” We already know she is going to be such a daddy’s girl.
AKA Mom: How do you plan on juggling your new bundle of joy, being a wife, and acting on Showtime series ‘Shameless?’
Shanola: I don’t know! Right now, I’ve been so blessed. This show has just been so wonderful to me and has made it easy for me to be pregnant. Being from the South, you have your family to help out. I know I’m going to have to do a lot of it on my own, but I’m looking forward to that bonding time with my child.
AKA Mom: Speaking of the South, you were born and raised in the small town of Summerville, South Carolina, and are now living in Los Angeles. What are your thoughts or fears on raising your daughter in the all the glitz and glam of a big city compared to a smaller, more down-to-earth location?
Shanola: In South Carolina, it’s all about family and Sunday dinners; it’s just the way it is! In the summertime, all the cousins are growing up together like brothers and sisters. Down there we say ‘Yes, Ma’am,’ and ‘No, Ma’am;’ we don’t call adults by their first names either. In the world we live in now here in L.A., this isn’t reality. It’s not real life to have a mother on a TV show. We have discussed how we are going to balance this out, and we will raise our daughter how I was raised in the South. We will split our time between the South and the West. She will definitely grow up with that balance and have that Southern charm that I was raised with.
AKA Mom: For all those working moms out there with little ones at home, what advice can you give to them about balancing their busy schedules?
Shanola: First thing I would say is, take a deep breath. Don’t let the time of day overwhelm you. Do what you can with the time you have, and don’t worry so much about what you didn’t get done. I know there is a certain amount of guilt mothers feel when they don’t get everything done on time, but give yourself a break. People will try to give you a lot of advice, and although they mean well, just do what’s right and what feels right for you and your family. My plan is to just breathe and pray everything goes well.
AKA Mom: Are there any bad habits you and Daren will have to kick to the curb before baby arrives?
Shanola: I’m not the healthiest of eaters; I don’t drink or smoke, but I love sweets! They are my addiction. We will need to slow that way down. My baby is going to be a lot healthier than me, that’s for sure. We plan to make her own food, but we will see how long that lasts! And we both watch a crazy amount of TV, so that has to be taken care of too.
Stay connected with Shanola Hampton by following her on Twitter (@ShanolaHampton), and be sure to catch the season premiere of her hit series ‘Shameless’ airing January 12 at 9pm on Showtime.