'One Life to Live' Actress Bree Williamson Dishes on Motherhood, Postpartum Depression and Losing the Baby Weight

Filed under: Celeb News & Interviews

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Actress Bree Williamson says being a mother is her favorite role. Credit: ABC

There are days actress Bree Williamson has no idea who she is.

That's because her popular "One Life to Live" character, Jessica Brennan, has been known to have multiple personalities just like her TV mom, Niki.

But off screen, Williamson, 31, knows exactly what her role is: new mom to 4-month-old McGreggor Edward Michaels, her first child with husband, Michael Roberts.

In her first interview since giving birth, Williamson sat down with ParentDish to share the joys of mommyhood and the one experience she wasn't prepared to deal with. An edited version of the interview follows.

ParentDish: Congratulations on the birth of little McGreggor Edward.
Bree Williamson: He is awesome.

PD: I love the name.
BW: Thank you. It was actually my mother's maiden name.

PD: How would you describe motherhood?
BW: It is a whole mix of things. It is really, really great and, at the same, time really, really hard. But I have to say it is so wonderful and I am having a great time.

PD: What has been the biggest shock since becoming a mom?
BW: The postpartum depression. I was so shocked. When they described it to me in the hospital, they said you are either going to leave here happy or you'll get it so bad you will need to go talk to somebody about it. What they never explained to me was the in between, middle part, where you feel crappy the first week and cry a lot. I had that. I was so shocked to get these mood swings after I gave birth.

PD: How do you know you had it?
BW: You get upset when you get home and you start thinking, "Oh, my God, I have to go talk to a therapist because maybe I will become withdrawn." No one told me it is completely normal to have this weird swinging of emotions where you feel amazing one minute and then you feel horrible the next. I think I had three big cries a day.

PD: How long did this last?
BW: About a week.

PD: Did you take their advice and reach out to someone to help you get through it?
BW: My husband was there and he was great. I had to remind myself, you are exhausted, too. I mean, don't get me wrong, I was having a great time with my son and he is such a good baby. But there was a period where I would just start crying for no reason.

PD: Is it easy to juggle the baby and your job?
BW: It is really hard. It's really hard to leave him every morning and it will be even harder when he can talk and says, "Mommy, don't go."

PD: McGreggor is only a few months old, but what milestones has he hit?
BW: The laughing and the smiling was awesome.

PD: What scares you about parenthood?
BW: I have had a couple of stress dreams, such as someone was trying to break into our apartment because we live in New York. I have that kind of anxiety and also the anxiety of him getting sick, such as a fever. But that is basically it.

PD: Have you mastered the work-baby-husband-family-friends balance thing?
BW: I don't think you ever master it, but I will say it is a work in progress.

PD: Since you are a popular actress in the spotlight, did you feel a lot of pressure to lose the baby weight quickly?
BW: Yes, I did. It was really embarrassing to gain 39 pounds on national television and, yes, the second the baby came out I was like, "Yes, I have to lose this baby weight immediately."

PD: How did you do it?
BW: I got this great meal plan called 5 Squares, where they send ready-made meals and snacks to your home.

PD: Your TV character, Jessica, also just became a mom to a little boy.
BW: She did.

PD: How do you think Jessica will do as a mom considering she has a history of having multiple personalities?
BW: She already has a daughter and, I am not going to lie, she doesn't do very well. I mean, when she is present she is a really good mom. When she is not present, she is awful.

PD: The big question: Who is her son's baby daddy?
BW: I can't tell you that.

PD: In February, there is going to be a double wedding. Is Jessica really going to tie the knot?
BW: I can't tell you that, either. What I will tell you is the wedding will be extremely dramatic.

PD: You once auditioned to be on this series back in the 1990s, but you didn't get the part.
BW: They were going to screen test me for the role of Jen, but then at the last minute they decided not to because I looked too much like actress Erin Torpey, who used to play the role of Jessica.

PD: Does it frighten you to see a lot of daytime dramas disappearing?
BW: I don't think it frightens me because they were on different networks and every network has an idea of what they want their agenda to be. I know ABC is committed to their soaps.

PD: What would you do if you learned you couldn't be an actress on "One Life to Live"?
BW: I don't know because I just want to do this.

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.