All My Children star Alicia Minshew says she is seeing the world through new eyes since welcoming daughter Willow Lenora, 4 months.
“I would do anything for her,” the actress tells Soap Opera Digest before quipping, “I am now capable of murder.”
“[Husband] Richie [Herschenfeld] and I talk about this! I said, ‘If anybody were to hurt my child in any way, I am capable of killing somebody.’ The two of us both! I pity the fool!”
Even though Willow has been a “dream baby” who is “forever smiling,” “chatty” and “giggly,” Minshew, 35, confesses that she still had difficulty making the transition to motherhood — which arrived a month ahead of schedule.
“When we first brought her home, she was so small, it was scary,” she explains. “I was so exhausted for the first month, I was irrational.”
Briefly returning to work at just four weeks postpartum didn’t help, either.
“It was horrible,” Minshew adds. “I don’t recommend that, but I had to finish those scenes … I cried all morning. I showed up to work a mess, puffy eyes. I was so happy to see everybody, though, and I got through it.”
The last time Minshew had been on set, there was a different sort of drama altogether when her water broke just as she was entering hair and makeup.
“Next thing I hear is, ‘Kendall on set. Kendall on set,'” Minshew recalls. “I was like, ‘Can you tell them I can’t make it?'”
Costar Thorsten Kaye jumped into action, driving Minshew home to Herschenfeld. When Willow was born at 6:42 a.m. the next day, her connection to All My Children was readily apparent.
“Rebecca [Budig] was one of the first people to hold her, and Thorsten,” Minshew shares. “Seeing the people I love holding her was surreal and amazing.”
That much was evident when Minshew’s mother arrived at the hospital. “She came in and I said, ‘That’s her, Mom!,” Minshew shares. “When my mom held her, the first grandchild, forget it … Me, Richie and my mom were all in tears!”
With her scenes complete for now, Minshew says she is settling into her maternity leave.
“I do feel a little removed from [the show] because I’m so consumed with Willow,” she explains. “I’ve chosen not even to turn on the TV and see what’s going on because I want to be separated from it right now.”
In a few weeks, however, her obligation to the long-running soap will be unavoidable for Minshew is due to fly to California for filming.
“I think it’ll be fun,” the soap star says, noting that it will be baby’s first flight. “I’m a little nervous, but I’ll have my husband with me and I think it’ll be good.”
When all else fails, Minshew admits she has something to fall back on: nursing!
“I’ll just put her on my boob,” she says with a laugh. “That’s the thing about breastfeeding; It calms her right down. I’ll do it the whole flight!”
The show has recently relocated to the West Coast, and Minshew admits that it presents some logistical challenges.
“It’s going to be tricky because Richie’s life is [on the East Coast], his businesses are here, so we’re going to have to find a way for him to go back and forth,” she laments.
“It’s not the best situation and it sort of bums me out, but I am lucky that I have a job that allowed me to take such a long break.”
While on her upcoming trip, Minshew says she’ll be house-hunting and taking stock of how she’s feeling throughout the day.
“I think [it] will be more telling as to, ‘What can I handle? What kind of schedule can I work? When do we come out there? How do we make this work for my family?’ The baby will be fine wherever she is; it’s about making sure that Richie’s fine and I’m fine so that we can be good parents for her.”
Noting that “if we’re a mess, we’re no good for her,” Minshew says she’s grateful that show executive producer Julie Carruthers is supportive of her need to focus on family for now. She adds,
“Before the baby, outside of my Richie and my family, All My Children was my main priority. Now I have a new main priority. But I’ll find that balance between working and being a mom. I know I will.”