Marissa Hermer celebrated her baby daughter Sadie's first birthday in style! The Ladies of London star threw a party for her baby girl in February 2017, and opened up about motherhood in an exclusive interview with HELLO! magazine.
"Just being able to celebrate Sadie's day is a significant landmark for my family," the US-born Ladies of London star said as she welcomed HELLO! into her stunning California home. "When I was pregnant this time last year, there was a strong chance that neither Sadie nor I would survive. In my darkest moments I could never have imagined we’d end up happy, healthy and living here in sunny LA. For this I feel incredibly grateful. Every time I look at Sadie, I well up."
The 35-year-old continued: "She's my third and last child and, whenever I hold her, I can't stop kissing her. I want to savour every second, soak up every moment. After everything we’ve been through as a family, she's the light at the end of our tunnel; our little miracle."
Marissa and her British-born restaurateur husband Matt – who also have boys, Max, five, and Jake, two – have been through what they call a "battlefield" to reach this point of contentment. It was the catalyst that compelled them to reappraise their lives and move to LA. "What happened to us made us take a look at our priorities," said Marissa. "It taught us to seize the moment, to go for the lifestyle we really wanted."
The couple were thrilled when they found Marissa was pregnant after a family holiday in California’s Newport Beach, where she grew up. However, at 20 weeks she was diagnosed with placenta accreta, a dangerous condition in which the placenta grows too deeply into the uterine wall and can lead to a haemorrhage. When the situation became critical, Sadie was delivered by Caesarean at 34 weeks and Marissa had a hysterectomy. It was five days before she was well enough to see her baby, who was on a respirator in the neo-natal unit. "The moment I saw her, everything fell into place," she recalled. "I felt as if I’d been through a battlefield but having Sadie at the end of the emotional and physical rollercoaster made it all worthwhile."
Marissa also opened up about her struggle with post-natal depression, and how Matt helped her through the dark time. "I felt very low and cried when I was alone, usually in the shower, in bed or in the car. Because I’d never been depressed before, I didn’t know whether it was normal or not. As a mum, the last person I thought of was myself and I was a wreck.
"One day I broke down while we filmed Ladies of London," continued Marissa. Her storyline in the hit TV show had begun to reflect the real anguish she was experiencing. "It didn’t take long for Matt to realise what was happening. He picked me off the floor and put my pieces back together. He nurtured me so I could flourish again, booking me in for massages and facials and encouraging me to go for runs. He made sure I was his priority and knew instinctively what I needed before I knew myself. When I made excuses about why I couldn’t take time out to rest, he would persuade me that everything could wait. 'If Mama’s not happy then nobody's happy,' he would say."
Although Marissa was prescribed medication to combat her depression, she discovered during a family holiday in California that she no longer needed it. "It was good old-fashioned sunshine and relaxation that did the trick," she said. "With none of the usual daily pressures and demands, I could curl up with Sadie and chill out with the boys; that’s when I started to feel better."
Basking on the beach reminded Matt, 45, the chief executive of Ignite Group, with restaurants such as Bumpkin and Top Dog Diner in its portfolio, of a promise he'd made a month before Sadie was born. "He told me: 'If you and the baby get through this, I'll sell everything in London and we'll move to California.' For a long time he thought he'd lose us. It was the most frightening time of our lives and he needed a break from the past. After spending a decade of summers with me in LA, he had grown to love it."
Marissa relocated to California after Sadie's birth
At first Marissa didn’t take Matt’s suggestion seriously. "The thought of moving countries was too much for me to get my head around," she says. "I was in and out of hospital and couldn’t face the upheaval. But I changed my mind when I realised how important it was to Matt during our summer vacation. The trauma we had been through had also taken its toll on him and it was my turn to support him, to embrace this new adventure in our lives after he had been so incredible towards me."
Within a month they had found their dream home: a six-bedroom mansion with five sitting rooms, two kitchens and a pool. Three days after Christmas, they moved in. "We love our new life here," said Marissa. "It was important for me to be near the ocean because I grew up near there. I go for runs along the seashore, which is heaven."
However, the family hasn’t kissed London goodbye; they will return during school holidays and Marissa will hop back for work and to see her Ladies pals, Sophie Stanbury, Julie Montagu and Caroline Fleming. "I miss the girls; we talk all the time and they'll visit us this summer," she said. "Until then, the five of us are enjoying our new life in the US and are so excited about our first skiing trip – it will be the boys' debut on skis. Matt and I are in a wonderful place," she adds. "We've always been close but as a team we’re invincible."
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