Hello! My name is Lisa Cisneros and I’m a writer, producer and partner with the horror production company Rhodesclosed Productions, along with my dear friends Danny Rhodes and Teresa Schaeffer. I’m a freelance reporter too. I’m happily married with one child, and when I’m not busy caring for my son, watching classic movies and horror films, or burying myself in gruesome true crime novels, I’m usually writing for someone or something for one reason or another. I guess I always knew I wanted to be a writer, because I asked for and received my first typewriter (yes I’m that old) when I was about six.
With Rhodesclosed we have a few projects being shopped around but what I’m here to talk about today is our most current project, a short horror film “Everything’s Fine,” which I wrote hoping to bring awareness to a vastly under-reported issue – Postpartum OCD.
For those who don’t know, PPOCD is a disorder that affects mostly mothers, though it can affect fathers as well, and it causes the parent to suffer with intrusive thoughts about harming their babies. These thoughts are often violent and can be sexual in nature so they are extremely distressing and can be very shameful for the parent suffering from them. For example, while giving the child a bath a parent might not be able to shake a vision or thought about holding the baby under water.
A positive that can be found in suffering from this disorder is that the parent will not actually harm the child. They know right from wrong and they don’t want to hurt the child, though this can sometimes lead the parent to avoid activities while they are alone with the baby, such as cooking for fear of putting the child in the oven, or changing the baby’s diaper for fear of molesting them.
WAIT, WHAT? Yes, you read that last sentence correctly. This is why this disorder can be shameful and this is its reality in extreme cases and this is why it’s rarely discussed, though more people are opening up about it every day. How in the hell do you tell a medical professional that you can’t shake these disturbing thoughts but not to worry, you know in your heart you WOULD NEVER do anything to harm your child?
I suffered from a mild case of PPOCD after the birth of my son, and I’m not a medical professional but in my opinion I think part of the reason parents suffer from this is because as a parent you have so much love for your child and such a need to protect your child that you can’t help but be humbled by their vulnerability. They depend on us for EVERYTHING and there are so many sick people who take advantage of that vulnerability. In my case, every time I looked at my sweet little baby, during the most precious times together, I couldn’t help but think about all of the horrible things people do to children but I pictured myself in the place of the perpetrator.
To learn more about my experience with PPOCD you can listen to me on the Label Free Podcast hosted by Deanna Kuempel, episode Everything’s Not Fine in the world of Postpartum OCD available on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.
Thankfully, it only lasted a few months but I didn’t tell anyone about it for years and it was only after I found out what it is called and knew I wasn’t alone in my thoughts. Then I decided to write about it to let others know they aren’t alone either. And that’s where we are today.
We’ve wrapped filming on “Everything’s Fine” and have begun the editing process and we are so excited to complete the film and get it out on the festival circuit. The film follows a day in the life of “Kathleen” played by the very talented Maura Kidwell (Sirens) and her struggle in caring for her baby while suffering from PPOCD. The film also stars Mickey O’Sullivan (The Chi), Robyn Coffin (Chicago Fire) and Natalie West (Roseanne).
The film was funded completely through an Indiegogo campaign at Everything’s Fine – A short horror film and we’ve started a second campaign at Everything’s Fine – Horror Short Finishing Funds to finish the film as we had unexpected extra costs come up during production (don’t they always?) though we still plan to have the film finished by January of next year. If you check out the links you can see more on-set photos and learn more about the project and the team. If you have an interest in film and would like to donate and earn perks such as producer credits and digital downloads of the film we would be happy to have you as a part of our team.
You can also visit our Facebook page at Everything’s Fine Film and our Instagram at Everything’sFineShortFilm – and if you feel so inclined, like the pages and follow us and share to help us get the word out.
I’d like to close this by saying if you or someone you love is suffering from PPOCD, or any other form of postpartum disorder, don’t be afraid to seek help. But, I know from experience that it’s not that easy. A helpful website I found is Postpartumdepression.org which gently, but truthfully, explains all forms of postpartum disorders and how to seek help.
I thank SCENE Chicago for giving me this platform to share and to all of you whom have taken the time to read about this very important mental health cause and our film. Wishing everyone a safe, happy, holiday season and much love.