Danielle Fishel had a guilt-ridden entry into motherhood.
The former “Boy Meets World” and “Girl Meets World” star recently penned an emotional essay for “Good Morning America” that covered her emotional toil during childbirth.
On June 24, Fishel gave birth to baby boy Adler, but not without issue. Adler was born with fluid in his lungs and thus remained in the neonatal intensive care unit at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles for several weeks. Fishel’s husband, Jensen Karp, stood by their side for every step of the harrowing journey.
In the essay, Fishel noted that the concept of “mom guilt” was something that she’d not expected to experience.
“I had heard of “mom guilt.” It was right up there with other types of guilt I heard about growing up, like ‘Catholic guilt’ or ‘Jewish guilt.’ I heard it was the awful feeling you’re never doing what you’re supposed to be doing, or not doing enough of what you should be doing, or not doing what you should be doing well enough,” Fishel candidly wrote.
“As a childless woman looking at all mothers I knew, I could only see how incredible they were. Their kids were happy, well-loved, fed and clothed. Some of them went back to work and others didn’t. Those decisions were not made selfishly, but based on privilege and what was best for their children and their families.”
Fishel’s initial birth plan included having a natural, drug-free childbirth — due to the health risks that introducing drugs would pose to both the mother and child. In an Instagram post, Fishel lamented the fact that her plan went out the window when she entered labor. “We feel helpless [sic] and powerless and useless and we wanted so badly to follow our birth plan,’ unsurprisingly none of which involved leaving our beautiful baby boy at the hospital for the first weeks of his life,” Fishel wrote on Instagram.
In her essay, Fishel noted that due to a decrease in her body’s amniotic fluid, delivery was induced with Pitocin.
“The guilty thoughts came flooding into my head,” Fishel continued. “Why did my water break so early? Was it because I was on my feet working 12-plus hour days at almost 36 weeks? Was it all the spicy food I had been craving? Did I do something that will hurt my baby?”
Upon returning to work at the end of September, Fishel experienced further guilt in terms of potentially abandoning Adler. “Does he remember me? Does he think I abandoned him? Am I hurting my son by desiring a career outside the home? Am I selfish?” Fishel wondered.
Fishel ultimately concluded with support for hard-working mothers out there. “When you see a mom feeding her baby formula, or breast milk in a bottle, or directly from her breast, or through a feeding tube (I have done all of these in Adler’s 15 weeks of life), or you see a mom dragging a screaming toddler through Target, or you see a mom calling home from work, or you get a text from a stay-at-home mom who is ready to pull her hair out, know that there is a story there.”