On Monday, the Boy Meets World alum appeared on Good Morning America to discuss the harrowing experience of her baby boy, Adler, arriving four weeks early in June and learning that he had fluid in his lungs, leading to weeks in the hospital.
In conjunction with her appearance on the morning show, the 38-year-old actress and director wrote an essay about the ordeal and what she learned along the way.
"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,' she wrote. "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."
She explained that, prior to becoming a parent, she believed "mom guilt" would never befall her. Then Adler arrived with serious medical issues and Fishel writes that she began to question everything from continuing to work during her pregnancy to the spicy food she craved while expecting. And when they attempted to start Adler on breast milk, it exacerbated the circumstances.
"Unfortunately, after 10 days, the fatty nature of breast milk caused a major increase in the amount of fluid in his lungs and we were rushed by ambulance to Children's Hospital, where he was taken off breast milk and put on a medium chain triglyceride formula," she continued. "The guilt arrived with gusto. 'Why is my milk hurting my child? Is my baby allergic to me? Formula is bad for him because it's full of high fructose corn syrup. This is all my fault.'"
Thankfully, after three weeks, Fishel and husband, Jensen Karp, were able to take their child home and she was able to return to work directing the Disney Channel show, Sydney to the Max. However, that too was guilt-ridden experience for Fishel.
"My first day back was hard. I came home after being away for 12 hours and Adler was asleep for the night. He hadn't seen my face since 7 a.m. that morning and now he wouldn't see it again until he woke me up for a middle-of-the-night feeding," she wrote. "As I cried over his sweet sleeping face, the guilt came back with a vengeance. '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?'"
She added: "For as long as I can remember, I've dreamed of being a mom. I looked forward to sleepless nights, poopy diapers and being so enamored with my baby that I lost hours of my life just staring at him while he slept. However, nothing in the world could have prepared me for the reality that being a mom would also mean never feeling like I'm good enough."
Fishel concluded by asking a favor of readers: encourage and support mothers everywhere because you never know who needs it.
"The next time you see a mom with her baby or young child, look her in the eye and honestly tell her she's doing an amazing job. Because you are, mama. I see you and you're doing great," she wrote.
See more on Fishel and her pregnancy journey below.