July 13, 2015 10:00 AM

Look who’s back: It’s celebrity blogger Eva Amurri Martino!

The actress, who has followed in her mother Susan Sarandon‘s footsteps, is best known for her roles in Dead Man WalkingSaved and Californication, and she has starred on The Mindy Project and New Girl.

Two years after tying the knot in Charleston, South Carolina, Amurri Martino and her husband, sports commentator Kyle Martino, announced they were expecting their first child — a baby girl.

The couple welcomed their now 11-month-old daughter Marlowe Mae in August 2014.

Amurri Martino has started her own blog, Happily Eva After, where she shares about her adventures in motherhood. You can also find her on Instagram and Twitter @4EvaMartino.

Nina Suh/Love And Lemonade Photography

About two months ago, I went through what I now know to be a sort of Motherhood Rite of Passage: My daughter had her first major fall.

It was absolutely terrifying, and it taught me so much about motherhood and about myself as a person.

(Spoiler alert: She’s absolutely fine.)

So, let me start out by saying that I was the one “on duty” when this happened. Marlowe was just getting into that wriggly, squirmy phase at the onset of crawling when it is nearly impossible to keep them on a changing table. She was fussy from a cold and fighting me; I was exhausted. I turned my head to grab a diaper and in a nanosecond she was on the floor.

And I swear to you I will never forget the sound of the thud when my daughter hit the floor. It is quite literally the thing that nightmares are made of.

Promise.

Immediately she was screaming and I was hysterical. I picked her up (which I now know you are NOT supposed to do) and was like a deer in headlights. I was nauseous and dizzy, and my adrenaline was thumping.

How could I have let this happen? What was wrong with me?

Let me also mention that my husband was on a work trip. I was alone in the house, and it was nighttime. I ran with her to my bedroom and called her pediatrician.

Repeatedly.

He finally picked up and, sobbing, I told him what had happened. I also asked him, in between sobs, “Just tell me. Am I the worst mom you ever knew?”

I swear.

(His answer: “Nope.”)

He talked me through feeling her bones and head for any breaks or bumps, and then asked me how she seemed. Did she seem tired? Did she seem like herself? I panicked. It was nighttime and she was exhausted — of course she seemed tired! This was day four of a terrible cold — of course she wasn’t herself! How could I tell if something was really wrong?!

He also told me that a fall from the height of my changing table was probably not enough to cause serious damage. We hung up, but I was still scared.

And then she started vomiting and things really got nuts.

Almost anyone knows that vomiting after a fall is a red flag. I called the doctor back and he told me to keep her in bed with me and wake her up every two hours, assessing her alertness when doing so. Okay … well, welcome to the worst and most awake night of my life.

Nina Suh/Love And Lemonade Photography

Even though the doctor didn’t seem very worried, I was absolutely sick with guilt. I felt enough shame and fear and self-loathing to sink myself into the biggest black hole in the universe. I truly believed in that hour that I was the worst mother who ever lived, that I had ruined my child forever, and that nobody would or should ever forgive me. After all, I had never heard of anything like this happening to any of the moms that I knew.

As my child slept (finally), I was awake sitting upright in bed with my eyes as big as saucers. After a few minutes, I decided to call my friend who has three amazing kids, teaches an expecting-parents class, and is generally a supermom. Crying, I told her what had happened. Her first words were, “Okay, first of all, she’s fine.”

But what about the vomiting? What about the fall? What about what a bad mom I was? I just couldn’t believe that things were going to be okay. She reminded me that if my pediatrician were really worried he would have had me go to the hospital, that I was watching her and would absolutely be able to tell if something were really wrong.

Then she told me that every mom she knew, herself included, had at one point had a baby roll off of something. She even listed a few mutual friends and told me to call them. And then she really came through with the words that saved the day: “I forgive you. But you need to forgive yourself.”

I tear up now even thinking about it because that’s what it was about, really. Even with all of the medical advice, my pediatrician’s reassurances, and the stories about other women I knew who had been through the same thing, I just wanted to know that somebody forgave me. I needed to feel like, even though this was a stupid mistake, it didn’t define me as a mother or as a person.

Of course I didn’t forgive myself right then. It took a little while and a lot more commiserating over coffee with girlfriends of mine who had gone through similar experiences, but it definitely got me thinking.

It made me think about the impossible standard we hold ourselves to as parents and as people. About our reluctance to ask for help or to share our shortcomings, even with our good friends! I know one thing for sure, and it’s that we all feel this way at one point (or more!) in our parenting journeys.

We aren’t perfect. But maybe if we learn from our shortcomings and dumb never-do-it-again mistakes, they can be worth something. And maybe, just maybe, if we share our shortcomings with our friends, we may be beacons of light for them when their guilt is pulling them down.

After all, “forgiveness” is not a four-letter word. It has more power than you realize, especially when you keep some for yourself.

Nina Suh/Love And Lemonade Photography

Xoxo,

— Eva Amurri Martino

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