Meghan McCain recently opened up about her postpartum anxiety after giving birth to her daughter, Liberty.
Six months after giving birth to her daughter in September of 2020, McCain suffered severe postpartum anxiety.
“It’s the second hardest thing I’ve ever done, other than my dad [Sen. John McCain] dying,” Meghan, 36, shared in a recent in-depth interview surrounding her mental health.
Agoraphobic at times, Meghan was so worried that someone may kidnap her baby that “I wanted [my husband] Ben to hire armed guards outside our house,” she says.
A pediatrician’s intuition and a treatment plan aided the former View host “feeling steady.” In her new audio memoir, Bad Republican, which is being released this Thursday on Audible, Meghan has more she would like to share.
“I felt like people need to share stories about struggles with new motherhood — not just it being picture-perfect,” she says. “But I feel really raw and vulnerable sharing it. I just wanted to offer something that would hopefully make women, in particular, feel less alone.”
“Really paranoid, like barely showering and functioning” was how Meghan felt when she and husband Ben Domenech, who is a commentator and conservative publisher, took their daughter in for her second pediatrician’s visit back in early October 2020.
Meghan had avoided birthing prep classes during the pandemic.
“I hate Zooms, I hate YouTube videos, I was like I’ll figure it out,” she recalled. She then went on to endure a prolonged labor as well as hospitalization for postpartum preeclampsia, which raised her blood pressure so high she sometimes couldn’t breathe.
And while having her daughter was one of the best gifts, it also came with a slew of heavy emotions.
“It’s hard to explain because [motherhood] is incredible, but it’s scary,” Meghan says now. “And I found it overwhelming at the same time.”
At Liberty’s pediatrician’s appointment last October, Meghan didn’t realize the warning signs she was giving off until the doctor, “very kindly and with a ton of empathy,” urged her to get help.
“She pulled me aside and was like, ‘You need to talk to someone,’ ” Meghan says. She had been asked to fill out a simple postpartum questionnaire — from one to five, are you feeling this… are you feeling that… — and gave alarming answers.
“Clearly I’m not the first woman to come in that had that happen,” Meghan says. The realization hit last Halloween when just the thought of taking Liberty around the neighborhood in her pumpkin onesie left Meghan distraught and in tears.
“I was just having a really hard time doing something as simple as leaving the house with a baby in a stroller,” she says.
She went back to her doctor, who gave a name to her difficulties. “I was shocked when they told me,” she says.
Says Domenech: “It was such a series of subtle breaks with her normal self. I’m just grateful that she got the help she needed and that our doctor made it clear she needed it.”
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