'It Was Really Scary': Rachel McCord on Her Mid-Pandemic Pregnancy
New mom and McCord List creator Rachel McCord, 31, sat down with Giddy's Marisa Sullivan in Los Angeles to discuss the struggles of a high-risk pregnancy during a pandemic, the importance of having an advocate in the delivery room and how she overcame postpartum anxiety.
As with any new mother, experiencing pregnancy in the midst of the COVID-19 outbreak in 2020 was incredibly stressful for McCord.
"It was really scary," she said. "I started feeling guilty for the world I was bringing Jude in. Because the world I got pregnant in was not the world I was going to give birth in."
Like any mom, McCord had the usual concerns, but everything was heightened by a global pandemic.
"How is he going to thrive? How is school going to be? You think about all the normal things, and then suddenly, this very abnormal scenario just lands in your lap," she said.
New mother Rachel McCord speaks with Marisa Sullivan about her high-risk pregnancy and birth during the pandemic.
McCord had more than just a pandemic on her plate—she had a high-risk pregnancy.
"I was throwing up so much my throat started bleeding," she recalled, explaining she was diagnosed with hyperemesis gravidarum, an extreme type of nausea and vomiting during pregnancy. McCord also had to give herself insulin shots nearly every hour to manage her gestational diabetes. At one point, she had to use a wheelchair after her pelvis separated.
In addition to physical barriers during pregnancy, McCord experienced mental setbacks while carrying her son. Her friends warned her about postpartum depression, she said, "but no one predicted that I would deal with depression when I was actually pregnant." Antenatal depression, or depression during pregnancy, can cause sadness, exhaustion, feelings of worthlessness and more.
'I think the most important thing that I'm learning as a mom...is that it's so worth it.'
"I felt so alone, I would literally lay on my couch and stare at a wall," she said. "I was just stuck in my body."
When it came time to deliver her son, Jude, now 15 months old, McCord faced COVID-19 restrictions that were put in place by some hospitals to limit the number of people in the delivery room. Despite this obstacle, McCord went to great lengths to ensure her husband, Rick, could be there with her during labor and delivery. She advocates for other women to also be allowed at least one person in their delivery room, even during the pandemic.
"The truth is that they need someone there consistently," McCord said. "If something happened to me and no one was in that room, no one could advocate for me. Having an advocate is so important…even if it's not your significant other or spouse, you need someone in there with you."
'In the middle of lockdown, a little bundle of joy came out.'
Fortunately, her baby was delivered safely.
"In the middle of lockdown, a little bundle of joy came out," said the founder of The McCord List, a curated collection of the best things in self-care, fashion, home, beauty and mom life.
She knows her job now is to allow her son to be the best version of himself. McCord acknowledged the pregnancy wasn't easy, and she suffered from postpartum anxiety in the first few months after delivery.
"Look, of course, it's challenging becoming a mom," she said. "But I think the most important thing that I'm learning as a mom, and it really plays out with my life, is that it's so worth it. Like it's so worth it to fight for yourself; it's so worth it to fight for your child; it's so worth it to fight for your marriage."
Since her challenging pregnancy, delivery and postpartum life, everything has changed for McCord. Even when reflecting on her upbringing and an abusive childhood in a trailer park in Georgia—when the world was stacked against her—she finally feels peace.
"I'm happy with who I am," she said. "I'm happy with what I can contribute to the world."