"I almost had the same feeling in me as when I had a championship (softball) game and I was up to bat and the pressure was on," the 30-year-old co-host tells Pregnancy magazine. "I'm very lucky that tears didn't come out. But unfortunately when a woman cries, it's never seen as a sign of strength and never seen in a positive light."
O'Donnell, 45, left "The View" in May. She chose to depart the ABC daytime talk show earlier than planned following her on-air confrontation with Hasselbeck.
"Being a conservative mother isn't the challenge," says Hasselbeck, who appears on the cover of the magazine's November issue, on newsstands Tuesday. "Being a conservative in New York City on television is the challenge."
Hasselbeck announced her pregnancy in April. She and her husband, Tim Hasselbeck, have a 2-year-old daughter, Grace.
She says motherhood has validated the strong opinions for which she has been criticized.
"Once I had Grace, I had more reassurance and affirmation as to why I have felt the things I've felt for a long time," she says. "And as a mom, now I want to make sure that the decisions I'm making and the votes that I'm casting are going to create long-term benefits for Grace and my next child and hopefully more to come after that."