Exclusive: Jamie Otis talks 'Married at First Sight: Jamie and Doug Plus One' -- Dealing with trauma, drama and unemployment
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 12/18/2017
Jamie Otis and her husband Doug Hehner will be starring in Married at First Sight: Jamie and Doug Plus One, which will chronicle the couple preparing for and eventually welcoming their first child when it premieres Tuesday, December 19 at 8PM ET/PT.
Married at First Sight: Jamie and Doug Plus One will document the emotional moments for Jamie and Doug leading up to and capturing the August 2017 birth of daughter Henley Grace, who has the distinction of being the first-ever Married at First Sight baby.
Following Henley's arrival, Jamie and Doug will be shown navigating their "new normal," experiencing all the ups and downs of parenthood.
Three years ago, Jamie and Doug met for the very first time at the altar when they exchanged vows on Season 1 of Married at First Sight. Jamie got married two years after competing for Ben Flajnik's heart on The Bachelor's sixteenth season in 2012.
Jamie and Doug proceeded to star on the spinoff Married at First Sight: The First Year from 2015-2016. Jamie revealed she was pregnant with a "rainbow baby" back in January 2017, which was six months after she and Doug lost a baby son, whom they named Johnathan, while she was four months pregnant.
During an exclusive interview, Jamie talked to Reality TV World about her life as a new mom and what viewers can expect to see in Jamie and Doug Plus One. (Doug was unable to participate due to work obligations). Below is a portion of what Jamie had to say.
Reality TV World: I know Doug was working as a commercial sales representative before. Is he still doing that, or does he have another job now?
Jamie Otis: You know, I don't know if I'm allowed to talk about that because it's definitely going to be on the show, but he was unfortunately let go from his job. I think they were downsizing because he really, truly, was doing well. It was definitely a shock to both of us and probably one of the hardest things.
I mean, that was really tough, because I was six months pregnant when he was let go, and we were living with our in-laws, looking for a home. We were just saving money for a new home and it was just kind of like a slap in the face a little bit, you know?
We were definitely not expecting that, so that definitely added a lot, a lot, of stress. Because as much as I love my in-laws, I really didn't want to have a baby in their home. You know, you just need your own space as a parent, especially as a new parent, not knowing how to even be a parent.
You're going to have moments where, I don't know, at least for me, I just want privacy. If she's screaming at the top of her lungs, I don't want there to be an audience. (Laughs) It's embarrassing.
I want to be able to take care of her calmly and efficiently and help settle her without people watching and judging and having an opinion. So it just put a lot of pressure on us. But yeah, it wasn't like a job loss for a couple of weeks, it was for a few months, unfortunately. It was a really long time.
And so, everyone handles stress differently, and I think my husband with tune out with a video game. He's never been a video-game kind of guy. So I was like, "What are you doing playing video games?! Haven't you looked for a job?"
Because, meanwhile, I'm still working as a nurse and I also do some TV hosting, so I was going into New York City to do that kind of job and working my tail off, like, super pregnant. And I would come home -- and, I mean, this happened like twice, but of course it's all I remember -- and I'm like, "What are you doing playing a video game?! I'm working my butt off!"
So we aren't perfect that's for sure. We definitely had our moments, but I think that it makes us stronger because it's life -- that's just life for you. It happens to the best people, you lose your job and the best couples go through hard times together.
And what we've learned after three-and-a-half years of marriage is that you really need to stick it out, even if it's really hard at times, you need to stick it out and you love and support each other through it. And when you finally get over that hump -- because you will -- you become so much stronger and happier together.
Reality TV World: So what has it been like for you to struggle motherhood with your career, and now a new reality TV show on top of all that?
Jamie Otis: Ughh, I'm not going to lie, I'm tired all the time. (Laughs) I'm so exhausted, but honestly, I've got to give my husband a lot of credit. Like, I get up around five in the morning.
I have 12-hour shifts at the hospital, so if I've got to get up at five, even though he has to work also the next day, he'll still get up with the baby during the night and take care of her. And every other night, I'll handle it. But if I have to work a 12-hour shift, I just can't possibly get zero sleep.
Anything could happen at the drop of a hat with my kind of job, and you can't be sleepy and not focused, because this is someone's life! You know, they're trying to deliver their baby, and so, yeah, it's just important that I definitely get sleep and I go in well rested.
And so Doug, not for a second does he ever complain. You know, I'll pumped and there will be a bottle prepared for her, and I'll say, "All you have to do is go downstairs and warm it up and feed her, change her diaper, burp her," you know, all of those kinds of things, and he does! And without any question. He has helped me so much as far as that is concerned.
And then my in-laws also, I mean, they do. They watch her. What will happen is I leave for work at 5:45AM and then Doug will take the baby to his parents right before he goes to work, and then they will watch her all day long. And then I'll pick her up by the time he gets off work, and then we'll meet together at home.
So without my husband and in-laws, I don't know what I would do. Just knowing my daughter is with family and really caring and attentive people, I don't know, it just helps me to be able to stay focused at work. And yeah. So, it's definitely hard, but I'm really fortunate.
It's kind of surreal that three-and-a-half years ago, I was getting married at first sight. I told the experts that I really wanted a family. I wanted to marry into a big family -- someone with a big, loving, welcoming family -- and it's just surreal to sit here and live my life now, knowing that I literally asked these experts for this, and I have it. It's pretty amazing!
Reality TV World: Is Jamie and Doug Plus One your only reality TV project right now? I know Married at First Sight: The First Year finished its second season in May 2016, so it sounds like that won't be coming back?
Jamie Otis: I don't think that's coming back, yeah. Our focus now is definitely Jamie and Doug Plus One. We are hoping -- I would love to add more babies to our family. It's crazy. I had Henley and instantly -- I didn't know that I would feel like that -- but I instantly wanted to have another baby. I don't know what's wrong with me. (Laughs)
So I think we're just focusing on our family and filling our family, and we're excited to see what happens with the show. And like I said, we were real and honest throughout it all, every little bit of it. We didn't sugarcoat anything for the most part; I mean, you can't with a camera following you anyways. (Laughs)
But we definitely have been honest, mostly so that people -- other parents, who are first-time parents -- to me, what is most important, is remembering and honoring our first-born son, Johnathan, and really helping other parents who go through something like that.
Because like I said, I thought I had nowhere to turn. I mean, I had a therapist. I did go to therapy, because I was just so depressed and I felt so hopeless. And I just hope that this show will somehow inspire and encourage parents who have gone through such a loss or couples who are struggling to conceive altogether.
I just remember when I went through that, that loss, I wanted a baby so bad, and we had been trying for what it felt like so long -- which I feel is miniscule compared to some people who have tried for like five years, you know?
I just felt like the only thing that gave me hope was... blogging to release the pain and searching for anybody to give me a glimpse of hope in the future. And then I heard about the term "rainbow baby," and I would look it up and see all these couples who have gone through a similar loss or tried to conceive for so long and then they had a "rainbow baby."
And it just gave me so much hope, so I'm hoping that I can just be another little bit of hope for a couple. We went through a pretty traumatic time, but there is a rainbow in the tunnel after the storm, as the saying goes.
I really hope this show -- it's not just documenting first-time parents, like, oh you can't sleep or you're sex life is terrible. It's really deeper than that, and hopefully it's going to help some other couples. That's my goal. That's definitely our goal.
Reality TV World: How has your experience filming Jamie and Doug Plus One been different from filming Married at First Sight: The First Year, especially when taking into consideration you're no longer sharing the spotlight with another couple, Jason Carrion and Cortney Hendrix?
Jamie Otis: Well, now we film five days a week and it's very exhausting. But I think that's the kind of thing that makes this show so great, is that we do film a lot, so there really isn't a missed moment. And I personally love that, because my daughter, she's growing so fast.
I cannot believe she's already three-and-a-half months old. To be able to have a home video of her and get to relive it every single week, I cannot wait to sit down on Tuesday nights and just watch this. I haven't seen, other than obviously just pictures, my baby from when she was [born].
When we first looked at her, we don't even have pictures! Because it's just all-consuming when you have a baby, like in the delivery room. And I knew that was going to happen, so I'm so excited to be able to go back and relive it. And yeah, I'm excited to see how this show takes off, and like I said, I really hope it's helpful.