'Married at First Sight' alum Jamie Otis: I blame myself for the loss of my first child at 17 weeks
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 07/14/2021
Married at First Sight alum Jamie Otis has revealed she always wonders if she's to blame for her first miscarriage, when she lost son Johnathan in 2016, due to having two abortions when she was younger.
Jamie took to Instagram on Tuesday, July 13 to pay tribute to her beloved first child Johnathan on what would have been his fifth birthday. Jamie had delivered her son at 17 weeks when she was only four months pregnant.
Jamie posted a photo of herself holding the tiny newborn in her hand and crying with husband Doug Hehner by her side in the hospital as well as two happy photos from when the pair initially announced they were pregnant for the first time in July 2016.
"Happy birthday to my sweet boy who made me a mommy. I only got to hold him briefly before he was taken away from me. Johnathan would be 5 today if he had survived," Jamie captioned the slideshow.
"I've lost a lot of pregnancies, but losing him tore my world apart. I think it's bc I birthed him naturally and held his tiny, perfectly formed body in my hands. I looked at my baby who was so broken & bruised. It was like all that was stolen from him -- from me -- was laid bare for me to see."
Jamie wrote how she immediately took the fault for Johnathan's heartbreaking death, which led the Married at First Sight alum to carry a great burden on her shoulders.
"I instantly felt like I failed him bc of choices I made way before he was born," Jamie continued.
"I've tried really hard not to 'beat myself up' for my past & I tell myself the way his short life ended isn't my fault -- but part of me always wonders if maybe it is some sort of karma from decisions I made when I was in college and had custody of my siblings."
Jamie went on to reveal how she and her siblings lived in a small trailer with "leaky ceilings and holes in the floor."
"We had to put a board over the holes so animals didn't get in & we wouldn't fall through. I was the first girl to graduate high school so I was determined to 'be somebody.' I didn't want to live on welfare and just be someone's 'baby mama.' I was saving up for college and I was determined to go," Jamie explained.
"But then I got pregnant by the guy I lost my virginity to. I was just a teenager. My mom was addicted to drugs and always gone and my younger siblings were looking to me for everything."
FOLLOW REALITY TV WORLD ON THE ALL-NEW GOOGLE NEWS!
Reality TV World is now available on the all-new Google News app and website. Click here to visit our Google News page, and then click FOLLOW to add us as a news source!
Jamie said she was "absolutely devastated" while weighing her options.
"I thought I had no choice but to go through with an abortion. This happened twice while I was raising my siblings...You don't have to scream 'HELLO! BIRTH CONTROL!' bc I'm fully aware," Jamie acknowledged.
"I never ever talk about this bc I'm embarrassed of my lack of responsibility...No one who has an abortion is proud of it."
Jamie recalled holding Johnathan in her hand and repeatedly whispering to him, "Mommy's so sorry."
"I promised him I'd spend my life honoring him & I'd never let anyone forget him. His life matters. I will keep this promise til the day I die and I get to hold my angel again."
Jamie concluded in her post, "Happy heavenly birthday sweet boy. Mommy loves you so much!"
In a personal essay for People in 2019, Jamie admitted her abortions continued to "torment" her.
"I hate that I had to have them. However, am I thankful? Of course. I wouldn't be able to be a good mother to my daughter right now or have been able to be a good parent to my siblings back then," Jamie explained at the time.
"The cycle continues because there's not enough education about sex and birth control, and not enough support. There's not enough constructive discussion about abortion. It sucks. It really sucks. But the truth of the matter is it is a necessary option."
Following their stint on Married at First Sight's first season, Jamie and Doug co-starred on Married at First Sight: The First Year, a spinoff which continued to follow the two MAFS Season 1 couples who opted to remain together during their first year of marriage.
Jamie and Doug also later starred on Married at First Sight: Jamie and Doug Plus One, their own spinoff which premiered in December 2017.
Jamie now serves as the host of Married at First Sight: Unfiltered, the show's post-episode discussion show that also airs on Lifetime, and she and Doug also currently appear on Season 3 of Married at First Sight: Couples Cam on Lifetime.