'Married at First Sight' Star Jamie Otis Gives Birth to Rainbow Baby, Vows to Never Forget the Son She Lost
Even if I watched reality TV (which I don’t), a show called Married at First Sight would definitely not be on my must-watch list. But I’m willing to admit (and admit proudly) that I am a huge fan of Jamie Otis. Although Otis was first introduced to the world when she married Doug Hehner, a man she’d never met, she has since been an inspirational voice for women dealing with pregnancy loss.
Last October, Otis lost her baby boy at seventeen weeks gestation. She published a heart-wrenching photo of herself and Hehner cradling their son. The image went viral, in part because Otis was acknowledging her baby as a baby, rather than simply a fetus. (For more on that story, click here.)
But Otis is making headlines again, this time for a much happier reason: she and Hehner have welcomed their rainbow baby. “Rainbow baby” is the term given to a baby born after pregnancy loss. As a mom of a rainbow baby myself, who was deeply moved by Otis’ Instagram post, I was very glad to hear this news.
Otis gave birth this past August to Henley Grace, a healthy baby girl. But (and I admire her immensely for this) she is determined not to let the birth of a healthy baby cause her to forget her lost son. In an exclusive interview with Babble Otis said, “I made this vow to him that I wouldn’t just forget about him and move on. … He did exist and I loved him so much.”
So often women are made to feel that the birth of their rainbow baby should cancel out the grief they feel for the baby they lost. But, once again, Otis’ public comments about her private life are validating the secret thoughts and feelings of many other moms.
A rainbow baby is special because of how much the baby is wanted, and how much the baby’s parents have been through to bring that child into the world. But a new baby doesn’t cancel out the new baby’s lost brothers and sisters. Once again, Otis bravely gives mothers everywhere permission to grieve.
If all this wasn’t enough to cement Otis’ place in my heart, she goes on to tell Babble what pretty much all mothers need to hear about breastfeeding: “It [can be] painful, even when it’s done right!” So often, new mothers — who desperately want to breastfeed — are told by lactation consultants, doctors, and friends that it’s only painful because the baby hasn’t yet learned to latch on properly. Once you’ve got the hang of things, the narrative goes, breastfeeding will be blissful!