“People know us from having a tearful beginning to the relationship, but ever since we got over that…”
If we can finish that thought: Ever since, ‘emotional rollercoaster’ has taken on new meaning for Ashley Iaconetti and Jared Haibon. From off-camera confidantes to a wise-cracking couple—hold for Bachelor Nation applause—Ashley and Jared experienced a fresh dose of reality in welcoming their baby boy, Dawson, just last year.
Together they weathered a difficult pregnancy (literally, as Ashley rode the waves of hyperemesis gravidarum for the better part of two trimesters), a new business, the wrong move, their shared feeding journey, and defining family on their own terms.
Ashley and Jared are the first to admit: They’re figuring this parenthood thing out, day by day. But they’re seasoned pros when it comes to sharing what’s real in life and love, all the while encouraging followers (many of them fellow parents) to connect with their own sense of humor and vulnerability.
On an off day from Audrey’s Coffee House & Lounge (Ashley and Jared’s “other baby”), podcasting and full-time parenting, Ashley and Jared welcomed us to Rhode Island and gave us The Scoop on how far they’ve come and what they’ve learned along the way.
ON LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT (a.k.a SETTING THE RECORD STRAIGHT)
Jared: We met on Bachelor in Paradise season two back in 2015. We didn’t start dating…
Ashley: For two and a half years.
Jared: We became really close friends, and there’s a lot that happened.
Ashley: There’s a lot of footage to watch there.
Ashley: We formed a very close relationship off camera. And then after two and a half years of friendship, we started dating.
Jared: We had an opportunity to go back on the show, so I could propose. She thought we were just making a cameo. I was going down there to propose, which was great because it really was the beach where we first met. Then we got married in August of 2019.
Ashley: I fell in love with Jared at first sight. I didn’t even believe in that phenomenon, which is weird, but I felt it. For him… the love grew a lot slower than that. Oh, this poor man is never going to live down the story.
Jared: We went on national TV. (Laughs) What do you want from us?
Ashley: I know that the viewing audience always thinks about that chapter in our lives, but we don’t really think about that at all anymore.
Jared: I very much advocate becoming friends with your partner before you start dating one another. One of the best pieces of advice I ever got was from someone who said, don’t forget that the person you’re gonna marry, you’ll have a conversation with every day for the rest of your life.
ASHLEY & JARED ON PREGNANCY
Ashley: Oh my God. I had the worst pregnancy ever. I’ve manifested everything in my life and I just knew: My body is gonna hate being pregnant. I had hyperemesis gravidarum [severe morning sickness] and I would just… It was just the worst. I was on an IV for the first 16 weeks of my pregnancy.
Jared: It was a rough time . . . You would take Lois [their family dog] out at night sometimes. And she was like “This is the first time I’ve left the house since 10 o’clock last night.”
Ashley: I thought that the neighbors would think that we split up or something. “We only see Jared, but we haven’t seen Ashley for months.”
Jared: I mean, it really should be splitting that pregnancy. You know, you take one. I’ll take one.
Ashley: (Laughs) When he’s sick, he’s just an awful sick person. I can’t imagine you having to feel like that for five-ish months.
ON NEW PARENTHOOD
Jared: We went back to her house in Virginia. We had the help of her mom, her dad, and her sister. When we came back to Rhode Island, two to three weeks after he (Dawson) was born, reality was setting in.
Ashley: He would go to work. And I’d be home alone with him [Dawson], learning how babies act and how to take care of him by myself.
Jared: With us starting the business at the same time, that has been one area that we’ve really struggled. I’ve had to go take care of the business so much, to make sure that it’s running adequately as an owner and operator. That’s been a struggle, especially when we were living at our old house, which is about 40 minutes away from Audrey’s.
One of the best parts of our relationships is that we’ll work together to try and find the best solution. And sometimes we don’t have a good answer. But at least we’re always open to hearing each other talk about it and try to find some sort of resolution.Jared
ON MOVING WITH A NEWBORN
Ashley: We moved into a house a month before Dawson was born and then we realized quickly that it wasn’t right for us. We bought the house. And it wasn’t right for us.
Jared: And so that’s when we decided, do we buy a new house, try selling this and bite the bullet? Or do we suck it up?
Ashley: We were like, Let’s not suck it up.
Jared: I knew that she was very sad in that home. It was in the middle of the woods. She was 25 minutes from CVS. It was just not conducive for a mother and baby, who’s home alone because her husband’s working a lot.
Ashley: I think early motherhood can be very lonely and isolating.
It was just a moment for us that we had to advocate for ourselves and be like, “What is going to be best for our happiness?” Even if it seems crazy to other people.Ashley
Even in our situation, it wasn’t financially responsible. We lost money on that decision. But we knew that we would rather lose the money. Our mental health was more valuable.
ON THEIR FEEDING JOURNEY
Ashley: I knew in my gut. Like my soul was telling me, in the months leading up to having Dawson, I know that formula feeding is going to be what’s best for me. And what’s best for me is what’s best for the baby.
Jared: She brought it up honestly and she brought it up to the public. You felt very strongly about posting about it. You didn’t want to breastfeed, which I was totally fine with.
Ashley: I heard stories from so many moms being like, “I tried breastfeeding, I did not like it. So, I’m formulating.” But it was all hushed. I thought, This is so crazy. I’m just going to say it.
If there are so many women out there keeping this (formula feeding) a secret, this is obviously something we should be talking about.Ashley
I really think that that may have been one of the most engaged things I’ve ever posted. Let me just pull this up—166,000 likes and 6,000 comments. 6,000 comments and, I’m telling you, 99% positive.
I was talking to a friend about infant formula. She said that breastfeeding wasn’t working for her. She said, “If you do go to formula, look for a European-style formula. Of course, we’re DMing about European-style formula, and what shows up on my Instagram? It was an ad for Bobbie organic baby formula.
(Laughs) I think I even DM’d you guys at Bobbie. After coming across Bobbie and what it stood for and all the ingredients, I embraced the fact that I was going to formula feed. It’s kind of the moment that I knew.
Jared: It’s nice that I get to feed Dawson. Because if you were breastfeeding, I mean… There’s no milk coming outta these nipples.
Ashley: I could have pumped. Plenty of people supplement with formula. It’s like a little bit of both.
Jared: I wanted to make sure that I fed him as much as I possibly could. With formula, it just made it so much easier because I could get up, I could make the formula, I could do it myself.
ON GROWING PAINS
Ashley: Dawson’s a big crier (Laughs). Which is hilarious. Makes sense. Very ironic. As I am his mother, and I was known for crying on reality tv, but he’s a big crier.
Jared: Zero to a hundred real quick.
Ashley: Every day’s a little different. It’s like growing, physically growing. You don’t see yourself change over time, but if you took a picture every day, you’d see the growth. And that’s kind of how parenting is.
Jared: (Laughs). Any parent could tell you, you’re so in the moment that you’re not thinking about the future or the past. You’re just trying to get through this cry session, or get through this feeding session, whatever your child’s going through right now.
You know, every day is just a collection of small moments that add up to a life. And that’s what love is all about, sharing those moments with someone else.Jared
Jared: I think, with any new parent, your romance and your intimacy is going to take a back seat.
There’s not as much ‘passion’ or relationship time, but that is replaced by knowing someone has your back.
Ashley: I always thought, we’re never going to be that couple who’s like, “Oh, I don’t remember the last time we went to dinner or a movie.” I guess we became that couple.
Jared: I know. Plus, Dawson sleeps in our room right now. But he’s the best. He’s well worth it.
Sometimes the things that you love most in this world are also the most exhausting.Jared
Ashley: I’m a big love language person. He has been really good with words of affirmation. He’s always telling me, “You’re the best wife and mother.”
Jared: Ashley is my biggest supporter. She’s always comforting me, telling me that I’m doing a great job, that I’m a great dad, or… I’m skinny.
Ashley: He’s feeling very insecure about a dad bod right now.
Jared: I’ve always been defined by sports. I need to run around, I like being active, and I’ve lost a lot of that. From working out like five, six times a week to no times a week. It takes a toll on you mentally and physically.
It’s great to be around someone who’s constantly making me feel that even though it’s stressful in the moment, it’s gonna be alright in time.
Ashley: Every time I see Jared as a dad, I feel even more blessed that I am with him. He’s the perfect dad, but nothing about it surprises me. He’s just a nurturer. You love him in a whole different way.
Jared: I feel like it is taboo to talk about. Sometimes you have to just be like, This sucks.
Ashley is so good at not giving up. To see it firsthand, to see it with the person I love, it’s been pretty remarkable to have a front-row seat to that.
Ashley: I definitely don’t feel the pressure to be perfect all the time, or that motherhood needs to be sugarcoated. The lifestyle change is so jarring to me. I get really frustrated that I just can’t get anything done. I can’t remember the last time that I sat on the couch and truly was able to relax.
The one that makes me most sensitive are people saying, “You should feel lucky you’re going through this, because I can’t have a child.” That’s what makes me check myself.
But there’s a community out there that does need to talk about the stuff that we’re going through, what you go through in that adjustment period of having a baby. People come up to me, whether it’s at our coffee shop or whatnot, a Bachelor fan, and they say, “I just had a baby this year, too.” It’s so hard every time they just go, “Oh my gosh, it’s so wonderful!” I’m like, can we be real with each other? I need to talk to someone (Laughs).
Stay tuned every month to get the scoop on modern parenthood from our community. And remember, you’re doing amazing.