Walking down the aisle to marry a complete stranger as part of a television reality show might not seem like the best way to find lasting love, but there's no denying that when it works, it really works. On Tuesday, Married At First Sight couple Ashley Petta and Anthony D'Amico announced that they're expecting their first child two years after tying the knot (and, uh, meeting for the first time ever) on the show's fifth season, and it sounds pretty clear that they're beyond thrilled about it. The couple told People magazine that they "have both always dreamed of having a child" and that they were "so happy to finally be making [their] dreams come true together."
Petta and D'Amico also shared the exciting news on their respective Instagram accounts, along with some seriously cute photos of themselves posing with their growing baby's ultrasound photos. In her post, Petta wrote, "We’re pregnant! I am so excited to finally share this exciting news with everyone," along with a close-up shot of the ultrasound photo, while D'Amico shared a photo of himself kissing his wife, and wrote that he and Petta "have always wanted to be parents" and were "looking forward to the next chapter of [their] lives."
The couple, who currently live in Chicago, met, married, and fell in love on the show in 2017, and they've been going strong ever since. But even early on in their relationship, it became pretty clear that having a family together was definitely in the cards: in one episode, Petta revealed that she'd intended on having a child on her own when she turned 30, according to People (though that plan got shelved once she found herself suddenly married only two months after her birthday!), and in the end, she and D'Amico came to the decision that they'd wait about a year before starting to try for a baby. And given that they celebrated their second wedding anniversary on August 5? It sounds like they ended up sticking to their timeline.
The news was a pretty big deal for fans of the show, who have long considered Petta and D'Amico's love story to be total goals. But they're not the only MAFS couple to go the distance: season one couple Cortney Hendrix and Jason Carrion celebrated four years of marriage in March, as did season one's Jamie Otis and Doug Hehner. And though Otis and Hehner got off to the quite the awkward start on their wedding day — she previously admitted on Instagram that she first thought marrying Hehner had been the "worst decision of [her] life" — the super in-love couple were also the first to become parents. After losing their son, Johnathan, 17 weeks into their first pregnancy, Otis and Hehner welcomed their daughter, Henley Grace, into the world in 2017.
So what is the show's secret for success? For one, the matchmaking process definitely isn't random: according to E! News, the show enlists the help of three marriage and relationship experts to ensure the couples chosen have the best shot of being a good fit, and unsurprisingly, it's pretty rigorous: before their weddings, all the individuals are given "separate and very in-depth psychological and background evaluations," including a final home visit by sociologist Dr. Pepper Schwartz, before the experts come together to narrow down the candidates and handpick the final couples who will be meeting at the alter.
But, naturally, even experts can only do so much: in January, Petta and D'Amico told E! News that staying together is really all about hard work — as well as about keeping an open mind. But though their love story may sound totally unconventional, D'Amico said he figured there was actually plenty of reason to believe marrying a stranger would totally work out for the best. He told E! News, "Relationships have been happening like this since way before MAFS was created. Hell, my grandparents were married through arranged marriage."
Taking the leap to find love on reality television definitely paid off for Petta and D'Amico, and seeing their baby announcement is just so heartwarming. Honestly, as much as the two must have had to deal with some serious naysayers at the beginning of their relationship, now, it looks like they'll have one pretty amazing story to tell their little one.