Love Is Blind's Jessica Batten Opens Up About 'Learning to Be a Parent' to Her Fiancé's 2 Kids

·5 min read
Jessica Batten
Jessica Batten

Drew Herrmann Jessica Batten

Jessica Batten is readying herself for two new titles: wife and stepmom.

After getting engaged to fiancé Benjamin McGrath earlier this month, the Love Is Blind star tells PEOPLE that she's been focused on "learning to be a parent" to his 6-year-old daughter Poppy and 5-year-old son Ethan from a previous relationship.

"It's been awesome and three for the price of one for me," Batten tells PEOPLE. "I didn't know this would be in my future, but I couldn't imagine my life without them. They're so super special to me."

While Batten has been loving every moment with the kids, she's also sought out guidance from her therapist in navigating her new role.

"I see her once a week — Ben sees her as well — and she's been super helpful for us," she says. "I think it's important for individuals and all couples to normalize that."

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Love is Blind's Jessica Batten's engagement
Love is Blind's Jessica Batten's engagement

Shay La'Vee/@shaylavee1/Shaylaveephotography.art Jessica Batten and Benjamin McGrath

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As to what she's learned about being a parent so far, Batten says it's the importance of finding "a balance" in both her relationship with her fiancé and the kids.

"It's a lot of sacrifice, but it's so rewarding," she says. "After being by myself for so long, or just me and [my dog] Payton, now having them, it's just a whole different perspective."

She's also noticed she gets "more excited about the little things now."

"We went on the train one time to a Padres game, and for me, that's not super exciting, but seeing them experiencing it for the first time, it's just a whole new level of excitement for me because I get to see them having that joy," she says.

RELATED VIDEO: Jessica Batten On Why She Showed Up to 'Love Is Blind: After the Altar' Alone to 'Face the Music'

McGrath, a California-based foot and ankle surgeon, proposed to Batten at Akash Winery in Temecula, California, with all of their family and friends on hand to celebrate, including the kids.

"I gave Ben a congratulations card, and then I wrote in the card, 'I'm not sure if I'm supposed to give you a congratulations card or not, but I feel like I would have waited another 37 years to have experienced this feeling in this moment and having you and the kids in my life,' " she says.

Though it's been almost three weeks since their engagement, Batten — who started dating McGrath in March 2020, right before the COVID-19 pandemic sent California into lockdown — thinks the kids don't quite understand what that entails.

"They ended up coming to the engagement party and had a blast, but I don't think they know," Batten says with a laugh. "[Poppy] asked me a few weeks ago if daddy liked me! I've been waiting for her to notice my ring."

"They're young, and they know I'm going to be around," she adds. "I met them when they were 3 and 4, so I've been in a big chunk of their lives, and it's kind of status quo for them."

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On any given Saturday morning, Batten says she and the kids can be found drinking chocolate milk and watching cartoons together.

"I feel so much more childlike now that I have two best friends to do stuff like that with," she says. "Sometimes I think Ben thinks he has three children now."

When they're not drinking chocolate milk, Batten says she and her fiancé are typically pretty health-conscious, which is why she thought a partnership with the Canadian-based healthy snack food brand Healthy Crunch seemed like a perfect fit.

Jessica Batten
Jessica Batten

Drew Herrmann Jessica Batten

"Healthy Crunch has been such a good addition to our lifestyle," she says. "In the past few months we've gone into a Whole 30 diet, and we're trying to eat as raw as possible. My fiancé actually has a gluten intolerance, as well as lactose intolerance."

"We're really trying to limit sugar, because sugar adds to my issues with anxiety," she continues. "We also noticed that the kids do so much better with less sugar, obviously, so Healthy Crunch is a really good substitute. Their seed butters are so great, and the kids love the granola bars. It's been such an awesome partnership because it works so well with our lifestyle."

As Batten looks forward to her future with McGrath, she says she's excited to expand their family.

"We can't wait to start," she says. "I think we're going to have a very short engagement, and then, yeah, we're definitely [going to have] kids down the road. Whatever that looks like for us, whatever God blesses us with. I'm also open to adoption too, so we'll see what happens."

While reflecting on this moment, Batten says it's "emotional" for her to see how far she's come.

"Both of us have had a broken road that led us to each other," she says. "And I know that's a really cliché, sappy love song, but it's very true for us."