The craze for Reborns has increased in the last few years. The psychology behind these realistic dolls is quite complex. Many women are said to collect the lifelike dolls after suffering the loss of a baby or repeated miscarriages. Although the dolls are not cheap, ranging from as low as $250 to as high as $15,000, many have found them to be less expensive than a formal adoption process.
The love for dolls has been around for countless years; however, Reborn dolls only date back to the early 90s. They are hand-painted, with individually rooted strands of hair and are weighted and stuffed to give owners, referred to as Reborners, the sense of a real live baby. The remarkable degree of realism is achieved after hours of love and labor are combined to create the popular dolls.
Many collectors simply enjoy playing the role of a mother to the dolls. One Reborner said when she is walking her dog, she will put the doll in its stroller, sling or blanket and onlookers think the Reborn is real. Eve Newsom, a Florida-based Reborn doll artist, said the dolls bring her joy and happiness. She stated:
Unable to have children and being void of the resources to actually adopt a child, this became her calling and has transitioned into her passion.
One British collector, Kerrie Williams, has been called a fanatic when it comes to Reborn dolls. She has spent over $30,000 on seven of the lifelike dolls; in addition to the money exhausted on pampering them with an expensive stroller, toys and clothes. Williams has two biological children but said she hit rock bottom, like so many other women, after suffering a miscarriage. She added:
I had hoped Owen could replace the child we had lost, but instead my family said the Reborn baby was weird.
The remarkable degree of realism is achieved by multiple layers of paint, beginning with mottled skin and tiny veins. Each layer of paint is baked on in an oven to make it permanent. The dolls are so realistic many people cannot tell they are fake. They have even have been known to cause a panic in awkward situations.
In England a five-year-old Reborner named Chanel Christofa carried Sam, her doll, everywhere she went. One day, the child left the doll in the car after her father dropped her at school. The father did not realize Sam was in the back seat of the car and exited the vehicle as usual when he arrived to his job. A person passed by the parked car, saw the doll and contacted the police. In a panic, officers smashed the window causing hundreds in damage to the vehicle only to discover the Reborn baby was not real.
Most of the Reborners are women. Some are collectors and others find solace with the dolls after losing a child, suffering a miscarriage or missing their biological children who are now grown and on their own. Some treat them as real babies by dressing them, washing their hair, and taking them for walks or even shopping.
Dolls can be uniquely created or part of a limited series which are made from the same mold. Some Reborners place special orders for dolls that are carbon copies of their own children who have passed away. These reborn babies are carefully crafted from hand-sculpted forms of clay made from the pictures of the child.
The obsession for Reborns continues to intensify. They can be purchased online from a variety of doll creators. The psychology behind many Reborners is the therapeutic results these realistic dolls offer, especially after losing a child or suffering from the inability to have a biological baby.
by Cherese Jackson (Virginia)
Top Image Courtesy of Reborn Baby – Creativecommons Flickr License
Inside Image Courtesy of Tea Drinker – Creativecommons Flickr License
Featured Image Courtesy of MissResincup – Creativecommons Flickr License