More and more women are turning to super-realistic baby dolls for therapy.
The so-called Reborn Dolls can easily be confused with real babies due to their lifelike looks. They come with hair, veins, eyelashes and many more features of a real baby.
Thanks to Facebook groups, fan clubs and organisations, the craft has gained global popularity since it originated in America in the 1990s.
There are thousands of collectors here in the UK.
Lindsey Deakin who is a popular Reborn artist in Nottingham says her big client base include “people that have suffered a loss or people who can’t have kids any longer or ever.”
The owner of Beautiful Leigh Reborn used to design and customize shoes, so she has “always been quite artistic anyway”.
The prices of Reborn Dolls can vary as the process of creating them is very time-consuming. It takes Lindsey a week to only “root the head of a baby”. Interestingly, although she creates them, she doesn’t collect them herself:
Audio: Lindsey does not collect the dolls herself
Video: Snippet of Lindsay working on the head of a reborn doll
“If I feel low, I can get them out and just hug them and they feel so real”
Vivienne Long, reborn collector
Vivienne Long from Moray, Scotland, is among those who use the dolls to recover from loss. She got pregnant with her second child at a young age but lost her baby girl due to an illness.
Statistics by Tommy’s reveal that “in the UK, it is estimated that 1 in 4 pregnancies end in loss during pregnancy or birth”.
Vivienne’s daughter would have turned 25 this year.
“If I feel low, I can get them out and just hug them and they feel so real”, says Vivienne.
Before she got into using Reborn Dolls, she tried different methods to overcome her grief:
Audio: Vivienne uses reborn dolls to help deal with the loss of her baby
However, baby loss is not the only common reason behind the collection of Reborn Dolls.
Tasha Harridge from Chesterfield uses them for her anxiety. She says she doesn’t “always like to be alone”.
“If I have a panic attack or I feel stressed when I’m going out, then I can take them”, says Tasha.
She’s been collecting the dolls since she was a teenager and at first her family seemed sceptical about her hobby:
Audio: Tasha’s family did not support her hobby in the beginning
There are divisive opinions among psychologists on the effectiveness of this form of therapy. Dr Ingrid Collins, who is a Consultant Psychologist at the London Medical Centre, predicts there might be lasting damaging effects:
Every Reborn collector may have their personal reasons, but they all have something in common: They find comfort in them.
A documentary about Reborn Dolls called “My Reborn Baby” will be available on YouTube very soon. Here is the link to the teaser: https://youtu.be/OtAZ6n1jG1c