I’m not easily shocked. But I was left speechless today. A good friend of mine regaled me with her recent experience of meeting the parent of a reborn baby. Want to see some – check this out. I do appreciate the craftsmanship.
Never heard of them? Neither had I. Apparently they have been around since the 1990’s. Where have I been?
Turns out the 60+ year old seemingly normal gentleman and his wife had adopted a reborn baby. Simply put it is a silicone doll. But not just any doll. It is so cleverly crafted that the really good quality ones are VERY lifelike. There have been instances of police being called to rescue babies left in a car only to find that on opening the door, it is a reborn baby doll.
The birthing was so emotional they were reduced to tears. Some creators of these dolls provide a full on ‘birthing’ experience as part of the adoption process. From what I’ve seen on YouTube most reborns arrive packed in boxes. The baby is wrapped in a bunny rug, it’s head wrapped in tissue paper, or in one video I saw, a nappy. I suppose it stops the head from breaking. Ewwww. Seems so wrong when you see the reborn emerge, looking like a real baby.
It transpires that this couple had purchased a good quality one. They can be very expensive – anything from a few hundred dollars to many thousands. Thus far it has cost them over AUD10,000.00. That includes the cost of the doll, setting up a nursery, buying all the requisite baby gear as you would for any newborn. Really truly like it was an actual living baby. He complained that their baby had gone from 4 hourly feeding to 2 hourly and his wife was exhausted, unable to do anything else but care for the baby.
On an online forum someone complained that their baby had gastro. WTF?! (excuse the language…) Who in their right mind wants a pretend baby with diarrhoea?
He went on to describe a life that revolved around their baby to the extent that his wife is now breastfeeding it. For real. She has started lactating. Formula is a supplementary feed if she does not have enough milk. Their weekly shop includes nappies, formula, and other baby essentials, including maternity bras. They have introduced their baby to their adult children, neighbours and friends with mixed reactions. I wonder why. To be honest I wondered why to most of what I heard.
Not only are they planning a big first birthday bash, pony rides included, there are plans to adopt another. The baby ‘grows’ and develops. As with all proud new parents he rattled off birth weight, length and current weight.
Apparently there is a large world-wide community of reborn baby families. I felt like I had stepped into some weird, surreal alternative reality, listening as the story unfolded, revealing more and more bizarre facts. I am the first to acknowledge that life-like babies can provide a useful therapeutic adjunct to those suffering loss and grief of a child. And as therapy aids for the elderly.
But what I heard today went way beyond that. When I googled for images, I came across a Harry Potter reborn, a couple of blue Avatar aliens, a zombie reborn….
According to Wikipedia, the craft of making reborn dolls began in the United States in the late 1990s. Reborning follows a long tradition of collectors, artists, and manufacturers restoring and enhancing dolls in order to portray more realism. The internet has allowed doll artists and collectors to create an online society focused on reborn dolls. In 2002, the first reborn was offered on eBay.This has expanded the reborn market allowing artists to open online stores which function figuratively as nurseries. The niche market for the dolls began with doll collectors who admired the superior lifelike accuracy of the doll. The market quickly reached those who wanted to use the doll as an emotional outlet, either to mother or for therapeutic purposes. Mass media coverage has helped to develop the phenomenon in other countries. Reborning enjoys popularity in the United Kingdom and Australia, but has also reached Canada, the rest of Europe, Africa, and Latin America. Doll manufacturers have also taken advantage of the trend and sell supplies, tools, and accessories catering to reborn followers. This has allowed reborners to invent new techniques causing the dolls to become increasingly realistic over time. Magazines, books, organizations, and conventions dedicated to reborn dolls have been started as a result of this popularity.
This has left me feeling deeply disturbed. For many reasons.
What do you think?
Love your kids – unconditionally