Women who have trouble conceiving or have lost a baby, can now pay hundreds of dollars for hyper-realistic reborn dolls so they can deal with the pain of infertility or loss.
A trade fair in norther Spain called the Bilbao Reborn Doll Show specialises in hyper-realistic silicone baby dolls and gives us a look at the reborn dolls phenomenon.
The advent of reborn dolls
Nobody really knows how these dolls came to be called reborn dolls, but the name makes sense for women grieving over the death of an infant.
The craft of making reborn dolls didn’t begin until the late 1990s. It started in the United States, following a long tradition of collectors, artists, and manufacturers restoring and enhancing dolls to make them more realistic.
The internet boom at the turn of the century allowed doll artisans and collectors to connect with each other and create an online society focused on creating reborn dolls.
You can get reborn dolls in varying degrees of realism. Some models are more life-like, with details like belly buttons and hands that open and close.
People can even personalise their doll to suit their sensibilities, like changing the doll’s gender, skin colour, or eye colour.
One Spanish reborn doll company, Mya Babies, makes handmade reborn dolls with “pee systems.” This system allows them to be fed from a bottle before urinating like a living baby.
Mya Babies’ makers say “Our Hyper-realistic Silicone Babies are incredibly adorable because it feels like a real baby’s touch. They are soft and tender like real babies and have a strong resemblance to real skin. The high quality platinum silicone they are made of makes these babies realistic.”
These customised, high-end animatronic dolls can cost around £1,315 (SGD2,417). The standard, non-animatronic models start at £408 (SGD750).
A growing demand
These reborn dolls seem to be gaining popularity, as there’s a growing demand for them. The dolls are usually modelled after infants and toddlers up to three years of age.
While many owners of these dolls are merely collectors, many of the industry’s patrons are grieving mothers or women trying to conceive.
They become “parents” to these reborn dolls and treat them as real children. The reborn doll parents change the dolls’ clothes, dress, bathe, and feed them. They take them out on a stroller or put them to “sleep” in a cradle at night.
Some of these customers have experienced miscarriages, still birth, have no means of adoption, or suffer from empty nest syndrome.
Dealing with the pain
One woman, who was told by doctors that she was infertile at the age of 22, now has three reborn dolls that she treats like her own children. She even takes them shopping in car seats and brings them on holiday.
There’s also one woman who “fakes her pregnancies” and now has 10 reborn dolls. Sadly, internet trolls forced her off social media because of the dolls.
One heartbroken dad broke down in tears after seeing a lifelike reborn doll that looked just like his son who passed away at childbirth.
Depending on the reborn doll’s level of realism, the dolls may move and appear to breathe. Some reborn doll companies market their dolls with “drink, wet, poo” functions like real babies. Of course, these functions only work if the owner fully charges the doll.
What do you feel? Could these dolls really help a grieving woman cope? Share your thoughts with us.