“Reborners”. They’re not just the group of self-taught artists that hand-make, collect, and interact with these dolls. There are childless couples and single women that invest thousands upon thousands of dollars purchasing these dolls, buying their equipment and clothing. They hold them, dress them, wash their hair, and take them for walks in the park. They treat them exactly as if they are real babies.
Creating the dolls is a labor-intensive, complicated process. Some required up to 80 individual layers of painting, veining, blushing mottling, and toning, cured with heat. Strands of individual hairs are attached to the scalp one at a time. The dolls are weighted so that they feel like real babies when held in someone’s arms. Some of them are heated to 98.6 degrees, have mechanisms that make them move, or audible “heartbeats” and breathing devices. Shudder.
They completely freak me out.
I try my best to remain open minded. I truly do. I do not begrudge the “reborners” the right to do whatever they want, and it does no one any harm…especially me…. but admittedly, the whole thing disturbs me at some fundamental level. I can understand collecting these dolls for their artful workmanship….but I can’t relate to going into the fantasy of treating them as if they are real children. It just doesn’t seem healthy.
This is hard for me to explain, but it seems as though these people miss the point of actually having children and are only doing this reborn thing for show. Children are not put here to gratify our egos. They aren’t show pieces for us to dress up and parade around. This whole reborners thing seems shallow. Crazy….like other people that do things for appearance..such as pretend they have happy relationships when they don’t, creating “happy family” personae online but living in wild disharmony in real life.
This is just nuts. You can’t replace a child with a doll! If you’re so lonely that you need to throw away thousands of dollars on this sort of thing, why not take in a foster child? Why not volunteer at a hospital to hold and rock babies in nurseries. (I did that for years when I lived in Texas and loved every minute of it, even though I had actual children!) In other words, why not do some child some GOOD instead of becoming ensconced in a fantasy would that acts like these dolls are real people?
What follows is a documentary about this whole phenomenon. It isn’t the excellent BBC documentary that I originally watched about these people, but that one doesn’t seem to be online. This will give you an idea of what goes on in the reborn community, however.