If you've ever searched the Internet for realistic baby dolls, you've likely come across the expensive and almost eerily life-like Reborn dolls. For hundreds to thousands of dollars, you can have a doll that's the size of a preemie or even a toddler, often painted in such detail that fine little veins are visible only in certain light. Just like a real baby!
But when you search more on them, you also find some sad forums, posts, blogs, and videos. And you learn that if you dare refer to them as a "fake baby," you really anger the people who honestly treat these dolls as if they were very real ... sometimes to a worrisome point, much like Gabrielle on Desperate Housewives, who almost got herself shot to rescue her "daughter" from the car during a car-jacking.
I can see enjoying these things as collector's items. Heck, I have a Pez dispenser collection, and if I had tons of money, I'd want all those fancy "Around the World" Barbies. But never would I think of them as anything more than what they are -- just items, not real.
However, some women literally treat these baby dolls as real babies -- some having complete nurseries with the same cribs, car seats, and strollers that you'd buy for a living and breathing child. One forum I read awhile ago had women who refused to accept any language that suggested the dolls weren't alive -- if they got scratched or broken, they said they had an injury and were visiting the doctor, when of course they were just shipping the doll for repairs.
There are videos that teach you how to treat the baby so onlookers can't tell that it's not real, including one on how to create the most realistic-looking bottle of formula (that won't leak) or how to make it look like you are breastfeeding when you are not. Because your baby is. not. real.
There are also videos on how to create formula-fed or breastfed POOP so you can change diapers to complete the fantasy. You know how much moms love changing diapers and all. Some of them are creepily life-like, and there are even ones that are designed to look like they're breathing.
Women who have suffered loss, especially stillborns, can have replicas made of their real baby who passed away, and on some of these forums, the women discuss caring for the baby as if it were their real child, calling it by the passed baby's name.
I'm sure there are people who will tell me that I just don't understand and to leave these women alone, but it freaks me out, and I can't help but think that of anyone who would treat a doll as if it were real, to the point of being offended if anyone suggests it's not.
Are you as freaked out by these Reborn babies as I am?
Image via Bespokebabies