The Internet is a double-edged
sword. For every wonderful bit of information you discover, you find
something else you wish you didn’t know. "Reborns" fall squarely
in the latter category. Frankly, I’m a bit freaked out by the whole
concept. And what better reason to share it with you?
Noel was born on November 21,
2007, 20 inches long and weighing 5 pounds, 10 ounces. Adorable? All
babies are adorable. Only Noel isn’t a baby. Noel is a "reborn," a doll
painstakingly created to look and feel like a real baby. Some have heartbeats and
warm skin and appear to breathe. Some burp and cry and wiggle. They
can be customized with birthmarks, milk spots and even
scratches. And women are buying them like crazy on eBay or through professional reborners and then spending thousands of dollars
on baby clothes and accessories. Including strollers to take their babies
Several such women are featured
in My Fake Baby, a documentary that recently aired on British
Channel 4. You can watch the whole thing in 10-minute segments here and, theoretically, on Channel 4’s website. (I couldn’t get it to play, so it
may be restricted to the U.K.) If you can’t watch video, Midnight Celebrity
has a summary.
Sue Smith, one of the "mums"
in the doc, has nine babies (calling them dolls is a no-no) and is "expecting"
another. She’s spent about £25,000 on reborns — that’s $50K for those
of us in the States. Um, Sue? It’s not a real baby.
Sites like DollFan and Doll Chit Chat bring the moms together and let them
show off pictures of their kids. This one is captioned, "I like
playing in the garden with Daddy."
Want a preemie without all
that nasty life support? No problem.
How about triplets? No fertility
And nothing says fake baby
like creative studio portraiture.
I’m trying not to be judgmental.
I mean, I get two of every collectible I buy so I can keep one in the
package. And I have to admit that the artistry is amazing. But I don’t
think a woman who has a reborn made to look exactly like her baby who
died could be classified as a collector. And I can’t shake the story
in My Fake Baby of Christine, the grandmother who commissioned
a replica of her grandson who had moved away. When she strapped the
doll in a car seat, it was just sad.
Maybe it’s the extreme realism
of these dolls that seems to take this pastime well beyond the realm
The larger question is why
this subject is even deemed worthy of a documentary. Why focus on this
when many mothers are dealing with the loss of children head on? What
about couples who leap through all sorts of fiery hoops to adopt a real
live baby (like just about every lesbian adoptive parents that I know)?
What about lesbians who are homicidal maniacs who will do anything to
get pregnant? Oh, wait. I got reality mixed up with television for a minute.
Watch My Fake Baby when
you get a chance and let us know what you think. Is reborning a simple,
albeit expensive, hobby? Are these mums just girls who wanna have fun?
Or is this as creepy as it seems? And do you think I could put one of
these dolls in the car and get away with using the HOV lane?