The Gift of a Reborn Doll

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Chubby cheeks and pink little toes, tiny fists and a button nose- the adorable innocence of a newborn child is unlike anything in the world. The miracle of a brand new life is incomparable, and for parents, its a chance to see the world anew through a little ones eyes.

Little ones are a precious gift, but sometimes life doesn't make it easy to have one. There's a myriad of issues that can prevent couples from having children, and missing the baby you never knew can be devastating. How do we cope? Where do we put all of these feelings?

One solution could be adopting a reborn doll.

It sounds silly at first, adults playing with dolls. What some fail to realize is that there are many benefits to owning a doll, especially one as unique as a reborn. Their lifelike faces and fingers really bring a feeling of comfort when cradled and cared for, just like a real baby. But why would someone want to own one? The main reason would probably be that they are highly therapeutic.

Reborn dolls works as a tangible object for emotions such as grief to go. The reborn is held, cuddled, kissed, and the bottled up emotions can be released. Caring for the doll can be a routine to create stability in someones daily life. They can be a comfort or distraction when stress is high. Just about anyone can benefit from a reborn.

The reasons and situations in which one would benefit from a reborn doll is numerous. From loss to anxiety to infertility, holding and caring for a reborn baby doll can be therapeutic. The lifelike features trick the mind into believing it is a real, living baby, and the brain will produce the same chemicals (such as dopamine and oxytocin) which will bring feelings of comfort and happiness. While the full science behind this can get complex, the takeaway is simple- holding babies just make us happy.

When it comes to reborns, the first thing most people tend to think of is women, specifically women who have experienced the loss of a child or infertility. A reborn doll gives many women the chance to role play motherhood and fulfill a purpose that has been longed for. This reborn unboxing video tells the story of Taylor Kellie and why a reborn baby doll was a life changing decision.

Couples often adopt a reborn together. Oftentimes a true adoption can be time consuming, costly, or too difficult to attain. Owning a reborn is an option for those who are unable to have their own children or adopt, and is a popular option for both hetero and same-sex couples.

While women may seem the most likely to purchase a reborn doll, many men have made use of a reborn to fulfill their own nurturing needs. Some can't wait to have a child with their significant other, and opt for a reborn doll to come until that time comes.

In recent years reborn baby dolls have found popularity with nursing homes. Again, it is the simple joy of seeing an infant that have positive effects on the mind. Reborns are often brought in for patients suffering from Alzhemiers and dementia, as well as those with depression and anxiety. When a patient holds a reborn doll, the doll bring back memories of when they cared for their own children.

Reborn dolls can be given to loved ones as gifts, especially those who thrive when they are nurturing. When my youngest sister was about five, she loved babies with all her heart. She loved to dress them, rock, them, feed them, do everything to care for little ones (and the dogs too!) She loved mothering so much my mother decided to get her something more lifelike. So she searched for a unique doll to give, eventually settling on Ashton Drake.

Starting in 1985, Ashton Drake has specialized in dolls, both whimsical and lifelike. Most dolls are made of silicon with a cloth body, although full silicon is available. Dolls can have bendable arms and legs so it can be posed in different positions. The body is filled with glass beads for weight so it feels like a real baby (weight depends on "age" of doll). Some dolls even come with features such as a heartbeat, cooing sounds, and even a breathing motion. These dolls can be ordered online along with clothes and accessories. Ashton Drake dolls are usually among the more affordable dolls as they are mass produced- many dolls can be purchased for as low as $120.

It's been a long time since my mom's last experience with purchasing a reborn doll. Now  that my sisters and I have all grown up and have babies of our own, the nurturing cycle continues. My mother loves being a meemaw, and with an empty nest, she started to want... something. She recalled the dolls she bought my sister long ago, and began looking into them. She adored their cherub faces and tiny clothes. Having a little one to cuddle whenever she wanted sounded like a dream.

Enter baby Wren.

Photos by Angel Aranda

Wren was designed by Kimberley Keller at Kimbry Dolls. She is a 12" full silicon doll and weighs about 1.5-2 lbs. This would place her as a 23-26 week preemie baby.

Photos by Angel Aranda

She is cuddled, swaddled, and dressed in her cutest outfits. She makes for a wonderful change up in a daily routine, and a comfort at the end of a long day.

Handmade dolls can come in a variety of sizes and can be modeled after real infants. Some are life size (true to their age), or if you live tiny, mini reborns are available. Depending on the designer, handmade reborns can be as low as $100 up to tens of thousands.

Having been around reborn dolls before, I know they are quite the experience when they are first opened. Their realness is almost... surreal? Photos do not do them justice. It's clear to see that a lot of work has gone into these reborns to give them the infant likeness we crave. Some people choose to take their dolls out and about with them, and often find themselves being approached by others to adore their little ones. 

Regardless of your reborns origin, these lifelike dolls are a wonderful choice for any reason one may have. Comfort, surrogacy, even practice is a good enough reason to adopt one. Own one for yourself or gift one to a loved one. A reborn doll, with their sleepy faces and chunky legs, are sure to delight anyone.

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  1. Wow! I never thought of all the reasons for a re-born doll!!
    Very insightful!


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