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Thread: Fake Babies: The Women Devoting Themselves to Eerily Lifelike Dolls

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    Fake Babies: The Women Devoting Themselves to Eerily Lifelike Dolls

    Another crazed symptom of a diseased world

    If you have £200 to spare, you can pick up the closest thing you can get to a real baby without actually giving birth

    Nestled on an ordinary high street, in an *ordinary Birmingham suburb, is a rather *extraordinary shop.

    At first sight it looks like a toy store, but open the door and you are *transported into a strange and bizarre fantasy world.

    Rows and rows of dolls, not just toys but eerily lifelike replica babies known as “reborn” dolls, stare down at you.

    The store, nestled between a charity shop and a newsagents, smells of talcum powder and baby oil.

    You can purchase anything for your doll here, from clothes and prams to cots and dummies.

    Welcome to fake baby paradise where, if you have £200 to spare, you can leave with the closest thing you can get to a real baby without actually giving birth.

    Suzanne Lewis’s reborn shop is at the heart of a burgeoning trade in fake baby dolls.

    And since she first opened her doors to the public seven years ago, the mum-of-two hasn’t looked back.

    “I used to sell baby clothes and the odd reborn doll, but all people seemed *interested in were the dolls,” she explains.

    “I quickly stopped selling clothes and just concentrated on making reborn dolls and now I’m busier than ever.”

    Since the first reborn doll was created in the US in the early 90s, the phenomenon has spread to Britain and came to most people’s attention in the Channel 4 *documentary My Fake Baby, which showed a woman wheeling her ‘baby’ around the streets in a pram.

    Since then, Suzanne has made hundreds of babies in various shapes, sizes and sexes, but each doll is alike in one way – they are all breathtakingly realistic.

    Suzanne is known as a “reborner” and can spend up to three weeks bringing a baby to life.

    Reborners pride themselves on *making a baby as realistic as possible by *painstakingly painting the dolls with up to 12 layers of paint to precisely mimic skin tones.

    TSuzanne Bland pictured at her Suzanne Lewis Reborn Baby shop
    Craft: Suzanne with some of her 'reborn' dolls (Photo: Neville Williams)
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    Nestled on an ordinary high street, in an *ordinary Birmingham suburb, is a rather *extraordinary shop.

    At first sight it looks like a toy store, but open the door and you are *transported into a strange and bizarre fantasy world.

    Rows and rows of dolls, not just toys but eerily lifelike replica babies known as “reborn” dolls, stare down at you.

    The store, nestled between a charity shop and a newsagents, smells of talcum powder and baby oil.

    You can purchase anything for your doll here, from clothes and prams to cots and dummies.

    Welcome to fake baby paradise where, if you have £200 to spare, you can leave with the closest thing you can get to a real baby without actually giving birth.

    Suzanne Lewis’s reborn shop is at the heart of a burgeoning trade in fake baby dolls.

    And since she first opened her doors to the public seven years ago, the mum-of-two hasn’t looked back.

    “I used to sell baby clothes and the odd reborn doll, but all people seemed *interested in were the dolls,” she explains.

    “I quickly stopped selling clothes and just concentrated on making reborn dolls and now I’m busier than ever.”

    Since the first reborn doll was created in the US in the early 90s, the phenomenon has spread to Britain and came to most people’s attention in the Channel 4 *documentary My Fake Baby, which showed a woman wheeling her ‘baby’ around the streets in a pram.

    Since then, Suzanne has made hundreds of babies in various shapes, sizes and sexes, but each doll is alike in one way – they are all breathtakingly realistic.

    Suzanne is known as a “reborner” and can spend up to three weeks bringing a baby to life.

    Reborners pride themselves on *making a baby as realistic as possible by *painstakingly painting the dolls with up to 12 layers of paint to precisely mimic skin tones.

    Caroline Robinson
    Emotions: Caroline Robinson with a reborn doll
    Then she can begin adding the individual customer’s requirements of veins, birthmarks and nails. Hair and eyelashes are then added strand by strand in a process known as micro-rooting.

    A single baby can take up to 40 hours alone to micro-root.

    No detail is too small and all reborn dolls’ heads are weighted so their owners have to support them like a real newborn.

    For those who crave absolute realism, Suzanne can even add an electronic device that mimics a heartbeat or make the chest rise and fall to simulate breathing.

    Still not lifelike enough? Reborn dolls can also come with an umbilical cord, baby fat, heat packs to make the skin warm to the touch and voice boxes to mimic gurgling.

    With such a huge devotion to realism it’s little wonder that in July 2008, police in *Queensland, *Australia, smashed a car window to save what seemed like an unconscious baby – only to find it was a reborn doll.

    So just what sort of woman is willing to part with anything from £120 to £350 to buy one?

    “I get all sorts of women through my door,” explains Suzanne, 45. “Of course, you do get women with very sad stories who have lost children and are looking to replace them, but they are in the minority.

    “I’ve had women coming in to buy their teenager daughters one in an attempt to put them off getting pregnant, and I had a woman in the other day who commissioned a *replica of her daughter as a baby to give to her on her 21st birthday.

    “I’ve even had a woman who bought one for her mother who has Alzheimer’s because she loves to feel a baby in her arms, not to *mention all the ‘empty nesters’ who come in for one. These dolls should be available on the NHS.”

    Suzanne also sells a lot of dolls to gypsies. “Gypsy women love reborns,” she says. “They tend to go for the darker skinned, open-eyed babies. They buy them for their *children.”

    From grieving mothers to gypsies, Suzanne prides herself on offering a personal service that includes giving customers a birth *certificate with their doll’s name and weight on it, the date they were ‘born’ and a dummy and blanket to wrap their new baby up in.

    “I like to make sure my customers are in baby *heaven from the minute they step through the door, so the shop always smells of baby powder,” she says. “We are a business, but it feels more like therapy *sometimes and I’ve actually become friends with a lot of my *customers.”

    So much so that she has even begun a *monthly coffee morning where *customers can come with their babies and treat them just like real *children.

    “It’s a safe place for like-minded people to meet and indulge their love of reborns by holding their babies and kissing them without fear of abuse or judgment,” she explains.

    Beulah Suket, 46, from Bradford, has two sons aged 25 and 23 and a daughter, 21.

    But discovering reborns has helped her deal with the trauma she experienced when most of her family was killed in a *devastating car crash in 1977.

    “I was just 12 when a lorry driver fell asleep at the wheel and veered into our lane,” she recalls. “My dad, three sisters and brother were killed. My mum and I were the only survivors.

    “It left me with terrible *internal injuries, a broken leg, a crushed pelvis and today I’m in a wheelchair.

    “The worst pain was *emotional, though. Then I found my *reborn dolls last year and they changed my life.

    “I have Rosebud and Tinkerbella Rose. I was drawn to Tinkerbella because she is so tiny and looks just like my sister when she was a baby.

    “Holding them does bring me *enormous *comfort and joy. I treat them like real babies. I dress them every morning in clean clothes and then I sit them on a playmat or swing.

    “I cuddle them and clean them with baby wipes and at night they’re dressed in sleep suits.

    “So many people have said, ‘you’re not normal’ and my answer is that if grown-up men can sit in garages with model railways, why can’t I collect and treasure dolls?

    “I’ve just collected my third, Rose Maria, and she will be my last.

    “Any more than three wouldn’t seem right. I wouldn’t be able to devote my time and love to more.

    “I’m so grateful to my dolls as they’re helping me to heal the hurt of my past.”

    Customer Caroline Robinson, from *Burntwood, Staffs, is a mum to three *grown-up children and has six reborn dolls.

    She explains: “I keep all my babies, Alice, Esme, Anna, Katy, Jake and Maria in my spare room, which is my ‘nursery’.

    “I’m a psychic and my dolls really help me to relax, they clear my mind and keep me focused.

    “I do a lot of psychic counselling and sometimes if I’ve done a traumatic reading it leaves me very wound up.

    “So when I get home and hold my dolls or make them clothes, it really helps me to switch off. It’s pure escapism.”

    Fellow reborner Claire Cope, 38, who works alongside Suzanne, says: “I love working here. We have such a laugh that it doesn’t feel like a job.

    "I have an autistic son – I knew he was special the minute he was born – but it’s been difficult at times as autistic children aren’t good with affection.

    "He would rather shake your hand than give you a kiss.

    “Dealing with all my reborn dolls is much more straightforward and *bringing them to life is the ultimate escape.

    "The problem is I fall in love with the ones I make and now I have 20 dolls at home that I can’t bare to part with.

    “I have some in a crib next to my bed and some in a pram in the conservatory. My husband groans, ‘Oh God, not another’ when I bring another baby home.”

    Suzanne herself has drawn enormous comfort from her reborn business.

    “Both my first and second marriages broke down and I *honestly think that if it wasn’t for the shop and throwing myself into work I would have had a total breakdown,” she says. “Coming here and helping other women is my salvation.”

    With so many women drawn to reborn dolls, it’s little wonder that a thriving *worldwide *industry has built up around it, with regular conferences, shows and even *magazines and websites devoted to the hobby.

    But despite this, the dolls continue to polarise opinion, with many claiming they are “creepy” or branding the practise of keeping them as “unhealthy”.

    Psychologist Dr Jane McCartney disagrees. “Many women love these dolls because they experience a release of a hormone called oxytocin in their bodies when they hold them, “ she says. “This is known as the *cuddle hormone and it’s released by the body when you give birth to, hold or feed a baby.

    “These dolls are so lifelike that in many cases, simply holding one in your arms can make you feel the effects of this hormone, which goes some way to explaining why many women love them.

    “There is nothing creepy about it. If a woman chooses to buy one to help ease her grief over the death of a child then that is her choice and is obviously what is right for her at that particular stage of her life.

    “I don’t see it as masking grief, merely a way of coming to terms with a loss.

    “At the end of the day they’re not hurting anyone.
    http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/real-li...e-women-786454

    Documentary about women who spend hundreds, some times thousands of pounds on dolls which look like life-like "fake babies":

    My Fake Baby

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    How freaking sick is this? Dolls are toys for little girls to play with, but not for grown women. How immature are they? Not any doll could ever replace my REAL children. These women are mentally ill.

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    It's sickening on the one hand because this could discourage women from becoming real mothers because they want to experienced the cuteness and positives of a baby but don't want to go through changing pampers, sleepless nights and crying of the newborns.

    But on the other hand I've watched a little bit of the documentary and it seems it's mostly a thing for older women who can't have children anymore or whose grandchildren have grown and moved away so they have an empty place in their lives which they think these dolls could fulfil. The problem is they don't just collect and keep dolls as a hobby. I've known some women who collect dolls as a hobby, it's not my thing but peoples collect a lot of strange things. But these women they take them out, stroll them around in prams, dress them and talk to them as to a baby. In my view that's a sign of depression or some other psychological condition...

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    Why don't they just get a dog, cat or some other pet?

    All of this sounds very weird and borderline psychotic.
    Life is like a fire hydrant- sometimes you help people put out their fires, but most of the time you just get peed on by every dog in the neighborhood.

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    This is without a doubt a truly destructive behaviour, but I am not surprised it is happening. I can in fact do nothing but pity those wanting these dolls.

    Those who get these dolls are just more victims of the modern mindset, they are taught individualism leading to egoism and only focusing on yourself. This leads to not wanting anything which actually "costs" anything, like relationships, having children and fighting for a controversial view. This is especially sad when viewing cases like these, because if a man wants a child he has to work for it, but if a woman is desperate to have a child its not hard to find a man willing to do the "job".
    And working against this sickness of modernity is biology, and that must be very frustrating for these women who wants children so badly that the even go to such lengths as substituting a real child for a doll. On a societal level they are made unable to have fuctioning relationships and tought that as a woman you don't really need kids or a man or to focus on family and hearth, but on the other hand biology run rampant and tears them apart from the other end.

    I feel no revulsion, only pity, and hope that i can give my daughter a more healthy world view.

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    I can't help but to have mixed feelings about it. Like Siebenbürgerin said, if it were just young fertile women who did this, it would be more enraging. But when you consider that the woman who creates the dolls already has some children or her own and can't get pregnant anymore, or consider the grandmother who misses her grandson who moved to another continent, it's rather saddening. They say they are not harming anyone but their husbands are clearly affected by this hobby. It's sort of living in a fantasy. I also see it becoming more dangerous for career women who just want a cuddly thing that doesn't cry or make a mess.
    "Tradition doesn't mean holding on to the ashes, it means passing the torch."
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    Quote Originally Posted by SpearBrave View Post
    Why don't they just get a dog, cat or some other pet?
    Well, if you yourself equal dogs to human babies, what is the -- pathological -- difference then? Whether they have a dog or a doll, both is no human baby, for which they are meant, as human females. If you object that a dog is a 'living being' who 'needs care', whereas a doll is not linving, then I say a dog, although living, is not anthropomorph, and the care a dog 'needs' should come from the dog mom, not from a human mom. Whereas a doll, although not living, at least is anthropomorph, and thus mirrors at least in part still the right longing. From a doll, you also won't get any dog flies & lice, or other deseases. A doll also will not eat up your money.

    I must tell you that I do find girls, playing daily with dogs for hours, disgusting and rejective, they may be pretty as hell. I always felt there is something wrong with such girls, they either need a boyfriend, or they don't need a boyfriend, if you know what I mean.

    Everey white girl, at one point, plays with dolls. Also every white girl, if the papa has got the money to afford it, will ride a horse at one point. In Germany, there is a very famous comic strip (not anime) about a she rider, it's and endless soap strip, reprinted again and again since 40 years. There is nothing in the strip, yet it seems to help girls to pass through puberty. We do know why girls like riding on horses so much, do we.

    It is the task of the parents, and especially of the father, to take good care of the daughter and to surveille her healthy growing and development. And this includes, that at the right time, not too early, yet also not too late, the father must lead the daughter into the right direction, and must let her go. There is always a risk, the whole life is one whole risk, the father must let the daughter go, yet if he, or she, or the other, failed, he still should be there for his daughter to catch her up, because let go means not let her fall into the abyss.
    Quote Originally Posted by SpearBrave View Post
    All of this sounds very weird and borderline psychotic.
    All these things are typical 'white', Germanic people's problems, as their life conditions are too safe, they have too much time, and too much food, too much everything, and they feel too much bored, they see too little sense.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Spjabork View Post
    Well, if you yourself equal dogs do human babies, what is the -- pathological -- difference then?
    Of course I do not equate dogs and cats to humans. However a human does have to care for dog or cat or at least they should if they want a good companion and they are not a cruel person. I have raised and trained many dogs and each one was different in their personalities, same goes for swine, cows, cats, horses and other animals.

    Dogs, cats and other animals have personalities, like humans they are each different in how they behave and interact. A doll on the other hand is an object that you can put on a shelf and only respond to it if you "feel like it".
    Yes, it does bother me when I see people treating dogs and cats like human babies, putting clothes on them, putting them in a pram, and other type human things.

    There is a dog that lives with me, I don't really own him and he comes and goes on his own free will. Often he goes to the neighbors for several days if that suits him. While I do talk to him and treat him like a friend, I never consider him a human. Though I will say he spends the bulk of his time with me and seems glad to see me when I have been away. He is very capable of taking care of himself as far as hunting food and finding shelter, so he is not really sticking around because I put food out for him, often he does not eat what I have put out as he prefers to find his own food, though I do give him vaccinations. He stays with me because he wants to. He has never had a collar or been penned up, he is free. He has been a good friend and companion these last 16 years and I am glad for it.
    Life is like a fire hydrant- sometimes you help people put out their fires, but most of the time you just get peed on by every dog in the neighborhood.

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