Reborn Dolls - Just Like Having a Real Baby?

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Remember in high school sex ed class when you had to take care of an egg? The experience was supposed to give you a little taste of what parenthood was like, as you tried to keep the egg from getting lost or broken. Now that I'm a parent I can say that experiment was nothing even remotely like having a baby. So how do you know you're really ready for parenthood, or if you'd make a good parent in the first place? For a growing number of women who yearn for something more than this season's must-have handbag, the answer lies in the swaddles of the reborn baby doll, "Reborns" are dolls that look and feel just like the real thing, so much so that the general public can't tell the difference. Call them cute, call them creepy, but these lifelike infant dolls give women the opportunity to try on motherhood -- or a simulation of it -- without any worse consequence than a few odd stares.

I see it as the no harm, no foul approach to trying out parenting. Of course, this approach doesn't prepare you for actual parenthood either -- these fake babies don't cry or wake you up in the middle of the night screaming and don't impress with their capacity for projectile bodily liquids. Yet perhaps the reborn babies take the fear out of holding a fragile little baby, of wondering and worrying if, indeed, someone is ready to take that next step towards pregnancy.

Practice Babies, Pets and More!

    Whether it's for parenting practice, harmless fun, or to strike fear into the hearts of sexually active teenagers, your son or daughter can pretend to care for a number of pseudo-living things -- from the traditional to the high-tech and everything in between.

    For a growing number of women who yearn for something more than this season's must-have handbag, the answer lies in the swaddles of the reborn baby doll, "Reborns" are dolls that look and feel just like the real thing, so much so that the general public can't tell the difference.

    Eve's Realistic Newborns

    The "Baby Think It Over" simulator is designed to inspire potentially promiscuous teens to examine the possible ramifications of a moment of passion.

    solutions-site.org

    Who needs a blinking, peeing bundle of plastic joy when you can experience the burdens of parenthood by lugging around a $2-bag of flour?

    kingarthurflower.com

    Some might believe that a bag of flour is a little more robust than your average newborn -- but a fragile egg can help you experience the delicate task of protecting a baby.

    13dede at SXC

    For a friend that's a little more lifelike, try a Furby. This "must-have" toy from the late 90s slowly learns to speak English the longer it lives in your home.

    capitrueno at flickr

    Another "must-have" gadget with the tween set, these Tamagotchi key chains task their owners with feeding, bathing, and playing with them -- or they die!

    Tamagotchi

    And of course who can forget the infamous Pet Rock? The 1970s fad convinced kids that a lifeless gray stone could be a pet.

    Wikipedia Commons

    Worried about the cost and responsibility of dog ownership? Suspicious that your son or daughter won't follow through on their pre-pet promises to walk, feed and bath Fido? Try Hasbro's "Furreal" for an almost real canine companion.

    Hasbro

    Thinking about a bunny but can't stand the smell? This rabbit-esque gadget blinks, moves, and even lights up! Not exactly realistic, but adorable just the same.

    Nabaztag.com

There are also those of us who've had our children and are decidedly not having anymore. I just had my second baby and now have two kids under the age of two to put through daycare and college. I don't know that I'd have the time or the resources to have yet another child. Yet every time I hear about a baby being born I think how nice it would be to cradle another little new bundle of joy, perhaps one that won't spit up on my last clean shirt. Really, though, I consider myself blessed to have children--but what about women who are unable to have children and don't want to or cannot adopt?

Linda, a 49-year-old reborn baby owner, told ABC's 20/20 that she loves her reborn doll because "It feels like I have a real baby." Linda buys baby clothes for her reborn, swaddles it, takes it with her wherever she goes. "I take them out to the park, if I'm walking the dog, and maybe put it in its stroller, or put it in its sling, or hold it in a blanket, and people do think it's real." No one knows the difference and she gets treated like a mommy. Which is probably to say that people are nice to her and give her positive attention. Florida artist Eve Newsom, who creates reborn babies, said that the dolls filled that empty place in her heart created by numerous miscarriages and the financial inability to consider adoption. "My reborns bring me a medium of joy and happiness." Is there any crime in that?

I live in New York City. Literally, not a day goes by when I don't read, see or hear about a child who was injured or killed by abusive parents or caregivers. Those are the people that need our energy and attention -- not these gals who happen to have a fake baby. You want to go after someone who has a weird attitude about kids -- take on those who are inflicting violence on their children. And to those who would look down at a woman who has a fake baby, I would ask them how it feels to have a miscarriage or be told they'll never be able to have a child of their own, to be told they don't have enough money to adopt, to suffer from empty-nest syndrome or find they are at a point in their lives where children or more children simply aren't in the cards. Those things hurt. A real baby these reborns are not, but, like real babies, they bring with them much joy and love. And how can that possibly be a bad thing?

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.