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To not understand reborn dolls (trigger warning)

(46 Posts)
FairytalesAreBullshit Wed 15-Mar-17 17:55:05

This is something that has been on my mind for a while, plus it seems to be growing in popularity.

I've had my share of losses, so I understand the pain and grief, one was quite late too but not at a gestation to be a still birth.

Someone I know got pregnant, told the world, then it turned out to be a chemical pregnancy. I supported her saying how crap it was, all the usual supportive stuff. A few months later she was showing pictures of these reborn dolls and didn't know which one to get. If still pregnant she would have been about 12 weeks.

She got this doll, went shopping for baby clothes, a Moses basket, pushchair. I think even her DH was a bit hmm as the Dr said they would likely fall pregnant again no issue, usual statistics, nothing to worry about.

On IG there's loads of photos of this doll, nappy changes, new outfits every day. It's like it's a living thing.

I know we all grieve differently, I could understand if it was a later loss, you'd know the sex, you could pick out a name, like we did.

I feel horrible for not understanding the craze where some women who just want the doll not the baby, have them made to order. They look like the real thing.

There's only so many times you can go so cute, etc, kind of supporting the whole idea, when my experience in this area was to move on if that makes sense. Go through all the stages of grief, not just me but DH too as men don't really get regarded when it comes to pregnancy loss, it's usually a woman's thing.

Can someone explain it? Am I horrible for not understanding it?

HecateAntaia Wed 15-Mar-17 17:58:45

you already know why.

you said it yourself.

grief. loss.

basically, what you are asking is why do some people deal with their grief in a different way to me.

that's honestly not a question anyone can answer. they just do.

and really you dont need to understand their thought processes . you just need to recognise that this is their manifestation of grief.

bigbuttons Wed 15-Mar-17 17:58:56

You don't need to understand it, just accept it.

CalmItKermitt Wed 15-Mar-17 18:02:19

I know what you mean op.

I get that it comes from grief but I don't think it's particularly healthy and if I were her DH I'd be getting her some help.

PageNowFoundFileUnderSpartacus Wed 15-Mar-17 18:06:54

I can admire the artistry that goes into them.

I can understand that some women get comfort from them after stillbirth and pregnancy lost.

I worry that sometimes, the dependency on the doll to be a substitute baby can become psychologically unhealthy and the grieving process gets "stuck". But I appreciate it's not for me to tell a bereaved mother she shouldn't have one if she feels it helps.

Personally I find them fucking creepy. Again, I appreciate that's my issue.

PageNowFoundFileUnderSpartacus Wed 15-Mar-17 18:07:34

*pregnancy loss

LoveMyLittleSuperhero Wed 15-Mar-17 18:11:51

I worry that sometimes, the dependency on the doll to be a substitute baby can become psychologically unhealthy and the grieving process gets "stuck".
This.
I lost my first born at ten weeks old, I know everyone grieves differently, but the reborn dolls worry me in that some women seem to almost want to believe they are the real baby. It's so sad, because our children at whatever gestation/age aren't meant to die before us, it isn't something our brains can really fully compute, but the dolls feel to me like a way of not trying to move forward and heal what you can.

tigermoll Wed 15-Mar-17 18:12:46

I could understand if it was a later loss

Well, just take the understanding that you'd have in that situation and apply it to this one.

my experience in this area was to move on if that makes sense

That was your experience. Her experience may be very different. Not better or worse, just different.

Do you genuinely want to "understand"? Maybe you should reflect on why your friend's method of dealing with her loss is irking you so much. That's not being snarky -- I genuinely think you might benefit from working out just why it bothers you. Do you feel perhaps that you weren't given the support and acknowledgement you needed to get through your own losses, and are (in a way) jealous that she is seeming to invite attention?

FairytalesAreBullshit Wed 15-Mar-17 18:22:12

That's the only way I can put it, I know we all grieve differently. But since getting this doll it's a regular feature on IG, she's said her DH wants nothing to do with it. He wants to look to the future.

I worry that by pretending these reborn babies are your baby then you're not working or moving through the stages of grief. What do you do if you get pregnant again and all goes well. You're attached to the reborn doll, do you introduce it as a sibling? That's something I wonder about as I've had losses at various stages like I said, at no point have we ever really said anything to our children about what's gone on, apart from the one time, when it was, oh baby has gone to heaven. With later losses I understand it's totally different. But due to my history we never mentioned anything before 12 weeks, after what happened, we didn't really feel comfy until 24 weeks. That's just us though.

FairytalesAreBullshit Wed 15-Mar-17 18:54:57

Tigermoll I don't think I'm jealous about it, I never wanted any fuss, just to get back to normal. Part of me thinks it's unhealthy, another part of me worries for her that she might need help overcoming this, but I don't have the first idea how you'd address that, if her DH has failed.

I'll just block out the pictures and hope for the best. You're right 6 weeks or 22 weeks she could still be living through the pregnancy in her head.

Casschops Wed 15-Mar-17 19:50:17

I think it is incredibly sad that people feel the level of grief whereby they have to buy a doll to try to fill what must be a terrible void.We all grieve differently and it is whatever helps you through. Grief and hormones are a strange combination and make us do things that others perceive as bizarre. Personally I wonder if the person becomes stick or if there are benefits to having a doll, who knows but we just need to be kind anyway. The dolls themselves give me the creeps but that is no reflection on the the person themselves. I just hope you can support your friend though all this.

NavyandWhite Wed 15-Mar-17 20:03:43

What's IG?

gamerchick Wed 15-Mar-17 20:06:19

She's not you.

PageNowFoundFileUnderSpartacus Wed 15-Mar-17 20:09:14

Navy IG = Instagram

FishInAWetSuitAndFlippers Wed 15-Mar-17 20:09:53

You don't have to understand it. Just let her get on with it.

We all grieve differently.

I've been told when grieving for my children that I shouldn't be doing x or I should be doing y. The truth is we all do what we can to get us through and that's ok. She isn't hurting anyone else.

Rainydayspending Wed 15-Mar-17 20:11:06

There's a few good points and if you're struggling to understand perhaps she, you or your friendship might benefit from a chat about what it means to her.
I know one person who found one of these dolls great for avoiding dealing with her fear of going through it all again (we were chatting as I'd had 3 losses, some experience of that fear). She'd got pregnant and made all of her plans (as you do). The loss took her completely unaware and she realised there was nothing to be done, explained etc. She was left with fear of committing to a pregnancy again. It was probably her first experience of properly not having some control/ say since being a child. She hated it. She has had counselling and is tentatively ttc again (after 3 years now). Probably a totally different experience for your friend but an insight into what one of the reborn "mums" feels about it.

AnUtterIdiot Wed 15-Mar-17 20:11:50

IG = Instagram, I think.

I don't understand it either, and I wouldn't be sure how to react to someone posting photos of their doll on FB in that way, but that's the sort of thing I scroll through. Or mute/unfollow (whatever it is that means you're still friends but you don't see their updates). I had an MC at 12 weeks and did not feel that I was in the category of "mother who has lost her child", but I also felt generally very weird and sad so perhaps other people deal with it differently.

zeeboo Wed 15-Mar-17 20:14:39

Like most other posters have said, it's her grief and her experience. But also, some of us grown women like to play with dolls. Some men have train sets or drones or war hammer figures and that's fine, but as soon as a woman has a doll she's mentally unstable. I have long since come out the other side of my miscarriages but my DD 2 and I are currently saving for a reborn. I like to buy and sew and knit little tiny clothes. I like to cuddle something that feels like a baby when I'm watching Tv and I like to admire the incredible artistry. I won't be pushing mine out in the pram but that's my personal choice.

Jazzywazzydodah Wed 15-Mar-17 20:19:18

She needs help. That's not normal grief. If she was walking around with a cabbage head and a face drew on it - people would help her get help.

zeeboo that's honestly the creepiest thing I've ever read on MN. (Shudder)

The worlds gawn mad!

minisoksmakehardwork Wed 15-Mar-17 20:44:19

While I find the dolls as an actual substitute baby creepy, I kind of understand zeeboo's thinking.

I adored rocking my babies, stroking their little cheeks while they napped snug in my arms. But the youngest are now 4 and we definitely aren't having any more children. I no longer have the yearning for a baby that I did. But to have a doll, weighted the same as mine were to rock again and soothe, a reminder of when mine were tiny. I absolutely get it.

BeaderBird Wed 15-Mar-17 20:49:39

I was seven years trying for my daughter and several times I thought about getting one of these dolls. I wanted to hold it and cuddle it and just try to imagine it was my own real child.

You didn't need to ask why, did you? You've just poked fun under the guise of being genuinely puzzled.

FairytalesAreBullshit Fri 17-Mar-17 02:26:41

You've got it wrong, there's others thankfully who agree with my thoughts that it's likely to stall the grieving process, having something you pass off as your own baby can't be healthy, they're pretty creepy. Like God forbid if DC didn't make it, my thoughts wouldn't be send on the photos to make a doll of them, when DC was born it had been so traumatic that I couldn't bond that easily and it was very similar to my experiences of having previous losses, if anything I appeared to be grieving. Even DH struggled as DC was born floppy and not breathing, there's such helplessness or the feeling of, it was like we expected the worst to happen so we're scared to get attached. Medically I'd been treated like shit by the hospital, the only form of apology I got was, when they took DC away, I was being stitched up, I'd been given something as I wasn't well, so wasn't with Really with it, but as I started to come back, I heard the Dr saying to the trainee that pretty much everything I'd experienced was valid, my choices saved DC's life, that was pretty much the only validation I had that I wasn't crazy. If that makes sense. Even though there had been very real complications, I couldn't praise my community MW enough, the hospital though, I remember having my own room to recover, I was a panicking nervous wreck.

I've had losses from 9 weeks till just before the end of the 2nd trimester although due to growth stuff, dates were always changing. Getting told the last sonographer must have got it wrong. Even at 9 weeks you're losing placenta and other stuff. With a chemical pregnancy you have a period that's a bit heavier than it might normally.

Fair enough we all cope different, maybe if the doll was something that was bought if she was near her due date, say 30 weeks plus, she needed something physical as she hadn't got pregnant. She treats the doll like a baby. Her DH has tried to say come on let's go to the Dr's, family and friends have said we think you would benefit from speaking to someone. She doesn't want to hear it.

Both sides of the spectrum you've got those who think they're a bit odd, then those who are considering getting one as they want a life like baby to cuddle. Plus opinions in between. I don't think there's a right or wrong answer. I'm not the only one who's given the views I have about the situation.

When trying for DC2 a simple doll would upset my husband, as DC1 would be looking after it so to speak, after losses, it was hard to see, as even with a doll, in his head, DC1 could have a sibling they were giving the love and attention too. So it's not just women who are affected. But there has to be a line where each to their own, but maybe if you're acting like this reborn doll is the real thing all day every day, you need help.

With my losses at 9 weeks plus, my feelings were the same as the PP that lost a baby at 12 weeks. It didn't feel like an actual loss, even though from weekly scans you could see arms, legs, heartbeat etc. Each person is different.

I don't get why some are solely jumping down my neck when others have shared the same or similar sentiments.

kali110 Fri 17-Mar-17 02:43:32

I think it's unfair to say if it was a later loss, she's grieving.
If this helps her, it helps her.
People always say therapy, but it isn't for everyone.
Reborns divide mnet. I don't care if a person wants one.

Jazzywazzydodah that's not a nice thing to say.
If zee wants to get one then so what? Just because you don't like them doesn't make it creepy.

WayfaringStranger Fri 17-Mar-17 03:02:51

YABU to judge her. Her pain is her pain and it is valid. For some people, they are able to find different ways to cope with miscarriage and baby loss. This woman clearly is struggling and this is her outlet.

LaGatoteca Fri 17-Mar-17 03:27:36

The dolls are just somewhere for the love to go.

The thing I read that helped me most with grief was in a novel called Guernica. It spoke about grief as love with nowhere to go. That how you come to terms with grief is by finding a way to express that love- divert it into other people, purposes and pursuits that are meaningful. That takes time.

If it's a doll, so what really. Whatever helps. I buy people I have loved and lost presents on significant dates (birthdays, Xmas, Mother's Day). I mean people lost before birth and people lost in old age. Sometimes I buy me or DH presents from them at similar times (Mother's Day, Father's Day, birthday, wedding anniversary). Sometimes it's a candle, or a teddy bear, a little toy or a favourite perfume.

It's just somewhere for the love to go.

There is precedent for this kind of thing in other cultures. I walked up a mountain in Japan once, a holy mountain in Shinto terms. There were many temples on the way up the mountain. At the doors of the temples, you would see these stone carvings of babies and children. They represented children lost by parents.

Some of them, at the temples lower on the slopes, were very elaborately carved and dressed in luxurious, ornate clothes. The higher you went, the simpler they got. Very high up, they might be just a simple rounded stone, wrapped in a plain cloth or no cloth at all.

My friend, who was living close by, explained to me that the tradition was that people from wealthy backgrounds bought ornately carvings, dressed them in luxurious clothes, made big donations to the temple. Whilst less wealthy people carried the carvings up to higher temples. The idea being that you give financially til you can give no more, or you carry the (often very heavy) stone as far up as you can, until you are exhausted. And that both ways were equally regarded and respected. It was just signifying how the parents would have shown their love for their child had the child lived, given their circumstances. The idea is just to have an outlet for the love that now has nowhere to go.

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