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The first time Karolina Jonderko held a reborn doll, she was amazed at how lifelike it was. It not only looked like a newborn baby, but it felt like one, too. It was as heavy as a baby should be. She had to support its neck like a baby. It even smelled like a baby. These dolls, crafted by artists around the world, can cost hundreds and sometimes even thousands of dollars. Some even have systems that mimic breathing and a beating heart. Most of the people who own these dolls are collectors. But for some, Jonderko said, the dolls appear to provide a therapeutic benefit.
She started browsing through the internet, looking for ways to deal with this loss, and she found the dolls. And that's how her doll became a part of the family. Barbara Smolinska originally bought a reborn doll to be a birthday present for her daughter. But when she saw it in person, she decided to keep it for herself. Smolinska modeled a doll on him based on a photo. Smolinska has also seen the dolls make people uncomfortable, but she and Jonderko said the majority of their experiences have been positive.
This is horrible. They were fooled. They thought it was a real. The people dialed for help. We had to explain that it's just a doll and walk around the bus to show that it's just a doll. Looking for someone who enjoys lifelikes to have fun has also heard of some incidents where a doll was left in a car seat and the police or someone else broke the glass because they thought it was a real baby in distress. Most of the people at the fair thought it was a doll because it slept so quietly. Jonderko hopes her photos can take away some of the stigma that may come with the dolls and the people who own them.
She has seen firsthand how they have helped women such as Magda. Two months after Jonderko photographed her, Magda said she was pregnant. She gave birth to a baby boy, and the doll ended up in a closet. It was no longer needed. Reborn dolls are displayed at a doll show in Brentwood, England. Katarzyna sits with her reborn doll while her children play in a park in Warsaw, Poland. A woman caresses the toes on her reborn doll.
One of her subjects, Katarzyna, got a doll after suffering a miscarriage. She said the doll has helped her in dealing with stress and overcoming an eating disorder. A photo album shows the different ways that one woman dressed up her doll. Every hair is inserted separately with a tiny needle before the finished head is connected to the body.
A doll is baked in an oven to fix the special paint on the vinyl.
It can take up to two weeks for Smolinska to make a doll, depending on the order. She made it look like a real hospital where babies are treated. Ewa and her partner are now adopting a real baby, and the doll has been sold. Ewa holds a reborn doll in Rzeszow, Poland. She lost her son at 18 days and never got a chance to hold him. Not everyone is enamored with reborn dolls. The realism can rub some the wrong way. Women walk with their strollers in Olesnica. One of the babies is real, and one is a doll.
The lifelike dolls are sometimes mistaken for the real thing. That realism can occasionally come with some downsides. Smolinska created a Facebook group seven years ago for reborn doll enthusiasts in Poland. Three or four times a year, they meet in person, bringing their dolls with them. When the doll enthusiasts gathered at a restaurant, there was only one high chair. So the rest of the dolls were left on the floor, puzzling some of the other customers.
A doll is left outside a building in Olesnica. Looking for someone who enjoys lifelikes to have fun when you hold a reborn doll, Jonderko said, your mind can play tricks on you. Ewa holds a doll in Bytom, England. Smolinska organized a game during one of the recent gatherings for doll owners: Who can dress up their doll the fastest?
Magda had a doll for seven years. She and her husband were having trouble conceiving. Magda would later give birth to a baby boy. A new doll is packed and ready to be sent to a new owner. Each package comes with a birth certificate, and the box-opening ritual can be important for many doll owners, Jonderko said. Many women film the moment and share it.Looking for someone who enjoys lifelikes to have fun
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These lifelike dolls are helping women heal