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Maybe (not) baby

January 4, 2008
chucky.jpgCor blimey, so much I wanted to say about Wednesday night’s My Fake Baby but I’ve been so busy in my new job, I haven’t had the chance. Apologies.

On reflection it’s difficult to come down on one side on these women. Part of me feels sorry for them and their rather obvious mental health issues. Part of me think they’re ultimately selfish.

Before we go on, it’s confession time. When I was about 12 (and had totally outgrown such things) I used to play with a girl I knew who lived on my road, and we’d secretly play with Barbie dolls. It was unspoken between us that we’d never utter a word of this to our schoolmates, but once a week, I’d go over to hers, or she’d come to mine and we’d both sit and make up scenarios. Of course, now I like to think that I did it for the fashion, or because I was really into drama and acting. I could style the dolls how I liked and direct them in a mini film. So I can totally understand people doing things like that – doll making or doll collecting as a hobby. But when a grown woman pretends a lump of plastic is a real baby, taking it out in public, feeding it fake milk, carting it around in an uber expensive pram, it’s another matter.
Of course, you could argue that these women are merely fantasising (as I was) and that no one gets hurt. But actually, as the doc showed, people do get terribly hurt. One women sought a reborn (which makes it sound Blade Runner-esque if you ask me) because she missed her grandson, Harry, who had been taken to New Zealand for a new life with his mother. To be fair this woman (I’ve forgotten her name, curses for not having a notebook while watching!) – let’s call her Jean – more or less raised Harry for a time, while his mother fought off and recovered from cancer. So she thought of him as her own child (rightly or wrongly).

Grieving for the child she hardly ever saw, Jean enlisted the help of Jamie, another mad lady who makes these things. Jean gave Jamie some photos of Harry as a baby, and Jamie made sure to make the reborn just like him – warts (or birthmarks, anyway) and all. And when Jean took ‘Harry’ home, did her husband (Harry’s grandfather) cry, embrace the ‘child’ and thank his wife for bringing the bundle of joy back into their lives? Nope. He freaked out and said it was like seeing Harry on a mortuary slab. And too right!

Another (clearly bonkers) lady brought her husband shopping for clothes and accessories for her ‘baby’. “Do you think this would suit Olive or Stacey?” she asked her indifferent husband. He shook his head, utterly speechless, and looked sad and more than a tad confused (and exasperated). So this sort of thing does have an affect on personal (real-life) relationships and it *does* hurt people. They were so obsessed with their own desires that neither of them stopped to think of the effect on their partners.

geddes.jpegThe same lady (imagine the kind of person who finds Ellen Maurer-Stroh and Anne Geddes designs adorable, hair piled on her head, frosted pink lippy on and manicured frosted pink nails), whilst shopping for a £75 pair of booties for her creepy doll, showed how she brings a ‘bottle of milk’ out with her (presumably incase her lump of plastic, wrapped in cotton and bows gets thirsty? Riiiiight). She explained that it’s better to use washing powder solution instead of real milk because it never goes mouldy. You could argue that the women had the dolls as substitute babies. But this wasn’t a show about women who wanted to be parents – be that naturally, through fertility treatment or through adoption. It was about women who didn’t want real babies because they were messy and imperfect (‘Jean’ admitted that she’d only buy a posh flask case because her ‘baby’ wouldn’t mess it up) It wasn’t about people coping with the loss of their fertility, more it was about people who couldn’t deal with the reality and responsibility of bringing up a child: the mess, the tantrums, the challenges!


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One Comment leave one →
  1. November 11, 2009 10:02 pm

    I just saw a news segment on the “reborns”

    It’s amazing that people treat them like real babies.

    But what was more amazing is that they are charging sometimes thousands of dollars for them.

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