Not Child's Play: 'I Feel Like I Have a Real Baby'

"What's so wonderful about reborns is that they're forever babies," she said. "They don't give you any trouble. There's no college tuition, no dirty diapers. … Just the good part of motherhood."

That day, she purchased a reborn called Rachel for $1,400 to add to her collection of 36 dolls.

More Than a Hobby?

Psychiatrist Sue Varma, who teaches at the NYU School of Medicine, believes that for some, collecting reborns is "more than just a hobby."

"Where it may become a problem, [is] if this is used as the only means of social interaction," said Varma. "If it's being used as a prop."

Studies show that when cuddling a real baby, brain chemicals are released that cause a kind of emotional rush.

No one knows if that happens with reborns, but Varma said, "I would not be surprised to learn that if a woman is holding a fake baby, that she would have the same chemical, hormonal reactions as if she was holding a real baby."

Several woman we spoke to called holding the reborns "cuddle therapy."

And when Linda received a new, dark-haired baby from Newsom, she seemed like a mom seeing her child for the first time.

"She's beautiful, oh my God, she's gorgeous!" Linda said.

Some people may think taking a fake baby out in a stroller and buying them real baby clothes is just bizarre, but Linda says it's better than having a "crazy habit" such as "drinking, or something that's going to hurt you."

"It's like a hobby," she said, "and it doesn't really hurt anybody."

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