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

Women embrace "reborns," designed to look and feel like a real newborn.

ByABC News
December 23, 2008, 10:58 AM

Jan. 2, 2009— -- There is almost nothing as miraculous as a newborn baby. And for some women, the desire for a tiny infant never goes away.

To satisfy their yearning, they're turning to so-called "reborns," dolls that are designed to look and feel just like a real newborn baby.

Linda, 49, who asked that her last name be kept private, is one of the few women willing to speak about her relationship with reborns. She says she enjoys taking them out and about with her and comforts them like actual infants.

"It feels like I have a real baby," she said.

Married with no children of her own, Linda says she feels like a mom now that she has reborns.

"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."

Linda even buys them real baby clothes because she says, "They don't fit in doll clothes. You have to buy real baby sizes." Linda admits that her dolls are kind of a substitute for babies and that she especially savors moments when other people think that her reborns are real.

"I guess it would be considered, like, a maternal instinct," she said. "You're, like, all happy and proud, 'cause they're, you know, googling over your baby."

When asked whether she had considered adopting a real baby, Linda said it wasn't the right choice for her.

"It's very difficult to get, you know," she said. "And it's a lot more expensive than buying the little dolls."

On average, Linda spends about $500 for each reborn, which are delivered by mail to her home.

Her first, named Jodi, is from Florida-based doll artist Eve Newsom. "I call my reborns babies," Newsom said. "Because to me, by the time I'm finished, the purpose is to make it a baby."