What are Reborns for? Who buys reborn dolls? How do they help?
Reborn dolls are actually a form of 3D art in the shape of a baby, to be enjoyed and collected by anyone who pleases. However; research into doll therapy has revealed that holding a reborn doll can also help parents with the grief process following a loss, individuals who have dementia or Alzheimer's and people who suffer from depression and anxiety.
Child Loss, Miscarriage, and Babies Born Sleeping
Reborn dolls can play a very important roll in the grief process, bringing comfort to parents who have lost a child, and also allowing them to have that new parent experience with some of the items that they may have received from their baby shower. (Fox, 2021) This is the most common reason buyers purchase a reborn art doll. Some parents of child loss say that holding a reborn doll is soothing and allows them to cope with their anxiety after the traumatic loss. (Tawfick, 2021) Reborn Dolls by Sara offers services to grieving parents that allows them to submit photos of their loved one, and a reborn doll is created to look like the baby. This is called a "portrait" (reborn) baby. Some mothers have even asked to place their child’s ashes inside the cloth body of the reborn doll, or to use their real hair for the rooting process so that their baby becomes a part of the reborn. There are also heartbeat boxes available, breathing aparati, and warming pouches.
Portrait baby Sera, made by me in 2022.
Alzheimer's and Dementia
Reborn dolls can also be extremely effective in treating the negative symptoms in patients who have dementia or Alzheimer’s. In one study, patients with Alzheimer's held a reborn doll while nurses asked them questions such as whether they had children of their own, whether their children were boys or girls, and what they thought the best part about being a parent was, and this triggered the ability to recall early memories for the patients. (Gorman, 2016)
Other studies show that reborns help reinforce feelings of attachment, increased social interaction, decreased anxiety, decreased agitation, increased smiling, increased activity level, improved ability to receive care, fewer negative verbal expressions, improved mood, decreased wandering, decreased obsessing, improved sleep, improved food intake, and ultimately, improved quality of life. (Ng, Ho, Koh, Tan, & Chan, 2017) (Heerema & Rahal, 2020) (Tamura, et al., 2001)
Even the male patients in a study done in Japan enjoyed the reborn dolls, so these benefits are not just limited to female patients. (Ng, Ho, Koh, Tan, & Chan, 2017) This overall increase in emotional wellbeing comes without any side effects from medication, and without having to worry about drug interactions. It also gives these patients the possibility of caring for someone else once again, even if now they are totally dependant on others to care for them. (The Alzheimer's Store Canada, n.d.)
Below is a patient from the "memory floor" from one of the nursing homes who purchased a reborn from me in 2020. (We have permission from the family and the nursing home to share.)
Studies show that holding a reborn doll for just 10-15 minutes per day can result in a reduction in anxiety and depression. (Korducki, 2020) When holding a realistic looking doll, the brain releases oxytocin. (Paradise Galleries, 2020) In an article medially reviewed by Dr Randy Bressler, PsyD., Alexandra Owens says "Oxytocin is typically linked to warm, fuzzy feelings and (is) shown in some research to lower stress and anxiety. Oxytocin has the power to regulate our emotional responses and pro-social behaviors, including trust, empathy, gazing, positive memories, processing of bonding cues, and positive communication." (PsyCom, 2021) This has been especially useful at this time in the world, where COVID still has some of us staying home, social distancing, being extra vigilant around those with weakened immune systems, and thus feeling isolated, and experiencing feelings of anxiety, depression, fear and/or loneliness. (PG, 2020)
Reborn Dolls by Sara offers a one-of-a-kind service that allow couples to submit photos of themselves as babies, and adults, that can be used to estimate what their baby could look like if they were to conceive naturally! This could be useful for same-sex couples, individuals who are transgender, individuals who are transexual, aspiring teen moms, couples experiencing infertility or single parents.
Dolls of all Races, Ethnicities, Genders, Genetic Makeup, and Abilities
Reborns are adored by doll collectors and former porcelain doll collectors because of the wide range of races and abilities. Historically, porcelain dolls and many other collectable art dolls were caucasian, had no genetic anomalies, were mostly female, and were able-bodied. Reborn art dolls provide collectors with a wide array of ethnicities, races, genders, genetic makeup, and abilities to choose from, representing all individuals!
Film, TV, Newborn Photography, Courses, and Classes
Reborn dolls have also been used for years as stand-ins for real babies in movies and TV shows, which is a very moral way to film babies and allows for non-stop filming. If you're a fan of the Netflix series Sweet Tooth, FracturedFX Inc. along with SEVERAL artists (reborn artists, technicians, hair artists, makeup artists, etc.) helped to create the silicone Gus(s) reborn, the babies in the nursery and the orangutang hybrid! Check them out on Instagram at @fracturedfxinc
Groovy Reborn was the team of three reborn artists behind the reborn being used in the flashback memory scene of Melodie in the Netflix series Archive 81! Check them out on Facebook at Groovy Reborn
Reborns can also be used as models for baby clothing makers, and as stand-ins for newborn photographers to test their lighting, props, backgrounds, camera settings, and for marketing.
Lastly, reborn dolls can be used in parenting classes, babysitter's courses, doula classes and other newborn baby training.