baby

'After I lost contact with my sons, I became a Reborner. My baby dolls help me heal.'

I was married in another country, and after the marriage ended, I lost contact with my sons. In September it will be 19 years that I haven’t seen my three boys.

I grieve for my kids. They’re not dead, but I grieve for them, because I can’t talk to them. I don’t see them or hear them. I don’t know what’s going on in their lives. I am a grandmother of a little girl who’s three years old and I don’t know what she looks like.

I couldn’t cope. I kept crying all the time. I would just cry and cry and cry. I was getting more and more depressed. I started to get sick, really sick. My body was shutting down. I got diagnosed with fibromyalgia.

Watch: A tribute to all the babies we've lost. Post continues below.


Video via Mamamia

I was on 15 medications. I worked in a pharmacy and they used to call me “the drug queen” at work because I was taking almost more tablets than were in the pharmacy.

My doctor said, “You’re taking enough medications. You’re taking them for the pain, you’re taking them for your depression. I can’t do anything more for you.” 

My psychologist didn’t know what to tell me anymore. 

Three years ago, I got so desperate that one day I just typed “realistic-looking baby dolls” into Google and [Reborn doll artist] Annette Kravchenko’s videos popped up. I spent hours and hours looking at her tutorials and her babies that looked so real. I started to see if anybody around here in Western Australia had them. I found a lady close by who had a baby for sale on Gumtree, so I asked if I could go and have a look. 

The minute she put that baby doll in my arms I just burst into tears. It gave me a nurturing feeling, the feeling a mother gets when she holds her newborn. The weight is the same as the weight of a baby.

I used to get anxious when I’d go out in public. When I have anxiety attacks I can’t breathe. I thought, “You know what? I am going to take this baby with me everywhere I go, and I don’t care what anybody says.” So then I bought a pram and I bought a car seat and I started taking her with me. I just hold her to my chest and it calms me down.

Image: Supplied.

ADVERTISEMENT

I rocked up one day to the session with my psychologist and he said, “Whose baby is that?” 

I said, “Mine. It’s my therapy baby. It’s a doll.” 

He couldn’t believe it because she looked so realistic. And he started seeing the difference in me. 

I had been trying to do things like meditation before but it didn’t help. Then once I had the baby, through meditation and things like that, I could control my pain and I could control my emotions. 

It’s changed my life completely. I’m down to three medications. Even my GP can’t believe it.

I’ve got quite a few babies now. They’ve got names like Faith, Hope, Harmony and Serenity. Faith was my very first one, so she’s still a little bit my favourite. Daisy is my granddaughter’s name, so I’ve named one Daisy Grace.

I’ve got more clothes for the babies than for myself! I go to op shops, although I did go and buy three new outfits for Harmony, Faith and Hope because they’re like triplets.

Today I bathed one of my silicone babies. The pleasure of bathing a baby and putting powder on her and a new nappy and all that, it’s just very relaxing for me.

If have a sad feeling, like on one of my son’s birthdays or my granddaughter’s birthday, I’ll just pick up a baby and rock her and it helps. Mother's Day is still hard for me. On Mother;s Day I lock myself in the house. I sleep all day and wait until the next day because I just cannot cope.

When I’m out with one of my babies, most of the time, people think she’s real. But my psychologist said to me, “Don’t fool people, because it’s not right.” 

If people say, “Oh, your baby looks gorgeous,” I always say, “Thank you. She’s my therapy baby.”

They look at me puzzled, so then I explain a little bit. I’ve only had one negative comment and that was from a friend of mine who said to me, “Oh God, she looks dead.” 

I’m like, “Excuse me, that’s not very nice.” 

In my little group of friends there are three guys who help me with the pram up the stairs. They understand because they know what I’ve been through. 

Just because I’m 64 and I have a pram and I have a therapy baby, it doesn’t mean I’m crazy. Everybody copes the best way they can with their grief. This is my way. If you’d walked in my shoes, who knows?

I have a YouTube channel where I document everything. I want this to become an actual therapy. I’ve got a group here, My Therapy Reborn Group. There’s about 20 of us and we meet up every three weeks. There are ladies who have lost a child, girls with autism and one lady who can’t have children, so she makes the reborns. I’m really happy that I can help others.

I want people to be able to find a certain amount of peace, like I have. I don’t know if I’ll ever see my sons again. Everything is in God’s hands. But at least I have that serenity, and it’s made me just accept what is.

Feature Image: Supplied.

If this post brings up issues for you please contact Lifeline 13 11 14 for support or beyondblue 1300 22 4636.

00:00 / ???