Not all pregnancies have a happy ending with the mother holding their baby in their arms. An estimated 15 percent of pregnancies end up in miscarriage, which is devastating and can leave untold heartache and grief in the mother.
We live in a world where women who miscarry are told to quickly get their act together and move on with their lives.They are not given time to fully heal from their loss and many end up bottling their feelings inside and putting a brave face for society.
What if there was a way in which grieving mothers would channel their emotions and externalise their internal pain? What if there was a way in which these women could temporarily be given a chance to come to terms with their loss and get the much needed closure? Well, silicone dolls, although not common in Kenya, may provide some bit of reprieve for that.
A reborn doll made from silicone, is a manufactured doll that has been transformed by an artist to resemble a human infant with as much realism as possible. Because of its material, the silicone ‘baby’ can be washed without getting damaged. Collectors can feed, change, dress, talk to and comfort these squishy, soft and insanely lifelike dolls.
The argument on using reborn silicone dolls in the grieving process is mixed. While some people swear by the positive effects the dolls have on them, others find it creepy and view collectors as mentally unstable.
What supporters say
Some psychologists are of the opinion that the dolls help grieving mothers by providing a physical object for the mother to channel her feelings and emotions. Studies suggest that hugs and cuddles release the hormone oxytocin in mothers which gives them an emotional rush and enhances their mood. This is achievable with both real babies and the dolls.
Psychologist Sandra Wheatley argues that the silicone dolls are a healthy option for women dealing with loss as it helps them to come out of the sad situation gradually. She however cautions grieving mothers to use it as a transitional tool only.
A psychiatrist from the New York Presbyterian Hospital, Gail Saltz, believes that the dolls are the first step in helping women grieve the loss of a child. She also cautions women not to get too attached to the dolls as it will hinder the grieving process.
What opposers say
Opponents of reborn silicone baby dolls argue that the realistic nature of the dolls prolongs the grieving process as the collector can get too attached to the ‘baby’.
Dr Collins, Sue Varma, a psychiatrist at the NYU School of Medicine, is against the use of the dolls as a prop by grieving mothers who use them as the only means of socializing.
After all is said, it all comes down to how an individual chooses to express their grief. There is no standard method to help anyone who is grieving. Men collect cars, coins, stamps and guns, why does it suddenly become creepy when women collect dolls? If a silicone baby can help you get over your loss, by all means go ahead and purchase it! Just remember that the doll remains just that, a doll and it can never replace a human being.