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Woman turns to roleplaying with collection of realistic dolls to help process the grief of baby loss

A woman has turned to roleplaying with her collection of realistic dolls to help her process the grief of baby loss – but now husband and miracle daughters join in too. 

Christina Keeler, 36, from Wyalusing, Pennsylvania, had always dreamt of being a mother, and in 2015 she and her husband Bill, 41, found out they were expecting a baby, but sadly lost the child.

Thankfully, Christina and Bill went on to have two daughters, Grace, four, and Joy, two, but Christina still had a longing for a newborn baby to hold and dress up.

The stay-at-home mother watched a documentary about people who take part in the hobby of roleplaying with hyper realistic dolls as if they are real babies and was instantly intrigued.

Christina researched the hobby on Instagram and bought her first reborn doll, Hannah Hope, in January 2021.

At first Christina was apprehensive to let her husband know about her newfound interest, but she was overwhelmed when he reacted positively. 

Christina Keeler, 36, from Wyalusing, Pennsylvania, has turned to roleplaying with her collection of realistic dolls to help her process the grief of baby loss

What started off as a hobby for Christina has now turned into a family affair with her two daughters Grace, four, and Joy, two, taking part in roleplaying and looking after the dolls

What started off as a hobby for Christina has now turned into a family affair with her two daughters Grace, four, and Joy, two, taking part in roleplaying and looking after the dolls

He has even taken an interest in the hobby himself – offering to help Christina set up a YouTube channel to document her journey.

Currently Christina has a collection of four dolls called, Isabella ‘Izzy’ Sage, Isaiah Scott, Lennon ‘Lenny’ Levi and Princess, who she loves to dress up, snuggle with and take pictures of. 

What started off as a hobby for Christina to seek solace and comfort in has now turned into a family affair with Bill and their two daughters actively taking part in roleplaying and looking after the dolls.

Grace and Joy love taking the dolls out in public to places like the supermarket – where people often mistake them for real life babies.

Currently Christina has a collection of four dolls called, Isabella 'Izzy' Sage, Isaiah Scott, Lennon 'Lenny' Levi and Princess, who she loves to dress up, snuggle with and take pictures of

Currently Christina has a collection of four dolls called, Isabella ‘Izzy’ Sage, Isaiah Scott, Lennon ‘Lenny’ Levi and Princess, who she loves to dress up, snuggle with and take pictures of

At first Christina was apprehensive to let her husband know about her newfound interest, but she was overwhelmed when he reacted positively

At first Christina was apprehensive to let her husband know about her newfound interest, but she was overwhelmed when he reacted positively

Christina researched the hobby on Instagram and bought her first reborn doll, Hannah Hope, in January 2021

Christina researched the hobby on Instagram and bought her first reborn doll, Hannah Hope, in January 2021

Christina said that she found herself ‘searching’ for the feeling of a newborn baby in her arms following the loss of her first child.

She said: ‘To this day it is very difficult to speak about, it is only because of reborns that I can even talk about it at all. 

Christine was diagnosed with endometriosis in her twenties and was told she’d never conceive.

The condition causes tissue similar to the lining of the womb to grow in other places, such as the ovaries and fallopian tubes.

So she was overjoyed when she fell pregnant with her first child in 2015.  

‘It didn’t feel real to us until we saw that sweet little baby at the ultrasound and heard that healthy beating heart on the monitor, it was then we knew it was real.

‘We were busy planning and preparing for our baby, until the week we finalised on a name which was the same week we lost our baby.’

Christina said she watched the documentary about reborn dolls, but admitted she found it ‘interesting but odd’.  

Grace and Joy love taking the dolls out in public to places like the supermarket - where people often mistake them for real life babies

Grace and Joy love taking the dolls out in public to places like the supermarket – where people often mistake them for real life babies

Christina said she watched the documentary about reborn dolls, but admitted she found it 'interesting but odd' at first

Christina said she watched the documentary about reborn dolls, but admitted she found it ‘interesting but odd’ at first 

She added: ‘I found myself looking at reborn dolls on Instagram almost obsessively. Eventually, I was brave enough to message an artist and asked how to purchase one of her dolls and my life was never the same after that. 

‘When my first reborn doll arrived, Bill offered to film my box opening for me. From then on my reborn hobby became a family affair. 

‘Now every reborn box opening Bill films and my daughters take part in many of the videos.’

Christina hopes to provide information to the reborn community and those who are interested in the hobby. 

‘My hope is to provide informative entertainment to both the reborn community and those curious about the hobby. 

Bill has even took an interest in the hobby himself - offering to help Christina set up a YouTube channel to document her journey

Bill has even took an interest in the hobby himself – offering to help Christina set up a YouTube channel to document her journey 

When Christina is out with her dolls, most people are shocked to learn they not real babies after mistaking them for newborns - something which is highly amusing for the family

When Christina is out with her dolls, most people are shocked to learn they not real babies after mistaking them for newborns – something which is highly amusing for the family

‘I started an Instagram to go along with our YouTube channel and as a way to share all the photos of my reborns.

‘I’ve only had both my channel and Instagram for about four months. They both have grown steadily in that time. It’s been so encouraging to see the growth and we can’t wait to see how much we’ve grown a year from now.’ 

What is endometriosis?  

Endometriosis occurs when cells in the lining of the womb are found elsewhere in the body. 

Each month, these cells react in the same way as those in the womb; building up, breaking down and bleeding. Yet, the blood has no way to escape the body.

Symptoms include pain, heavy periods and fatigue, as well as a higher risk of infertility, and bowel and bladder problems.

Its cause is unknown but may be genetic, related to problems with the immune system or exposure to chemicals.

Treatment focuses on pain relief and improving quality of life, which may include surgery or hormone treatment.

Source: Endometriosis UK

Despite her immediate family being supportive of their hobby, Christina admits that not everyone in her wider family understands reborns. 

Christina said ‘none of her friends and family’ support the hobby, adding that they find it ‘odd’ and ‘refuse to talk about it’.   

She said: ‘I wish they would be happy for me and celebrate that I found something I enjoy. 

‘This hobby might be strange to some people, but it isn’t hurting anyone – it’s a harmless hobby that I wish we could normalize. That’s my goal anyway. To normalize this hobby to be accepted by society. 

‘I think many people involved in the reborn hobby have similar family stories. If society accepts and normalizes this hobby, then so will my friends and family.’ 

When Christina is out and about with her dolls, most people are shocked to learn they not real babies after mistaking them for real life newborns – something which is highly amusing for the family. 

The mother-of-two added that other than the ‘occasional whispers’, people generally seem to respond well to the dolls.  

She said: ‘People will come up to us and ask how old the baby is or if they can take a look at the baby and then we tell people it’s a reborn doll – they are usually pretty surprised and have a good laugh and enjoy the incredible art that is so lifelike.

‘Sometimes, however, people will feel silly for thinking they are real. I feel bad because that’s not what it’s about. 

‘It’s meant to bring a smile to your face and enjoy the beauty and wonder of the art.’

Christina hopes that she will be able to normalize reborn dolls as a hobby, adding that it is ‘harmless’. 

Christina said that she found herself 'searching' for the feeling of a newborn baby in her arms following the loss of her first child

Christina said that she found herself ‘searching’ for the feeling of a newborn baby in her arms following the loss of her first child

She added that she hopes to showcase the artistry that goes into creating these beautiful dolls by normalizing the hobby

She added that she hopes to showcase the artistry that goes into creating these beautiful dolls by normalizing the hobby

She said: ‘I understand that this hobby may seem strange at first – but take a minute and ask yourselves, “Why does that bother me?”.

‘The truth is that this is a perfectly harmless hobby where a group of predominantly women admire the realism of the art in various ways such as holding them, photographing them, naming them etc.

‘Society accepts men collecting toy cars or trains, why should it be any different for women collecting dolls? 

‘I would love to normalize the reborn hobby, or at the very least make it more acceptable in today’s society.’

She added that she hopes to showcase the artistry that goes into creating these beautiful dolls by normalizing the hobby.

‘I appreciate the hard work and dedication the artists and sculptors have put in to perfect their craft.

‘I think that while many may not understand this hobby, at the very least, they can try to appreciate the difficulty and level of talent this art form takes.’ 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk