Women have made massive gains towards gender equality in the modern era, but it has come with certain sacrifices. As more women in the developed world join the professional workforce fewer marry and have children, and those who do, are waiting until later in life. Fewer children and the deconstruction of extended family networks usual with urbanization are also leaving many older women without regular contact with their grandchildren, if they are lucky enough to have them. In all cases, the result is often loneliness and an unfulfilled desire to nurture. Many substitute with pets, gardens, and co-dependent partners, but an old idea is filling the void for many British women, the baby doll. In this case, an eerily lifelike “re-born” that wiggles and emulates sleeping and breathing is available. A recent documentary on Britain’s Channel 4, titled My Fake Baby, portrays the often sad role these dolls play for a wide spectrum of women looking for something to make them feel better. The doll can be custom made to look like any baby, a dead one, a grown one, or coveted one. The woman who came up with the idea and designs the babies herself suffered miscarriages and eventual infertility. She admits that she often cries when sending the dolls to their new “parents.” The dolls start at £350 and have been known to deeply disturb the partners of those who order them. One wonders how psychologically effective these re-borns will be, and if some women may find their suffering more acute once these dolls fail to replace the love of a child.

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