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My name is Michelle Manning Williamson.

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Monday, September 24, 2012

ARTICLE - EDMONTON MOM CREATES DOLLS THAT HELP EXPLAIN CHILDBIRTH TO KIDS

Edmonton mom creates dolls that help explain childbirth to kids

When an Edmonton mother of three wanted to explain the birthing and breastfeeding process to her young children, she decided a birthing doll would help explain it better than she could with words alone.

Adriana Guerra had seen birthing dolls while training to be a doula, and decided to make her own for her children to play with, and learn from.

“One of my trainers had a little doll from Brazil, and it was a birthing doll,” she recalls.

“I looked at it, and I said ‘oh this is a great tool.’ I made one for my own children because I was expecting my third child, and we used it as a learning tool – about how the birth was going to go.”

Imagine a simple, soft material doll, much like a Cabbage Patch Kid, with an opening for a baby doll to emerge.
The dolls come with an infant that inserts into a tummy pouch; created by a second layer of fabric sewn across the mother doll’s front, with an opening at the bottom. The doll also comes with a detachable placenta and umbilical cord.

“They can show a mother that is pregnant, they can see how the baby is inside the belly, then they can see the birth of the baby, and the baby comes with a placenta and a cord, and they can talk about the placenta and the cord - what they are and what they’re used for,” Guerra explains.

Simplicity was a key focus for Guerra. She wanted her children to understand the basics, without being overwhelmed with too much confusing detail.

“The idea of showing how a birth happens in a natural way, in a very simple way, it is a way to learn, to keep them interested,” she says.

“I think it is a very, very good learning tool because children learn through play.”

Each infant has a snap on its mouth that can be attached to a snap on the mother doll’s nipples to mimic the breastfeeding process.

By including education at a young age, Guerra believes a child’s comfort level when it comes to experiences like childbirth and breastfeeding will be improved.

“He learns this is the way children come into the world. When he is an adult, he will carry on with that belief, and things are not going to be scary, they’re not going to be unnatural.”

When the dolls were initially conceived in 2007, Guerra was studying to be a doula. Her fellow students soon caught wind of her birthing dolls, and wanted some of their own. After that, the demand continued to grow.

“Immediately after, my doula colleagues started to request some, family wanted some, friends… and it ended up being a business.”

In 2008, Guerra started the company “MamAmor Dolls” to sell her creations. In Spanish, the name means “mother love.”

They’ve since been used by expectant parents; to give older children an idea of what’s to come, as well as midwives, doulas, and sexual education teachers.

“This is the best way to do it, just tell them exactly what’s happening with a tool that’s simple and visual.”

There are numerous styles and skin colours, and the dolls can even be custom-made to resemble a customer upon request. There are also caesarean versions of MamAmor Dolls. Guerra says they’re recommended for children ages 3 and older. They cost between $160 and $200, and Guerra says she’s already sold 400 this year. Most of her business comes from online sales. She has since employed five Edmonton workers and two women from Uruquay to help her sew the dolls.

Guerra says MamAmor dolls are all about showing children that childbirth and breastfeeding are natural life processes, and nothing to be squeamish about. She’s seen the benefits of the dolls – and the conversation they spark – firsthand.

“Play is a fabulous way of teaching them about the world, and something that is very natural in humans is birth,” she says.

Guerra believes incorporating birth into regular play makes it more natural, comfortable, and establishes these processes as a part of life. Guerra believes children deserve to hear the truth about childbirth.

“Children need to know the truth. These days, children are really smart. They really need to know what happens. You don’t have to go into details,” she says, adding the level of conversation would depend on the age of the child.

“I truly think it’s important to tell them things are the way they are,” she adds.
 

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

ARTICLE - INCREDIBLY REALISTIC DOLLS BY LAURENCE RUET

Incredibly Realistic Dolls by Laurence Ruet

Posted by Inspir3d on September 4, 2012


It is hard to believe that these little girls are not real.  French artist Laurence Ruet creates incredibly lifelike dolls using polymer clay.  Details on the face and the limbs are painted with acrylic afterwards. There is no mold, which makes each creation unique and original.

Price range from 450 euros to 480 euros for a little 7,87 inches baby, 800 to 900 euros for a 13,77 inches piece, and 1250 to 1350 euros for a 20 inches tall girl. More details can be found here.




ARTICLE - REBORN DOLLS : WHEN A HOBBY BECOMES AN OBSESSION

Reborn dolls: When a hobby becomes an obsession

  By Amanda Edwards

 A rising number of women around the world are succumbing to the strange addiction of collecting and caring for dolls that look eerily like newborn babies. The reborn dolls are made to feel just like a tiny baby in a person’s arms and women of upper and lower classes are falling victim to their desire to nurture these “babies” sometimes to the detriment of their family dynamic. Why is this happening? When does a hobby become an obsession?

In the field of mental health, to summarize plainly, a hobby brings joy while an obsession brings destruction. Painting is an example of a hobby that, for most, is enjoyable and enriches a person’s life. Most of the time, painting (or engaging in any other hobby) for a few hours a week would cause no harm to an individual or those around them. Partaking in a hobby is a healthy way of expressing self and individuality in a world where we’re often defined by our career roles. A hobby becomes an obsession when the damage done to a person, their family, or their existence outweighs the enjoyment they gain from the experience.


Collecting dolls is absolutely an acceptable hobby, one that dates back hundreds of years and provides work and fulfillment for many people. The fascination with the reborn doll movement is that it’s not simply about collecting and creating these dolls as a hobby, it’s about providing care for them, nurturing them, and sometimes, choosing them over family.

Recently, Voxxi reported about Alice Winston, a woman who collects these dolls and has lost her husband in part due to her emotional connection to her “babies.” Despite having five children of her own, she stated that, “No relationship will ever come between me and my babies, and I wouldn’t give them up for my children.” Clearly, a woman who chooses her doll collection over her relationships with her husband and children has an obsession, but why?

Alice started collecting dolls when her kitten and child fostering didn’t fill the void that she felt upon accepting that she should have no more children, as reported by the Telegraph. Her adolescent and adult children were no longer filling the void within her and she, like many women, felt the need to nurture something… anything…

A logical person may say this woman is crazy for spending thousands of dollars and countless hours on her “babies” while her marriage fell apart and her own children continued to grow. She doesn’t seem to think so and neither do her supporters.

Some women start collecting the reborn dolls to replace a stillborn child or lost pregnancy. For a woman who goes to the hospital, expecting to bring home a bundle of joy and doesn’t get to, there is no “proper” way to grieve and mourn and if a snuggle with a doll commemorating the short life of a lost baby helps a family heal, they should not be judged. Alice is not one of those mothers though. She has five children of her own already, her obsession has damaged herself and her family and, while no one with mental illness should be judged, she is putting her own children in danger and that cannot be ignored.

The unreasonable obsession starts when that “baby” takes precedence over other important aspects of the mother’s life. Then, mental health treatment is absolutely necessary in order for the woman and her family to remain safe and stable, physically and emotionally.

Whether it’s reborn dolls or model cars, hobbies are healthy while obsessions are not. The reborn doll movement can be a cohesive network of women supporting one another and engaging in a joyful experience or it can spiral into a dependency on nurturing something that’s not living. Let us all be aware of the difference.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

NEWS - DOLLS & BEARS DELIGHT

Dolls and bears delight

Craig Cobbin | 3rd September 2012

ENTHUSIASTS came from as far as Adelaide to take part in the popular annual Bundaberg Doll and Bear Fair to appreciate the detail and craftsmanship of the lifelike creatures.
Now in its 23rd year, the event is organised by the Bundaberg Doll Crafters and Collectors and attracted more than 200 people to the Civic Centre over the weekend.
One of the organisers, Barbara Taylor, said she was thrilled with how well the fair had gone this year.
"We had lots of people say they enjoyed themselves and said they would be back next year," Mrs Taylor said.
"I've been doing it for 15 years."
Bundaberg councillor Judy Peters, who looks after the community services portfolio, said she had been a regular attendee at the event over the years and always marvelled at how incredible the workmanship was on the many dolls and bears on show.
"There were dolls in prams that you would think are real babies," she said.
"You would think, 'why is no body attending this baby?' That's how lifelike they are.
"The fine detail was amazing. There were lots of grandmothers with grandchildren at the event, which was lovely to see too.
"We had an array of magic woven into dreams to be loved and cherished."
The event attracted 170 entries from all over Australia, including Cairns, Toowoomba, NSW and South Australia.
The grand champion doll of the show was won by Wendy Schmerl, from Adelaide.
The proceeds from the day will go to the Bundaberg branch of BUSHkids, a community group that offers free health services to children living in rural Queensland.