‘During the pandemic I became very, very anxious about leaving the house,’ she said.
Her solution? Buying a hyper realistic newborn baby doll to keep her company and soothe her anxiety.
Reborn dolls are incredibly detailed, lifelike dolls that are designed to look like real babies.
People in the ‘reborn community’ use these dolls to provide comfort, whether after experiencing baby loss or infertility struggles, or simply to help manage mental health issues.
‘It is very therapeutic holding them, if I have got stressed or anxious it is very calming,’ said Jess, a HR business partner, from Plaistow, East London.
At the height of her loneliness, Jess’ fiancé, Avery Raassen, 33, a pastry chef, bought her a pram so that she could go for walks with her reborns.
‘It worked really well and after a few months, I was able to go outside on my own without the pram as well,’ she said.
Jess bought her first doll, Rebecca, a one-month-old baby girl, for £250 in May 2020, and quickly began to grow her collection.
Now she has a collection of 13 dolls, with ages ranging from premature to four-years-old, worth around £6k.
Jess and Avery do eventually want a baby of their own, so they’re using the Reborn dolls to prepare them for future parenthood.
‘My fiancé had never changed a diaper or held a baby until I introduced him to reborns, and so I made him change one of them which definitely increased his confidence for changing and holding a real baby,’ Jess said.