Woman Who Suffered The Loss Of Her Baby Becomes A 'Mother' To Five Baby Dolls & Says It Helps With The 'Grief'

"The dolls soothe me."

Toni Daly TikTok / Facebook

After suffering from a traumatic incident, a U.K. woman decided to invest in several baby dolls to help her overcome the mental toll she experienced.

Toni Daly, 25, from Tower Hamlets, London, revealed that after suffering from a miscarriage in 2017, she went through a painful time of coming to terms with the tragic loss. As a solution, Daly stumbled upon an option to purchase baby dolls that would act as stand-in children for her to care for.


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Daly revealed that becoming a 'mother' to lifelike baby dolls has helped overcome 'grief' after suffering from a miscarriage.

According to Mirror UK, Daly had miscarried her baby at 12 weeks in June 2017 and was left to overcome the grief alone after she and her partner split shortly after.

Afterward, Daly said she tried to pretend that the miscarriage, which, according to research happens to about 10-20% of women for every 100 pregnancies, had never happened.

Most miscarriages - 8 out of 10 (80%) - happen in the first trimester before the 12th week of pregnancy. 


However, Daly found that her mental health only worsened, and in August 2020, she began experiencing the phenomenon of 'Phantom Pregnancy.' She claimed her body would trick her into thinking she had become pregnant again as she experienced symptoms of nausea, tender breasts, as well as feeling a baby move inside her stomach.

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Daly said instead of going to the doctor, she spoke about her grief, depression, and anxiety with a therapist. Shortly after, she decided to purchase her first reborn baby, who she named Ben, in June 2020.


"I purchased my first reborn 'newborn' doll off an artist on Facebook for £150 ($184) and when I held him, these symptoms would slowly go away," Daly recalled. "He helped me feel happier with my anxiety and depression."

After realizing that connecting with the doll was slowly relieving her symptoms and drastically improving her anxiety and depression, Daly decided to expand her doll collection and bought five more "children," who are worth over $1,000 in total.

While the concept of mothering reborn dolls can seem extreme and unconventional to others, many experts have actually encouraged it.

In an interview with CafeMom, Aline P. Zoldbrod, a psychologist and author of 'Men, Women, and Infertility,' said, "In my opinion, there are so many different ways this doll can be helpful."


"You might be surprised how often women who have suffered [from] miscarriages feel shame," she continued. "They believe they did something wrong during the period of gestation, and that's why they lost their baby. Or they believe they did something wrong in life, and they are being punished." 

Zoldbrod explained that for women who have gone through something as traumatic as losing a child, carrying around a lifesize replica of a baby can allow them to work through their grief.

"It is a way of refusing to be silenced about the pain," she added.

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Daly explained that while some people are supportive of her dolls, others call her 'crazy.'

Daly ended up purchasing more reborn dolls, including newborn Hazel in February 2021, Emmanuela, a one-year-old, in August 2021, Lucas, a premature silicon - who she would've named the child she lost - and Thalia, a premature silicon doll who is roughly 25 weeks.

"The dolls soothe me and if I ever get emotional about the miscarriage I can hold Lucas to my chest," she said.

Daly will also bring her dolls out in public, where some people will often stop her to ask if they are real babies. She told Mirror that sometimes she'll play along and pretend, but other times she shocks people by telling them the babies aren't real.

"Once in a cafe someone once asked me how old Hazel was, I said, 'would you believe me if I told you she was a doll?'" she recalled. "The woman was amazed and everyone was really nice and interested - people even took photographs."


However, on social media, Daly experiences more opinionated remarks from people, who claim that she's "crazy" for pretending baby dolls are her actual children.

"I had to take a break from social media because it got too much. They said I was taking things away from real parents and that I should kill myself," she admitted. "That's not the case."

Despite the online hate, Daly is not deterred from continuing to be a mom to her lifesize dolls and explained that for some women, investing in reborn dolls is the only way to get through the difficult period of losing a real-life child.


"There are so many reasons women have the dolls," she pointed out. "It could be that someone has lost a child or can't have children of their own."

"It can even be for the purpose of art as they are so well crafted. I'm not hurting anyone by having my dolls."

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Nia Tipton is a writer living in Brooklyn. She covers pop culture, social justice issues, and trending topics.