In some ways, purchasing such a doll is similar to replacing a beloved deceased pet with a new pet, or even fostering a child. I have heard stories of women who need to be needed, and who prefer monkeys as pets. Monkeys have great intelligence and many human qualities. They can be held and carried like a baby, and even dressed in real clothes. Like a baby, they are totally dependent. Unlike a baby, they stay that way. These are also ways of trying to cope with loss and undo the feelings of abandonment that come with it. These methods come with real responsibility and commitment.

For those who don’t want to have a commitment, a doll baby is “better” than a real baby. A doll baby comes with zero responsibility. It is an interesting transitional object — similar to the blankie a child drags around, or the stuffed animal she keeps in her backpack. It signifies a connectedness to home and to mother. In this case, the transition is between the real or imagined child they lost and the fact that life no longer contains that baby for them. For some women, such a transitional object eases them into ways of finding more external methods of dealing with their needs of caretaking and loving a being who loves them back. It is the concretized fantasy of getting unconditional love.

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