“I am fascinated by this fiction and the community that exists to support it,” Diamond says. At first, she had trouble gaining the trust of members of the subculture, despite their large online communities. To better understand Reborn doll-mothers, Diamond became a professional Reborner herself. “Over a two-year period, I traveled across the country learning the art of Reborning from the movement’s leading practitioners,” she says. She attended conventions and classes, studied with collectors and makers, and photographed them in their homes. Some Reborners also collect the dolls; some just sell them to collectors for cheap price.
The psychology behind collecting Reborn dolls is complex. In some cases, women who collect the dolls have lost a baby or suffered from repeated miscarriages, as ABC reported. One Reborner, Florida-based doll artist Eve Newsom, told ABC her passion stemmed from “Not being able to have children. And not having the resources, actually, to adopt. This was my calling. And now it’s my passion. … My Reborns bring me a medium of joy and happiness.”