By Rebecca Drew
MEET THE woman who always dreamt of becoming a mum but now roleplays with her reborn doll as if she is actually her daughter to fill the void left by her heartache and depression at finding out she would never be able to have children at twenty-four-years-old.
Growing up, Marie Mango (38) from Bonner Springs, Kansas, USA, always dreamt of having a family of her own and becoming a mum. Other children at school had dreams of being dancers or vets but Marie knew that being a mum was her true calling.
As she went into her teenage years, Marie was a natural with the younger children who lived on her street and when she hit 15, the parents asked her to be the neighbourhood babysitter, which she loved, thinking it would be great practice for when she had children of her own.
However, when Marie was 24 her world crashed down around her when doctors told her she would never be able to have children due to being diagnosed with Turner syndrome. This caused Marie to sink into depression due to shock as all of her family could have children and she didn’t have a back up plan. As well as this, Marie was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis in 2014 that has slowed her down and made her feel incapable of being able to adopt.
Desperately trying to find something to fill the ‘black hole’ left by being unable to have children, in 2010 she discovered reborns on YouTube. Marie got her current reborn doll, Bella, an 18-month-old toddler in August this year.
Bella has helped Marie capture happiness in her life and she role plays with her as if she were a real child but stressed that she doesn’t fill the void completely but she’s looking forward to welcoming her next reborn, Liam, in December this year.
“I’ve been dealing with depression since I was 24 years old when I found out I couldn’t have children. It came as a shock to me since pretty much everyone in my family can have children and had no back up plan,” said Marie.
“I grew up wanting to be a mother, most other kids wanted to be ballerinas or vets but I had a strong desire to be a mother one day. When I turned 15 I became a babysitter for the neighbourhood children and I loved it. I wanted the experience for when I had my own.
“I was a babysitter until 2014, when my disability became more important and I had to take care of myself more.
“My world crashed when I was told that I couldn’t have kids. In a lot of ways it was a blessing at that very moment because I was in a very bad relationship.
“I had a big void and was trying anything to fill it, but it was like an infinite black hole and that’s when I came across reborns. My reborn toddler Bella isn’t ultra-realistic, but she fools people a lot. I took her to festival and at a glance she looks real, it’s when you’re really focusing on her that she gets busted, no toddler is this calm and never blinks.
“I’m still depressed but trying to capture any happiness with my reborn doll. I should put a disclaimer that no reborn regardless how realistic will ever fill that void of a real child, but it does help.
“I love being a reborn mum at events, it’s nice getting the feeling of others interacting with her and it allows me to just get a glimpse of what it’s like to be a real mum.”
Marie shares her adventures with Bella on her Instagram and YouTube pages and with friends, family and loving partner, Andy, are all supportive of her hobby.
She spoke out against people who might criticise her unusual pastime.
“My friends are very supportive, as for my family they just say to do what makes me happy,” she said.
“I think when people have had children pretty easily, it’s harder for them to understand but I do have one amazing friend who has three children herself and is very supportive.
“Haters don’t grab my attention at all, I block and delete their comments. I think it’s really horrible to judge someone for having a doll, they’re not hurting anyone or forcing it upon anyone else.
“Why judge someone for having a doll? It’s not that weird.
“Think before you judge, people are so quick to judge and assume. Let them feel like they are accepted by society instead of making them feel nervous about bringing their dolls out in public because of how outsiders make them feel.”
For more information see www.instagram.com/mariemango80