Louise Keel thinks her toddler, Bert, is just a doll. In fact, she thinks the same of her other two children, baby girls Leah-Rose and Cassidy-Anne.
Most moms do, but in Keel’s case, the children actually are dolls — manufactured from lifelike silicone. They’re so real that Keel treats each one as a real child. The manufacturer calls them “reborn babies.”
She feeds them, takes them out for walks, everything a real mom would do.
Now the 46-year-old woman from Caerphilly, South Wales is getting married. But she won’t let the ceremony go on unless her oldest, or at least her largest, serves as her page boy, the child who carries the wedding rings.
“My other reborn babies, Leah-Rose and Cassidy-Anne, will stay at home — they're too small,” Keel says. “But there's no way I'm getting married without my little boy.”
Keel, who is legally blind and in a wheelchair, bought the dolls after learning that she was medically incapable of bering children of her own. Bert alone cost her £1,000, or about $1,600 in American cash.
She met her finacé, Brian, on line, so he’s been well vetted. He fully accepts his bride-to-be’s relationship with het ersatz kids.
“She already had her dolls when I met her so I'm used to them being around,” he told the U.K.'s Daily Mail newspaper. “Bert has his own characteristics, he's so cheeky. He even has his own Twitter account with over 80 followers. When I told Bert that Louise and I were together he wasn't happy at all - he can be quite jealous but we are a family.”
Keel says that her fake kids have finally allowed her to feel happy.
“My children give me that same rush of love a new mum gets when she holds her baby for the first time,” she says. “Just holding one of the dolls takes the edge off my pain. I love stroking their hair and feeling their chubby cheeks.”