Birthing baby dolls
Geurra's beautiful, soft cloth dolls are pregnant, you see, and they each give birth to a wee little baby attached to tiny placenta with yarn umbilical cord. A snap at the baby's mouth attaches to a snap on the mother's breast to mimick breastfeeding.
The coverage has seemed to imply that the dolls offer "too much information too soon" or are somehow off-putting.
I couldn't disagree more.
Just so we understand what we're talking about, here's how perfectly normal and adorable the doll looks when not in birthing mode.
I spoke with Guerra earlier this week and she explained how the dolls came to be when she was expecting her third child.
"The two oldest didn't have any toy to play with that was related to birth," explained Guerra. "They just used regular dolls and they were just breastfeeding the dolls."
So the Uraguay-born mom, schooled in sewing from an early age, created a doll that would help explain how their new baby sister would make her way into the world.
"I didn't want to make it in a way that was going to be scary. It's a doll for a child to understand what was going to happen with me," she said.
And scary it is not.
There's an elastic opening between the dolls' legs. It doesn't look bloody or gross or even anatomically correct. But it does show where a baby comes from. And that's not too much information at all.
See? No big deal.
The toy helped pave the way for Guerra's children - who, doubtless, have far more than average exposure to conversation about childbirth, given their mom is a doula - to attend the birth of their sister.
"It was really incredible. Children learn from play. They saw the representation of what was going to happen to me with the doll. They were not fearful at all. They were very interested and asking a lot of questions."
Most of Mamamor's clients are other parents hoping to prepare siblings for a new baby.
"But some people buy them for educational purposes, you know, doulas. You can open up to talk about many things, the placenta, the position of the baby, if your baby is breach. Midwifes have them in their clinic for children coming to appointments with their parents, La Leche League for breastfeeding. And lately I've been using them from psychologists, they use them for play therapy."
What a great tool for education and play.
For those who think the concept is gross, take a good look first, and answer me this: Isn't this where babies come from? I don't want to get all granola on you, but is childbirth not the most natural thing in the world? Also, does it not make sense to have a tool with which to explain the most dramatic event that happens to the human body?
Guerra has come under fire for the price tag of the dolls, which range between $130 and $145. But she puts eight to 10 hours of work into each and the higher price tags are for dolls that are customized to exacting detail, like this special order from Dubai.
And it's a handmade item that should really be compared with similar products, like Waldorf dolls, not something you can grab at Toys 'R' Us.
If I was having a third baby, which I really, really am not, I would totally get one to explain things to my two boys.
Plus, how cute are these little shoes?