Ellie

I hand stitched Ellie's dress and made her hair bow all by myself, so proud.

This is Ellie, she’s my very first, one and only, Blythe Doll. There are few people who fall head over heels for a doll, especially one with such odd proportions and creepy colour changing eyes but I did and I fell hard. It started a few years ago as I stumbled around craft blogs, flickr and the magical land of Etsy. It was like Barbie for grown ups except this doll wasn’t an over achieving, wannabe princess. Blythe had attitude, tiny boobs and a big head full of dreams.

I’ve looked at these quirky special dolls forever, lusting to call one my own but never really committed enough to “invest” in one. Yes, I said invest because I’ve seen some sell on ebay for almost $4000… I’m not even kidding. So I’ve just been a quiet admirer, soaking in the clever talents of artists all over the world, creating tiny masterpieces to suit the lives of their little dollies. Tiny hand carved chairs, little knitted dresses, miniature shoes and pretty dresses. What really compounded my secret obsession was a few twitter friends who were total enablers, cooing me into their world of little dainty, girly things. I was weak, I could resist.

My friend Monica found out she was pregnant late last year, a surprise she thrilled about but wasn’t expecting. Her son Brock is 20 days older than Aidan and they’re best friends. Around town, at the park, at the shops, on my couch, it was always just Monica and I with our two boys. I was happy for Monica, ecstatic even! Over Christmas we both got busy but planned to catch up in January. When she walked in the door she may as well have smacked the door right in my face.

I was so caught off guard by a sudden flow of raw emotion that it took all my strength to smile and gush at her swollen belly filled with life. The last time I’d seen her she had a bump but it was so small that it was easy to forget she was pregnant. As her round, fertile frame entered my house I felt my insides wither up in shame. She said “It’s a girl”, a smile spread across her face. One single moment that probably didn’t even register in her mind as she took of her shoes in my laundry, seemed to fill up my entire being for an eternity. Trying to process the rampant feelings, my resentment, my ache, in the blink of an eye. Trying to shake them from my system so I could celebrate with her instead of becoming that entitled, depressed monster of my past.

She walked past me into the kitchen, occupied by Brock. Aidan took his little friend’s hand and and they run off to his room to play, loudly. We make the boys morning tea, sit on the couch and for the next hour we talk about all things baby. I was 80% happiness, 20% ache and I was proud as the odds used to be so different. As we talked about the nursery she asked for my help, I hesitated. Those who know my dark days know that the nursery is my weakness, designing tiny spaces filled with sweet touches and filled with love… I knew within myself that saying yes would be like falling down the rabbit hole. I changed the topic.

In the days after that playdate my head couldn’t stop spinning. Steve and I had just decided we were happy just with Aidan for the time being, that life was crazy enough without throwing my “old crazy” on top. Plus it wouldn’t be that easy for us, I’d need to have surgery to remove my Endo again, then take time to heal then hope that it works or have to go back on the hormone pills. On top of that we’d have to figure out how to pay for it all as well as the Gyno/Obs appointments afterwards to keep an eye on my cervix and any signs of pre eclampsia again which could potentially leave me bedridden for months.

I cried, my whole body was twisted up in angst and stress. I needed to sort out my feelings before I saw her again, so I could be the friend she needed, the person I wanted to be. I talked to Steve, I talked to my Mum, my sister, my friends… and myself. It wasn’t that I wished for another child, I simply wished that it was that easy and care free for me and I realised that that was ok, I wasn’t some evil monster. I did have it rough, I was allowed to own that. As soon as I got perspective on that the craziness drifted away. I have different dreams right now and it’s ok for me to say that having another child isn’t one of them in this moment.

The next time I saw Monica I cried… happy tears as I rubbed her belly and showed her photos in magazines and cool cheap maternity clothes online. After all I was really good at finding all those things once upon a time. Then I found myself obsessing about the nursery late into the night and trying to baby proof her house when we went to visit. Monica is so laid back she probably didn’t even notice but I knew it was a slippery slope. I pulled back hard and didn’t see her for two weeks, she even text me to ask if anything was wrong.

I had to transfer this energy into another maternal, feminine project. Suddenly it dawned on me, I needed a doll, a replacement baby. Yes you read right, a replacement baby. I battled publicly with my decision on twitter even though they didn’t really understand my sudden urge to join the Blythe club but all the same I was embraced. I spent hours upon hours trawling the internet for information, looking at all the different dolls, comparing them, figuring out how much I was really willing to spend to curb my crazy.

The one I picked was actually the first one I fell in love with, a little redhead called “Friendly Freckles”. I paid around $100 and she was shipped to my door. I remember the night before I bought her I cried and confessed to Steve that “my crazy” had returned, that the doll was a distraction. I wanted another hobby, something tactile that I could unleash my creativity into. Something that didn’t take up much room and something completely separate from work, with a brand new group of people that shared my passion. He knows me and where we’ve been to get to this point. He told me to stop crying, wiped away my tears with his rough thumb and said “It’s ok, you’re alright, you do what you gotta do.”

She arrived in a box from China, stripped of her original stock clothes, naked and bare. She came without armour. It wasn’t a surprise, I bought her that way to save money and to inspire me to create her own look. As I opened the box I realised I’d made the right choice. I wasn’t the only one crushing on her either, Aidan was smitten. As he danced her across the lounge room he named her Ellie and it stuck. She is his “ballerina”, his “beautiful princess”.

At first I wanted her all to myself, for her to be “Mumma’s Special Thing” but I quickly remembered that a doll loved is a doll treasured and it melted my cranky heart to see how much joy she bought him. Aidan has his own dolly now, he picked out a cheapie from the $2 shop, a blue eyed beauty with long blonde hair. When I bring Ellie out to make her clothes, to take photos or just to play with her, Aidan runs off and gets his dolly and we brush their hair, put their shoes on and they go dancing. We don’t do it everyday but when we do it’s special and fun.

Obviously a doll could never replace a baby, I’m not delusional. It’s simply a token of my feelings, a figure to fuss over, a tool to express my desire for a pretty little princess and a reminder of my barbie obsessed youth before the turmoil of puberty. A time before gynecologists, before pap smears, boobs and negative pregnancy tests. A time of young ladies, of naivety and innocence.

I’m thankful for my new Blythe friends who I wouldn’t know as well without our shared love, for indulging me in dolly chat late into the night, helping me avoid dwelling on things I can’t change. To welcome me into the wonderful world of Blythe a few of us did a little swap to help me build Ellie’s wardrobe and to work on my skills at making tiny things. I can’t wait to show you what Ellie received!

Some might not understand it but in the end Ellie is just for me and that’s ok.

Comments

  1. 1

    says

    It makes perfect sense to me. In some ways, my two door, totally impractical for a family sports car is the same thing for me. Congratulations to Monica. I’ve never met her but I know the love you have for her as friend and so, I feel connected to her. xox

  2. 2

    Adriana Glass says

    You’re so brave.

    I can’t express how much I feel for you – I have been through my own fair share of “crazy” but have learnt to accept and love it as part of me too… Whatever comes with that. I’m lucky to also have a partner who will sign up to that too.

    I think your Blythe is beautiful and I have felt so much joy seeing your beautiful photos on Instagram as you’ve enjoyed her too.

    You’ve got nothing to apologise for, you’ve been a supportive friend and have so much love to give. With an open heart and mind. Such qualities are a rare gift and hard to find.

    Though I don’t know you I want to express how much I appreciate your honesty and beautiful character.

    Congratulations and lots of love
    X

  3. 3

    says

    Welcome to Blythe Club! Ellie sure is beautiful & I marvel at your brave post. Blythe IS a wonderful distraction & also a cute little friend. Dolly friends are just the best sort of friends too.
    Aside from that, and maybe surprisingly, I do know exactly how you must feel about your present situation. Before my large crop even existed, there was all that above stuff for me too. 8 years worth. And its hard.
    Wishing you all the luck in the world & just so pleased that at least you have Aidan & Ellie [and of course Mr Danimezza] right by your side, throughout your journey.
    Hugs new Blythe friend, and thanks for your gorgeous swap package.
    Wasn’t it so fun?
    Kate xo

    • 4

      says

      I would love to win this contest for my yougsent daughter who is now 17 she is one of the most amazing people I know. She gets 4.0’s, is in Big Brother Big Sisters, works at the zoo, and helps to take care of me and the house since I have had MS for over 20 years. She has won so many awards I have lost count and has been the student of the year for her whole class for the last two years. I really pray to win this for her.

  4. 5

    says

    This is the sweetest, saddest, most triumphant post! I just love how you worked through this situation to find the solution, and what a darling solution it is! I love that Aidan has also taken to Blythe, and that you play dolls together. Just gorgeous! xx

  5. 6

    says

    OMG do you know how much I’m in love with Blythe dolls??!! I learned about them from a friend of mine who has a few and has been photographing them. They are just weird lookingly gorgeous – if you get my drift. As I read you post from beginning to end, I can understand why you would need this Blythe project. It’s totally understandable. My cousin has endo too. She can’t bear any children – well she’s trying but she’s also accepting that slowly. Instead of dolls though, she’s put love into cake. No not eating but decorating them. She’s really great at it. So talented, which I know you are too. Can’t wait to see more of your creations for Elle. :)

  6. 8

    says

    Dani – I loved this post for your honesty and bravery to write about fertility difficulties and the distance between you and your best friend, and for taking up an activity that will help enrich your life in its own way.

    It was really moving. This is why I love your blog – you keep it real.

  7. 9

    says

    i.can.totally.relate. i was starting the artificial insemination thing when i was diagnosed with stage III breast cancer and my life came to a halt. i was actually told, by my original oncologist that having a child, at this point, would be the most selfish thing i could do. she gave me three years, at best, to live. now. 7years later, and currently no evidence of cancer anywhere, {after it moving to late stage IV}, i could have been a mommy to a happy 7 year old. but instead, i took her at her word and had a hysterectomy as part of my treatment plan. the sadness and the pain seem almost unbearable at times. an eternal heartbreak that i’m constantly reminded of daily.

    i admit, i have tried to substitute with a pet. it still doesn’t fill the space. i don’t know if anything ever will. i could totally see myself with a blythe of my very own. thank you for your open heart and sharing this with us!

  8. 10

    says

    So beautifully written :(

    I am still single and I pray that the endo will stay at bay and not rob me of the chance to be a mum when the time comes!

    My cat is my child, thank god for him!

  9. 11

    says

    I discovered last year that I wasn’t going to be able to have children. I’m now 44years old. I’ve always been single and haven’t ever met the right guy / he’s never met me. I just assumed I always would and kept waiting and waiting. By my mid 30s I tried online dating, speed dating the like to try to meet people, but… nada.

    By the time I hit 41 I decided I needed to try to have a family myself and not wait for ‘the one’ (or anyone, quite frankly!). So I went through two rounds of insemination (donor sperm, fertility drugs etc) and neither were successful.

    Last year I decided to go through IVF. I couldn’t imagine life without a child (or a partner, as it was something I’d always assumed I’d have). However, some tests before the procedure showed my chance of getting pregnant to be less-than-minimal.

    I was devastated and uncertain of whether to go ahead or not. In the end I decided I couldn’t justify it for less than 1% chance of success (even on IVF). A semi-close friend of mine got pregnant on IVF on her first try last year and two of my closest friends are now trying to get pregnant.

    I have to admit that I haven’t seen my pregnant friend and have no idea how I’ll react if / when my friends get pregnant. It doesn’t seem fair. How come some people get it all: partner AND kid/s and some get neither.

    I haven’t reconciled myself to live alone yet, but am trying. I just hope I’m ‘better’ by the time my best friends get pregnant as I couldn’t stand to let 25yrs of friendship disappear because I am insanely jealous of their success, while I feel I’m left with nothing.

    Sorry for the long comment, but I think it’s one of those issues that is difficult. My friends KNOW how I feel and I know that if they get pregnant they will be cognisant of my feelings and know what I’m going through… but that still doesn’t help me – as I want to throw myself to the floor and ask, ‘Why me?’

    PS. And I really can’t stand those friends who tell me I’m lucky to be alone / not have kids cos I can have long baths and watch TV etc. I feel like reminding them that they had 20-30 years to do that before their kids and will have another 20yrs after their kids to have alone-time. I’d much rather a family than a life alone.

    Deb

  10. 12

    says

    I’ll be honest and say I’ve never really understood the whole Blythe fasination. But what I do know, is she has a good solid reason for being in your life and if something can have a postive impact then its worth it’s weight in gold. Good luck, you’ve got a lot of good things going on in your life. I miscarried, had a couple of hiccups, but that is all I’d call them, I can’t even begin to imagine how hard it is to struggle with bringing life into this world.

  11. 16

    says

    Dani as I said on Twitter, this post is absolutely beautiful (and I’m finally on a computer so I can respond properly!)

    Firstly – huge hugs to you, battling a disease like endo is a B!tch, not to mention the associated infertility problems that sometimes go part & parcel xxx

    Secondly – this is exactly what I’ve been thinking/feeling about my Blythe girls and have subsequently been suppressing that thought process because well it just felt so very crazy. Yet so real. To have someone else voice some of those feelings has made me feel that little bit less alone.

    I too have waged my own battle against endo (it is currently winning the war on my body) but still I battle. It took us years to get our only child (including 2 operations, endless procedures and hormone drugs) yet I am one of the lucky ones. I was able to have her and I think I got the best kid there is! We attempted having a 2nd baby but after 3 years and another 3 operations for the endo (my last surgeons bill was $5,500) as well as a liberal dose of the crazies, I’ve decided there is more to life than living upon this crazy roller coaster.

    My first girl Rue arrived a few short weeks before my last operation and the next three followed in the next 6 months. Although they totally freak some people out, to me they started to fill that void just a little. As you said to get back to that time when my innocence was still intact, when life seemed so simple “grow up, get married, have lots of babies” and on the plus side it gives me and my girl (nearly 5) something to bond over.

    PS I totally love that cute little white dress xxx

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