By Christine MacIntyre
Ladies with Babies, founded in March 2021, is a nonprofit organization that donates beautiful baby dolls to women with Alzheimer’s and dementia. Sponsorships allow founder Aimee Potts to serve ladies throughout Jackson County. (Note: The organization had donated 26 babies at the time this article was written.)
The idea came to fruition after Potts discovered that something as simple as a baby doll could positively affect the women who receive them.
Potts shared a special connection with her grandma, Pattie, who passed away in February 2020. After severe dementia drove a wedge between their once typical methods of communication, Potts found that she could bond with her grandma uniquely – via a baby doll named Rodney.
Love through the generations: Above, left, Aimee Potts sits next to her Grandma Pattie, as Pattie holds her baby doll, Rodney. At right, Grandma Pattie is shown holding Aimee when she was a baby.
The powerful changes that ensued from the relationship between the doll and Pattie elicited joy, happiness, and a sense of familiarity for both Pattie and Aimee.
“The baby bonded us – it was a huge part of our relationship,” Aimee says. “When someone has dementia, the cognitive breakdown that occurs prevents normal communication much of the time. My grandma may not have been able to talk about a lot of things, but she could talk about her baby.”
Potts says that when she visited Grandma Pattie in her facility, they would not only have conversations centered around the baby, but they would also change the baby’s diaper and feed the baby. “I would wheel grandma around the facility to visit her friends, and they would all want to hold her baby,” Potts recalls, adding that her grandma was keen on keeping her baby to herself.
Potts began handing out baby dolls to the residents at her grandma’s care facility, so each lady would have her special baby to hold and cherish. The sense of peace and comfort encroached on the women inspired her to expand her reach to give even more ladies the opportunity to own a baby doll.
“I reach out to organizations like nursing facilities – any facilities who have women living there with Alzheimer’s and dementia because these women start gravitating back to a childlike state in a sense,” Potts says. The facility informs Potts on how many ladies they believe would benefit from a baby, and Potts handles the rest.
Baby shower-themed gift bags are enclosed with a baby doll, and a special note, for an extra-special touch. The note reads: “Congratulations on your new arrival! We have prayed for comfort and peace – Philippians 4:6.
Potts hand delivers the orders, but not before praying over each baby doll “that the woman who receives it is blessed with a peace that surpasses all understanding.”
Sponsorships cost $55 to cover the purchase of a brand new, good-quality baby doll adorned in a beautiful, boutique-style outfit. Sponsors receive a photo of the baby and details regarding where the doll went to live and love. (More below)
Since Ladies with Babies is reliant on sponsorships by individuals and/or businesses, photos of individuals who have received a baby, social media shares and likes, and testimonials and word of mouth are meaningful ways for people to help. Potts says that Jenifer Scanlon of The Brokerage House has agreed to sponsor several baby dolls. In addition, a Brooklyn-based gift shop and boutique store has discussed the possibility of ordering the doll clothing and extending a discount to Potts to contribute to the organization’s efforts.
“I plan to keep going and keep donating baby dolls until I can’t find anymore sponsors,” says Potts.
For sponsorship opportunities and information, visit Facebook.com/SponsorABaby .