MaternalDeathBlameTheChild Maternal Death, Blame The Child YKTTW Discussion

Maternal Death, Blame The Child
A character is hated (usually by their father) because their mother died giving birth to them.
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(permanent link) added: 2013-07-23 22:48:45 sponsor: Hodor edited by: Antigone3 (last reply: 2013-08-21 09:48:31)

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Since the original draft was flagged Up for Grabs, I'll see what I can do with it. Hodor, if you want this back just say the word.

Sometimes, when a woman dies in childbirth, the child is seen as the mother's last gift to her surviving family. But then there's these cases, in which the child is blamed for the mother's death.

Typically, this involves being hated or otherwise ill-treated by their father. Other relatives are free to join in, though. Who's actually to blame for the death is completely irrelevant -- there's too many historical cases of Death by Childbirth caused by doctor screw-ups, but if this trope is in play the kid's still getting full blame.

Needless to say, this child will commonly grow up to be The Unfavorite.

This is a subtrope of You Should Have Died Instead. Compare Replacement Goldfish, when the (often female) child is seen as a preservation of her mother.

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Anime and Manga
  • Eureka Seven: This is part of the reason Dewey Novak, the series' antagonist, despises his younger brother Holland. Because of the event, the title of Sacrificial King is passed on to Holland. Of course, Dewey's account may be all in his head.
  • Kodomo no Omocha: Akito's issues turn out to be largely caused by his sister Natsumi blaming him for their mother's Death by Childbirth. He assumed this was the case with his father as well, but it turned out Dad was just distant because he's a Workaholic.
  • In CLANNAD, this is the main reason behind why Tomoya's father has a rough time getting along with him. In a twist of fate, Tomoya's wife also dies at childbirth and he chose to neglect their newborn daughter for about five years. It wasn't until his grandmother calls him on it that he realizes he's being like his old man.
  • Borderline example in Berserk. Guts was discovered as a newborn beneath the corpse of his mother (who had apparently been hanged while pregnant). After the woman who found him dies of a plague, Guts' adopted father blames him, believing him to be cursed. For bonus points, he namechecks the supertrope, You Should Have Died Instead.

Comic Books
  • In Archie Comics' Sonic the Hedgehog, Snivley's father Colin tried to avoid this trope, but Snivley growing up with several traits he despised caused him to resent his son. This resulted in the demeaning nickname, and him going to work for Dr. Robotnik.

  • A Song of Ice and Fire:
    • Tywin Lannister loathes his son Tyrion, because Tywin's wife, Joanna (who was pretty much Tywin's Morality Chain) died giving birth to Tyrion. The fact that Tyrion was born with dwarfism and other deformities doesn't help. Tywin only acknowledges Tyrion as his son to the extent necessary under social norms, and openly tells Tyrion that if it wasn't for the love Tywin bore his mother, Tywin would have left him to die at birth.
    • This is also a part of Daenerys's backstory, whose mother also died giving birth to her while her mother and brother were on the run from assassins. For that, her narration states, her older brother Viserys had never forgiven her, although he continued to care for her until his Start of Darkness.
  • In Best Served Cold, the Barbarian Hero Shivers justifies his participation in helping to carry out a Roaring Rampage of Revenge, because Shivers wants to avenge the death of his beloved brother, who everyone considered The Ace. Later on, Shivers POV reveals this is a lie. In reality, Shivers hated his brother. Shivers' mother died giving birth to him, and because of that, his brother would cruelly abuse him when others weren't watching.
  • In the prologue to Unnatural Issue, Richard Whitestone's wife dies giving birth to Suzanne. Richard immediately blames Suzanne:
    No, it was this interloper that had murdered his beloved.
  • Invoked in The Eyes of the Dragon, when the universally beloved Queen Sasha dies giving birth to the rather useless Prince Thomas. Thomas imagines that not only his father, but pretty much everyone in the kingdom is thinking, "We lost your mother, and we got you instead?"
  • Present in some adaptations of A Christmas Carol, which explain why young Ebenezer was left at school over the holidays with this trope. [[hottip:*:The existence of Ebenezer's younger sister argues against it, but his father might have remarried.]]
    • Fred might also be an example; he resembles Scrooge's sister enough to cause Scrooge emotional pain whenever uncle and nephew meet.
  • The Kite Runner: Baba blames his son Amir for the death of his wife.
  • The Elric Saga: Elric's father, Emperor Sadric, is said to not have cared much for his son because of this trope. Interestingly enough, he still chose the sickly Elric to succeed him to the throne over his ambitious cousin, Yyrkoon. In the novels, Sadric is a Posthumous Character but in the prequel comic, Elric: Making of a Sorcerer, we get to actually see him interacting with his son. In the comic, Sadric seems to be occasionally genuinely worried about his son's wellbeing and it is hypothesized by Cymoril that at least a part of him loves Elric even though he claims to spurn him.

Live Action Television
  • Like the books, Tywin Lannister in Game of Thrones makes no effort to hide the fact that he blames his dwarf son for his wife's Death by Childbirth.
    • Cersei also blames Tyrion for their mother's death, and after Tyrion makes a joke about her hidden relationship with Jaime she makes an even crueler taunt that Joanna died for his sake, which should be Tyrion's greatest joke. Jaime is in fact the only one who loves Tyrion unconditionally.
  • In quite possibly the only justified example on this page, Angel is particularly furious at season 4 Big Bad Jasmine, whose birth put Angel's Love Interest into a coma. It's justified because Jasmine manipulated/possessed Cordelia to create the conditions so that she could essentially give birth to herself using Cordelia's body.
  • One episode of Dollhouse has a client hire the Dollhouse to program a mother for his newborn whose actual mother died in childbirth. He blamed the baby and could not give him the love he needed. In a rare subversion, the client knew it was irrational and still wanted the child to be loved which was why he had them program Echo to think she was his mother. By the end of the episode, he's gotten over his issues and takes care of his son on his own.
  • A good portion of Ben Linus' Freudian Excuse on Lost was the ill-feeling his father Roger Linus seemed to have for him due to his mother's death in childbirth.


  • In the musical of [[Wicked, Elphaba is blamed for her mother's death even though she died after giving birth to her younger sister Nessarose. Their father wanted to make sure there were no more green kids in the family, so he made the mother chew milkweed pods. The result was a fair skinned but crippled daughter and the mother died soon afterwards.

Video Games
  • Final Fantasy VI: After Gau's mother died giving birth to him, his father was driven to insanity, thought he was a demon and threw him out into the wild.
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