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Maternal Death? Blame the Child
Tywin Lannister: I will let myself be consumed by maggots before mocking the family name and making you heir to Casterly Rock.
Tyrion Lannister: Why?
Tywin Lannister: Why? You ask that? You, who killed your mother to come into the world?

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 (and Streptococcus pneumoniae), 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.


Examples:

Anime and Manga
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
    • Sana realizes this when she plays a role similar to Akito's. Just hearing the words "it was your fault" while filming the scene where her character has a fight with her sister's drove her to uncontrollable tears.
  • While it's not made a topic in the Marginal Prince anime, the website for the game it's based on all but states that this is what happened to Henri. His father is anything but fond of him and as a direct result, he said to crave for love.

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.
  • In Atari Force, Christopher Champion was believed to be blamed by his father Martin for his mother Lydia's death at birth. It was only years later that Dr. Lucas Orion, the physician present at the birth, realized that Martin blamed the Dark Destroyer for Lydia's death.

Literature

  • 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.
  • Present in some adaptations of A Christmas Carol, which explain why young Ebenezer was left at school over the holidays with this trope. note 
    • Fred might also be an example; he resembles Scrooge's sister enough to cause Scrooge emotional pain whenever uncle and nephew meet.
  • 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.
  • 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?"
  • The Kite Runner: Baba blames his son Amir for the death of his wife.
  • 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 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.
  • The Great Alta Saga starts off with the heroine's mother dying in childbirth and the father handing the new baby over to the midwife to be fostered, because he can't love the child who killed his wife.
  • Shadarii suffers from this in A Whisper Of Wings by Paul Kidd, although it's more a case of her mother dying in egg-laying (the anthroporphic butterfly-winged fox race lay eggs) and suffering mostly hate from her older sister and indifference from her father.
  • Surprisingly averted in Greg Egan's Orthogonal trilogy. Surprising, because for most of the first two books it is universally accepted that a mother is incapable of surviving childbirth (which involves fission) — so Death by Childbirth always applies. This is almost universally accepted as a fact of life.

Fan Fiction
  • The original Fallout: Equestria has Deadshot Calamity be the victim of this. Not only was it how he got his name, but his father hated him because of it.

Live Action Television
  • Angel has possibly the only case where this is justified: season 4's Big Bad, Jasmine, is one of the Powers That Be who possesses Angel's Love Interest, Cordelia, uses her to have sex with Angel's son Connor, and then gives birth to herself as a Physical Goddess. After giving birth, Cordelia is in a coma, and Angel is naturally pissed. (At least, once he shakes off Jasmine's Mind Control.)
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Could be the case on Gossip Girl. Chuck Bass spends the first two seasons believing his father hates him because Mama Bass died giving birth to him. Then season three features a woman who claims to be Chuck's mother and that Bart simply told him she was dead because she ran out on them when Chuck was a baby. Said woman then proceeds to con him out of his hotel and leave town and the show never bothers to make it clear whether or not she was his mother or a con artist who knew the Basses back when Chuck was little. To make matters more confusing, in season two Bart talks to Chuck about his mother and claims he doesn't blame him for her death but has a hard time connecting to his son because he looks so much like the wife Bart lost. Then in season six Bart is pretty much plain evil and hates Chuck for no apparent reason.

Music
  • The subject of the song, "You Gave Me A Mountain" written by Marty Robbins, made famous by Elvis Presley.

Mythology
  • Older Than Feudalism: In Japanese Mythology, the god Izanagi ends up killing his son Kagutsuchi because his wife Izanami died giving birth to him.
  • Subverted in The Bible: Jacob's favorite wife, Rachel, dies in childbirth with her second child, Benjamin. He and Rachel's other son, Joseph, are Jacob's favorite children, and Jacob becomes especially protective of Benjamin after Joseph's "death."
    • Also worth noting: Rachel named him Ben-Oni, which means "son of my pain." Jacob opted for Benjamin, "son (born in) the wilderness."

Real Life
  • In her Autobiography, Adeline Yen Mah states that her birth mother died shortly after her birth, causing her siblings to resent her.

Theatre
  • 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.
  • Metal Gear Solid has Psycho Mantis. His father held a great deal of resentment towards him for his whole life, and then tried to kill him when his psychic powers emerged.

Web Animation
  • In Ultra Fast Pony, Apple Bloom's parents committed suicide for unknown reasons, and Granny Smith blames her for it. It's unclear if Granny actually believes it, or if she's deliberately invoking this trope to screw with Apple Bloom's mind.

Western Animation
  • While it's left ambiguous, Tygra of the ThunderCats 2011 series may blame Lion-O for the death of his adoptive mother. Of course her being a delicate waif at the time of Lion-O's birth has probably never occurred to him.

You Should Have Died InsteadDrama Tropes    
Mandatory MotherhoodParental IssuesMaternally Challenged
Marked to DieDeath TropesMatter of Life and Death

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