Maternal Death? Blame the Child
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.
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.
Live Action Television
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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."
- In her Autobiography, Adeline Yen Mah states that her birth mother died shortly after her birth, causing her siblings to resent her.
- 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.
- 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.