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Babies Make Everything Better

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"Have a baby. It'll save your marriage." note 
Terrible advice left by Eugene Mirman on a napkin

A baby can improve the situation and solve everyone's problems just by turning up. At least, according to this trope.

Babies mend broken relationships, restore someone's faith in life, and can even stop wars. Even the obligatory Screaming Birth won't put onlookers (or the mother) off pondering the magnificence of life — not even onlookers who are normally so easily squicked out that the messiness of childbirth should have rendered them comatose. All angst is dissolved with their first cry, all the problems in their parents' lives melt away with one glimpse into those Innocent Blue Eyes, the world's problems seem insignificant next to their first dirty nappy...

The positive side of this trope is that it embraces the joyful new beginning that a baby represents. Here is a brand new person, on their way to all of the wonderful experiences that come with being alive. Their chubby-faced cuteness and innocence light up the room, and even the Knight in Sour Armor cannot help but smile back when they flash their toothless grin at them. They are freshness and newness incarnate, not to mention a chance to start over, try again, and perhaps avoid some of the mistakes of the past.

The negative side of this trope is that it makes childbearing (and child-raising) look far more simple and convenient than you find it in Real Life. The inconveniences of having a baby are usually downplayed or glossed over, and even previously irresponsible parents will be instantly willing and able to step up and take responsibility for the newborn. In short, it makes a baby seem like nothing but magic and wonder when in reality they are sleep-deprivation, a complete disruption of the normal routine, and a whole lot of work — and that's before they start walking and talking and thinking for themselves.

In Real Life, invoking this trope doesn't always work out, as it has a complicated relationship with Truth in Television. We've all seen couples get closer together after having babies, but also seen those who subvert the trope by drifting apart or even divorcing. This raises the question of underlying logic: if the force acting on the couples is the same, how can that force have completely different effects? The answer is that the act of having a baby isn't truly a force — or, rather, it's not a transformative force. It doesn't change a bad relationship into a good one. Instead, it's an accelerative force, one that takes the pre-existing relationship — which may be good or bad — and makes it more of that. The couple that already had problems will find those problems exacerbated by the magnifying glass of baby stress; the couple that's already strong and happy will find themselves growing closer. Babies don't, to quote The Beatles, "Take a sad song and make it better" — they take a happy song and make it better. If given a sad song, they make it worse. (The only thing that makes a sad song better is Character Development.)

  • For some couples, a baby is indeed the answer to their problem — because their problem is that they don't have any children. For others who are struggling, their intention to have children someday forces them to work together and sort their problems out. There are also many stories of seemingly-unlikely mothers and fathers who take to parenthood like ducks to water and (even if they were shocked or dismayed to learn of the pregnancy at first) now wouldn't have it any other way. Many if not most parents take having a child to care and provide for and to provide a good example for as good reasons to lead productive and well-ordered lives, and some only get their act together once they have that reason.
  • However, the fact remains that Real Life babies are expensive, life-long responsibilities — the very opposite of something that will simplify your life and make fewer problems (a fact that most Deconstructions of this trope are quick to point out). Babies are not epiphany therapists and definitely not magicians. They are not the key to making a squabbling or burnt-out couple suddenly fall back in love and in perfect cooperation. In fact, having children can make some people easier to become victims of domestic abuse, as tying a man or woman to an abusive spouse through a child strips away their freedom to leave the relationship. Resentment towards an unwanted or difficult child is also a major factor in child abuse. Providing babies/toddlers with nutrition, education/stimulation, and everything else they need simply to thrive, grow, and not have major psychological issues or setbacks (much less absolute optimal levels of all of the above to make sure they have a chance at being highly educated/capable), is often beyond the financial, emotional and/or temporal reach of many people, and may be absolutely impossible to do well under conditions like war or famine. Then there's the problem of healthcare for both the mother if she experiences complications and/or a child with major physical or intellectual or emotional disabilities needing care for those, which becomes either impossible in less developed societies (leading to such things as Death by Childbirth and challenged children being abandoned/forced to beg or be slaves) or possible but at extreme financial and sometimes relational costs in the First World. Then there are some couples that are not equipped to have children, from anything from physical or mental reasons (and no, those mental reasons can't always be fixed via therapy) to simply having existing lives that have no room for children and no desire to quit or cut back on their career or lifestyle to be a "proper" parent.

A character impervious to the cuteness of babies is frequently a Child Hater. See also Children Raise You, where the situation is less idealistic (though with much the same outcome) and the caretaker is not the child's biological parent.

Compare The Baby Trap, which is when a character who believes in this trope attempts to invoke it without the knowledge and/or consent of their partner (or, failing that, may resort to a Fake Pregnancy in hopes of making them stick around), and Babies Ever After, where babies are used as proof of a happy ending. See Babies, Babies Everywhere for related tropes. Expect characters who believe this trope to criticize others for choosing not to have children of their own, which is Not Wanting Kids Is Weird.

Polar opposite of Children Are a Waste.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Used with an extra dose of anvils in Vandread. An alien computer virus infects the entire ship when the crew attempts to open a Lost Technology data storage, rendering the ship defenseless as enemy forces approach. It also leaves our hero, his love interest and a woman in labor stuck in an elevator. Some of the crew patch the comm-system into the elevator so they can give advice to the kids trying to play midwife, and when the baby is born, its first cry echoes through the ship... causing the virus to instantly dissolve. It was actually a defense program to prevent the wrong people from getting their hands on the information in the data storage, and the 'password' was a baby's first cry. The creator of the time capsule stated that any culture that still sees children born, greeting the world with a cry of sheer life, is worthy of being preserved.
  • Played pretty straight in episode 7 of Sailor Moon R (episode 53 overall), where the Cardian is sent in to attack babies and one of the mothers takes the brunt of an attack meant for her son. The baby, unfortunately, has no one to take care of him, so Mamoru, being the good guy that he is, volunteers. Usagi decides to help and the two of them even hold hands when they dance for joy when the little baby begins to walk and talks for the first time. At the time, Mamoru had amnesia and didn't remember anything about loving Usagi. In fact, he clearly found her kind of strange and unpleasant. This one is slightly more excusable since they were just babysitting, and since they weren't sole caretakers of the little one long enough it didn't have time to stop being fun and become reality.
  • In Black Butler, Madam Red marries a man who she does not love because her sister married her beloved. However, when she becomes pregnant, she tells us in an inner monologue that she begins to feel she can really love her husband. When she loses the child and her husband in an accident and had to have her uterus removed, she goes crazy because she as a doctor has to frequently perform abortions for prostitutes, and eventually begins killing those patients. At the end of it, she expects Ciel to sympathize with her because in her view any woman that doesn't appreciate being able to have children when that ability was forcibly taken away from her must be a shallow tart undeserving of any sympathy.
  • In Sakende Yaruze! Shino and Misao think this when they are 17. After actually getting pregnant Misao seems to change her mind a little as she leaves Shino so that having a family will not get in the way of his career.
  • Played with in Fairy Tail. There are no signs of anyone having a kid anytime soon, but in a flashback bonus chapter, they show how Natsu came to acquire Happy, which was by finding an egg in the forest that the cat(?) then hatched out of. Moment before Happy's hatching everyone was fighting, but the moment he appeared everyone stopped fighting and cheered up. For this reason, Natsu named the cat 'Happy'.
  • Played with as well in the Sword Fiend filler arc of Bleach, where Hisagi's Ax-Crazy zanpakutou, Kazeshini, has continued to hunt his owner remorselessly even though Muramasa's control over him was excised. He uses guerilla tactics in a very clear effort to kill his owner (rather than wanting to fight him head-on) until he kills one of the Sword Fiends who tries to kill him. Said sword fiend had just killed a father with a newborn baby, who imprints on Kazeshini and quickly becomes his Morality Pet.
  • Double Subversion in Berserk. Guts and Casca conceive their child around that point in the story where their relationship is taking a happier turn and they're optimistic that the Band of the Hawk will bounce back from its difficulties. Then their hopes are dashed in the Eclipse, and Femto's rape of Casca causes her to be driven insane and her child to be born misshapen and tainted by evil. To Guts, this seems like the last insult after everything he and Casca have been through, and at first he rejects their offspring as a demon. Even the Skull Knight initially says "It would be best to kill it [...] someday it will bring woe upon you both." Yet fate works in mysterious ways indeed: the child ends up becoming more of a miracle for them than they could ever have imagined. First, when Casca strays from the safety of the cave and gives birth to him, his presence prevents the evil spirits from harming her. Then after two years during which Guts has been running away from Casca by Walking the Earth on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge, the child gives him a vision of Casca in danger, leading to him getting a What the Hell, Hero? lecture from Godo and remembering his priorities. Meanwhile, the child protects Casca from all sorts of perils using his strange powers until Guts can reach her. Another time, when Schierke can't free Guts' ego while he's swept up in the Berserker Armor's blind rage, the Child reaches through to him by reminding him that he's not just a monster after blood; he's Guts the Black Swordsman who protects Casca, the branded girl. The child is even the one who helps guide a battered Guts to the merrows who pull him from the Sea God's sinking body, thereby rescuing him from drowning. Both physically protecting them and constantly reminding them what they mean to each other, it's safe to say that right now Guts and Casca wouldn't be together or alive without him!
  • Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans: Atra, due to some advice from Haba, comes to believe in this trope; she believes if Mikazuki had a child, he'd stop his self-destructive habits since he'd have something to live for. She first tries to get Kudelia to do it, who refuses and suggests Atra should be the one to have the child since it was her idea. Though Mikazuki, who had recently developed an interest in babies, agrees, she comes to realize that even with a child, Mikazuki will never change. In the end, however, they still conceive a child just for themselves.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Diamond is Unbreakable: Josuke and Joseph's awkward relationship as bastard son and estranged father improves considerably after they have to take care of an invisible baby together. It's also mentioned that after Joseph brings Shizuka home to Suzie at the end, she's angry at first (thinking he cheated on her again), but taking care of a baby ends up making their elderly life more lively.

  • The Fernando Amorsolo painting Hope in the Ruins of Manila features a woman nursing a baby as she walks through a city destroyed by war, symbolizing that the next generation will hopefully be around to fix things.

    Comic Books 
  • X-Men has Cyclops and Madelyne Pryor as a strong subversion. Cyclops was only with Madelyne because she looked exactly like the woman he loved. The couple later on has a son, but it does nothing to help their fundamentally broken relationship.
  • Played utterly straight in ElfQuest. Even when the characters really didn't want a child (as is the case with Dewshine and Tyldak), the baby is still treated as a small miracle. Later on in the comic, Dewshine is seen absolutely beside herself with joy because her lifemate, Scouter, has made another girl pregnant. Several healers, including Leetah and Rain, have made it practically their life's work to increase the tribe's fertility. Leetah's sister Shenshen is one of her village's most respected members because she's a midwife. Lord Voll forces an entire tribe to bend to his will just so he can see the chief's children; later Winnowill, the Big Bad, uses one of the kids both as Human Shield against the tribe and as motivation for her human pets, who understood elves to be basically sterile. Nonna and Adar, two humans, lead lonely and meaningless lives because they're barren, and are only shown to be truly happy once they've adopted three young orphans. Krim is willing to sacrifice her own life during the war until she finds out she's pregnant. Tyleet adopts a human baby who gets abandoned by his parents, and so on and so forth. The in-story justification for this, at least for the elves, is that elves have long lives and extremely low fertility, so every birth is celebrated no matter how strange the circumstances. As a further touch, almost every elven birth is caused by Recognition, a magical way to ensure that the child is specially gifted as a consequence of that particular genetic union. Of course, none of this stuff explains why the trope is implied to the relatively primitive humans present in the setting. Primitive human societies generally need all the population they can get, too.
  • An undercurrent in the general Fables storyline. When Snow White and Bigby's seven children are born, it's treated as a miracle amongst the Fables community. As revealed in Peter and Max, the wicked Max Piper made all Earth-based Fables sterile during his revenge on his brother in the 1920s. The only other birth, Beast and Beauty's recent newborn, is celebrated while shrouded in omens (Frau Totenkinder knits a baby outfit with six limbs). Abortion is forbidden, though Frau Totenkinder owns a chain of abortion clinics to keep her magic powers fully fueled.

    Comic Strips 

    Fan Works 
  • Invoked by the 'Fairy Grandmother' akuma in Baby Boom (Shawna Canon), who sets out to magically make everyone in Paris fall pregnant in the belief that babies are wonderful and everyone should want them. In fairness, the natural tendency of akumatisation is to boost existing emotions in order to make the akuma easy to manipulate, so it wasn't really her fault. It even sort of works; her victims go through a fair bit of physical and emotional struggle, but generally do come to love their babies and wouldn't give them up (despite having options on the table, from adoption to actual time travel).
  • The Child of Love: When Asuka finds out she is pregnant she is initially very wary and reluctant to be a mother and Shinji is very scared; however the thought of becoming parents forces them both to gradually come to terms with their feelings for their child's sake. At the same time, it is treated a bit more realistically than other examples: Asuka's pregnancy strains their already troubled and complicated relationship massively, and Shinji actually got frightened and ran away for a while.
  • Ghosts of Evangelion: When Asuka gets pregnant, she and Shinji are terrified. They think they can't possibly be good parents, and the distress of raising a baby strains their relationship and worsens their PTDS. However Asuka is determined not to repeat their parents' mistakes, and they manage to become good parents to their daughter.
  • This trope shows up in The Second Try, a Neon Genesis Evangelion fanfic. The couple, Asuka and Shinji in a post-Third Impact world didn't want to initially be parents due to their own parental issues and had to work through those first, as well as make lots of preparations for the birth. Even after birth, they still had to work through being parents without any help, made mistakes, got messy, and had problems. Ultimately, though, their child turned out to be a wonderful and fulfilling addition to their lives.
  • In Chapter 10 of the Superjail! fanfic Extended Stay, the Mistress discovers she is pregnant by the Warden. At first, both of them are frightened about this due to having their own parental issues (especially with Warden's Jerkass father). However, they also learn that this is an opportunity to leave behind a legacy. This brings them so close together that they decide to get married while she is still pregnant. Out of the blue, Mistress goes into labor at the altar and ends up vocally birthing a girl and a boy. In spite of their problems, they ultimately end up Happily Married thanks to their children.
  • In Expecting the Unexpected a pregnant Harry and Draco are arguing in the hospital wing when Madame Pomfrey broadcasts the baby's heartbeat and they both forget all about the fight. When Harry tells Mrs. Weasley the news she writes "A new baby, a new life, to end a year of great sadness and loss is what our family needs, Harry."
  • Subverted in the Death Note fanfic Those Who Stand for Nothing Fall for Anything: both Light and Kiyomi are disgusted by the whole pregnancy and it only serves to put greater strain on their "relationship."
  • In another Death Note fanfic Mama, Original Character Karol appears to believe in this, being of the class that actually wants and has tried having a baby. Except that she can't. After a series of miscarriages and seeing her employer doing so well with her own pregnancy despite the implications that she doesn't really want the baby, Karol snaps, goes out and shoots her employer and her husband in their own home, and kidnaps their infant son, using the aforementioned beliefs to justify her crime. For her part, she does genuinely try to be a good mother to him while they're on the run, but it doesn't last. Oh, and the baby would grow up to be L.
  • Captain America: The Winter Soldier fanfic Greetings to the New Brunette plays with it slightly. The presence of the baby both helps Bucky deal with his psychological problems and Steve and Bucky both to actually get together after 70+ years of silent pining, but it's specifically noted that a) Bucky's problems don't go away because of the baby, and b) the baby doesn't help because she's a baby and babies are wonderful— that's certainly a bonus for Steve, but for Bucky, what helps him is the way she requires constant care and attention and lifelong dedication. Bucky's always derived self-worth from being a caretaker, both to his siblings and Steve when he was ill, and he can't afford to lose himself if the baby needs him.
  • Averted in Parallels. The birth of a daughter shortly after that universe's Harry Potter died along with Voldemort delayed, but failed to prevent, James and Lily's eventual divorce.
  • Subverted in Eden, by Obsessmuch. Hermione's pregnancy by Lucius was seen as this at first, but it causes so much more suffering, and ends in Lucius dying, that she regrets ever carrying a child and she has to try hard to convince herself not to get rid of it.
  • In RainbowDoubleDash's Lunaverse, it isn't until Ditzy lays eyes on Dinky that she begins to believe she can atone for the circumstances of Dinky's conception.
  • In A Glad Day the greatest satisfaction and joy that any character, especially Bulma, ever gets is being able to raise a happy, healthy child. In fact, a huge source of conflict is Culture Clash over what constitutes as a "happy and healthy" child.
  • In A Gem, a Human, and a Baby, Blue Diamond rubs her pregnant belly as she tells Pearl how she has come to value Earth and wants it to live, implying that Steven was the final catalyst that made her wish to act on her desire to save the planet. This also leads to Blue Pearl suddenly filled with a sense of loyalty to Steven when she holds him for the first time.
  • Averted in Nothing Breaks Like a Heart. In Chapter 22 fem!Mob and Serizawa have a pregnancy scare. Serizawa previously believed that a life with Mob and a child, the things that other people his age had, was what he wanted. When faced with the prospect of having created another human being, one who in nine short months he would be responsible for, he realizes that what he wanted more than anything was the idea of a family and that he was in no position to take care of a baby. He's willing to learn but raising a baby takes a lot of things that he just does not have. Money, emotional stability, and stability in his relationship with Mob to name a few.
  • Deconstructed in Cabin Fever: Promises To Keep. Marcy is initially horrified by the discovery that her careless one-time fling with Paul had gotten her pregnant - on top of all the trauma she was already suffering due to Paul's and their friend, Karen's, untimely deaths. But ultimately, her newfound responsibilities of motherhood motivate her to overcome her grief so she can provide for her daughter. In the last chapter, she even credits the accidental pregnancy with "saving her life." By the time frame of the story, she seems to be healthy and very happy living as an adoring single mother.
  • In Ma Fille, Joe is initially very anxious and worried about the idea of being a father, believing he's too young (twenty-four at the time) and not ready. However, once he first gets to hold his daughter Katrina, all those anxieties melt and he devotes himself to being the best father he can be to her. The next few chapters show that he's much happier with her around, since Katrina gave him the perfect reason to move out of his crappy apartment, and his family absolutely adores her.
  • In What Could Have Been, there's a variant in that the children are not Jin Guangyao's and he has no marriage to improve. Even so, his two nieces and nephews' presence in his life prompt Jin Guangyao's situation to improve, not to mention triggering a slow but real redemption arc for him.

    Film — Animated 
  • Despicable Me: Well, children, anyway. Giving her some grandkids is the only thing Gru ever does that earns his mother's approval.
  • Lady and the Tramp: Lady is worried when her owners Jim Dear and Darling act a bit cold towards her until she learns they're expecting a baby. Tramp appears and tells her how the new baby will change things for the worst, but once the baby is born, Lady takes a liking to him and becomes very protective of him.
  • Storks: Besides Diamond Destiny being a major reason for Character Development for Junior, the response to the massive flood of babies by the families is universal delight. While all of these families had asked for children from the storks, it had been 18 years since the last delivery. Evidently no one had changed their mind in the intervening time.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • A Wedding (1978): Muffin's uncle is a polite teetotaler, minister, and father of nine. He freely admits that his youth was full of drinking, troublemaking and womanizing until he got his future wife pregnant.
  • The center plot in Delivering Milo, a deconstruction of this trope from the point of view of the baby of all people. Milo is afraid to be born because he can sense his mother's trepidation at becoming a mother. Milo's father left her and she's not sure if she's prepared to be a parent herself. She's afraid of people leaving her and self-fulfills that belief into action. Enter Elmore Dahl, a sort of guardian angel meant to show Milo around Earth to convince him that being born is the best thing ever, only he's too busy reliving his life on earth to really do his job. Turns out, Elmore is Milo's grandfather and basically the reason he's having trouble being born.
  • Lampshaded in Rachel Getting Married. The family is having a heated argument which Rachel ends by telling everyone that she's pregnant, and attention instantly focuses on the baby and nobody is fighting anymore. Kim says it's "not fair" for her to pull out the baby card as if that makes everything better.
  • This is how Georgy Girl ends. It's kind of a headscratcher.
  • Played with in Knocked Up, in which the male lead transforms from a lazy stoner slob into hubby material during his partner's pregnancy, despite the fact that he got her pregnant after a one-night stand. It does manage to execute this trope relatively well in that neither the pregnancy nor birth of his child automatically make Ben's relationship with Alison any better: he has to work really hard to get the happy ending and it takes him a while to figure out how to actually achieve this and get the other parent on board. Unfortunately the fact that much of this Character Development happens in a quick third-act Montage blunts this somewhat.
  • As noted in the American Spectator's review, Juno follows in much the same tradition as Knocked Up, although it subverts this trope in that while Juno and her boyfriend do get back together, they do so after the baby is given up for adoption. Also, the married couple adopting the baby start squabbling over the adoption and end up getting divorced, though somehow everyone still ends up fairly happy.
  • Nine Months is enough time to make Hugh Grant realize that he really wants to be a daddy, despite having no previous inclinations in that direction. Playing the baby card wasn't exactly an unqualified success though, since some viewers were more concerned about Grant's elderly cat than the baby.
  • In What a Girl Wants, Libby says the only comfort she had after being sent away was learning she was pregnant with Daphne. Also, Daphne's existence is what causes Libby to reunite with the father, Henry, and he chooses her over Manipulative Bitch Glynnis.
  • Occurs in a short made by the legendary Laurel and Hardy. After a bitter argument between Oliver Hardy and his wife, Stan Laurel convinces him that a baby in their home will bring some harmony to their marriage. Without even consulting his wife, Hardy immediately goes out to an orphanage and adopts a baby. In the meantime, his wife has walked out on him and Hardy (along with Laurel and baby) comes home to find a lawyer serving him with divorce papers. Hilarity ensues as Laurel and Hardy are left to take care of the baby by themselves.
  • Heavily implied in Away We Go. The movie ends before the birth but the basically-unrelated-to-the-rest-of-the-movie ending seems to be heading that way.
  • King Vidor's silent classic The Crowd: Played straight, then subverted. After having a string of marital problems culminating in an argument where Mary threatens to leave her husband John, he tells her to go ahead and do it. Mary then tells him that she's pregnant, and John suddenly apologizes and promises to be a better husband and a good father. Subverted in that a few years later, John's lapsed back into his old habits and proves to be completely useless at helping to raise the children. Things only get worse when the younger daughter dies in an accident.
  • Pretty much the point of the end of Parenthood. At least one father who's a regular ne'er-do-well never really mends his ways, and ends up abandoning his son (whose mother has already abandoned them both) to his own father while fleeing from shady creditors; however, it's implied at the end that the kid's grandfather may be attempting something of a do-over by parenting his grandson.
  • Also the point of Three Men and a Baby, though in an unusual way (mainly by bringing the three men together).
  • As soon as her baby is placed in Jenna's arms in Waitress, she finds the strength to tell off her abusive husband. This may be a bit of early-onset Mama Bear. Although the trope is played with, if not subverted, in that the baby normally 'fixes' the relationship by bringing the couple together and easing their tensions; here, the relationship is fixed when the woman tells her abusive husband it's over and she wants a divorce.
  • This belief makes up the main plot of Raising Arizona. The main couple feels that their relationship is incomplete without a child, but the woman is sterile and the man is an ex-con, which ruins their chances of adopting a baby. They decide that they will steal a baby instead. They decide to return the baby after learning that it won't magically make them more mature and well-adjusted people, but they decide to work through their problems and stay together anyway, and it's suggested that they eventually get their act together and have Babies Ever After.
    • Also a pair of escaped convict brothers fall in love with the baby so much that they decide to keep him instead of holding him for ransom as originally planned.
  • Reconstructed in the Spanish film Adiós, Cigüeña, Adiós which actually does play all of the difficulties of Teen Pregnancy pretty straight; the beginning even has a prolonged sequence in which we hear a newborn's obnoxious crying played over a lullaby with somewhat depressing lyrics about the woes of a mother's love life, and the teens in the story are living in the rather straight-laced Catholic Spain of the early 1970s which makes their situation even more difficult. That said, much of the comedy in this Dramedy comes from presenting as a grand adventure the efforts of the youngsters' friends to conceal the pregnancy and bring the baby to birth without the grown-ups finding out about it, and the final scene actually has a choir singing the "Hallelujah Chorus" from Handel's Messiah as everyone celebrates the child's birth. Oh yeah, there's a sequel about what they do with the baby after that.
  • Children of Men may be the film's ultimate example of this trope. Every human being on earth has somehow been rendered sterile; with no hope for any future, humankind has descended into fascism and pointless conflicts. Then, out of nowhere, an ordinary woman named Kee gives birth, in the heart of a conflict zone. Her platonic guardian Theo manages to get to her, and starts to lead her to (possible) safety, right through the middle of a battle. The newborn begins to cry, a sound that hasn't been heard by anybody for 18 years. Both soldiers and rebels stop fighting and stand in stunned silence, as the couple passes by with the baby. Some pray, kneel, or reach to touch the little one. In the midst of massive destruction, chaos, and despair, hope for the world has been reborn.
  • Subverted in Drop Dead Fred, where the protagonist's mother got pregnant in order to get her husband to stay. It ultimately failed, and her mother has somehow worked out that it's her daughter's fault.
  • Averted in Adopting Terror where the adoption of Mona puts a fair amount of strain on Tim and Cheryl's marriage.
  • In A Girl Named Sooner, Mac hopes to bring his despondent wife out of her depression by bringing Sooner home. It does work out in the end, but it's a long road.
  • Dawn of the Planet of the Apes: For one brief shining scene, Caesar's newborn son is able to briefly bring humans and the apes together to appreciate how cute it is.
  • In Office Romance, secretary Vera is on the verge of breaking up with her partner throughout the whole movie, until he finally calls her and happily announces: "I've figured out why we've quarreled! We need a baby!"
  • Averted in Grand Canyon. Claire feels the Empty Nest because her teenage son is going away, so wants to adopt an abandoned baby she found. Her husband however is reluctant to go through the stress of raising a child all over again, now that his son has reached adulthood.
  • Lady and the Tramp: As Lady finds out, Lulu hasn't taken her place, if anything she finds out Lulu makes her even happier than when it was just her, Darling and Jim Dear, and fills the house and their family with even more love.
  • Parodied in The Lobster. In its world, marriage is compulsory. When John marries, he and his new spouse are told that if they run into problems, the enforcers will give them children because "that usually works." When we see John and his wife again, they have a child.
  • While the book averts it, the film version of The Joy Luck Club, subverts the trope. Rose still gets pregnant "for the worst reason" in order to keep her husband Ted from straying. They eventually reconcile, but it has nothing to do with being parents.

  • Old example: In the fairy tale "Pride Punished", a husband's brutal campaign of humiliation against his "proud" wife (she *gasp* called him out on his table manners) is only called off when she bears him twin sons.

  • Justified in A Brother's Price, as men are very rare, and adoption is a cultural and religious taboo, which means that the biggest problem most women face is childlessness. While death in childbirth is mentioned, it is clear that unwanted pregnancies are unheard of (women who just want to have sex usually choose other women, who may or may not wear ivory prosthetics and take on masculine traits), and many of the problems that new parents face in the real world are just not present.
  • Adrian Mole: Many babies are born in the books, and this trope is mostly averted:
    • In Growing Pains, Adrian is not pleased at all when his mother is pregnant, noting that there will be a toddler smashing the place up when he is studying for his A-levels. Although he helps his mother, he is indifferent to baby Rosie when she is born.
    • In Cappuccino Years, when Adrian finds himself supporting two sons, he rants that he only wanted one child, a daughter, who was to be called Liberty, and Pandora was to have been her mother.
    • Also averted in Cappuccino Years, Rosie falls pregnant and considers keeping her baby, to Adrian's horror, who notes that Rosie has not shown any maternal instincts, having disfigured her dolls, and performed gruesome experiments on them with the contents of their father's toolbox, like a torturer's apprentice. Later, Rosie has an abortion.
  • In Courtship Rite, in the end, with the maran-Kaiel family bitterly divided over the question of Oelita vs. Kathein, and divorce beginning to look like a possibility, Gaet uses the babies born by the two women and fathered by maran-Kaiel men to help defuse the tension and remind everyone how much they love each other.
  • In Breaking Dawn
    • Bella herself admits that she doesn't like babies but two seconds after discovering she is pregnant decides that she wants nothing more than to have Edward's perfect, sparkly, gorgeous baby. Bella and Edward have an unrealistically good marriage (all two days of it) before the pregnancy is discovered and the baby grows up so fast that there is no period of dirty diapers, crying, or spoon feeding. It also plays this straight in the following ways and cements Nessie as Fixer Sue:
      • Nessie instantly patches the relationship between Bella and her new sister-in-law Rosalie, who spent the last three books despising the girl and is pretty much the only Cullen vampire who didn't adore Bella from day one.
      • Nessie is also the perfect soul mate of Bella's own lovelorn suitor Jacob, who is immediately smitten with the child and totally drops whatever feelings he may have had for Bella. His relationship with Edward is thus completely mended, with Edward even calling Jacob his "son" and giving his blessing.
      • Nessie is also also the bridge between the vampires and the wolf pack, since Jacob imprints on her. Therefore, the two clans become allies, even more than when Jacob was pining for Bella - since he actually imprints on Nessie and the shapeshifters are forbidden from harming any shapeshifter's imprint. The fight gearing up between the two groups is thus negated entirely.
      • Nessie is also also also the catalyst for Bella becoming a vampire (when she was second-guessing the prospect), which gives Bella the ability to use her new-and-improved mental shield to protect everyone on her side of the fight with the Volturi, so the Volturi cannot harm them. Thus the battle for which vampires have been gathering from all over the globe ends in a polite discussion before everyone goes home.
  • Invoked in Homesick: My Own Story where an eleven-year-old girl thinks that adopting a baby would improve her parents' marriage and keep her adopted older brother from feeling left out.
  • Invoked in The Thorn Birds, when Meggie believes that children will salvage her relationship with Luke and bring him home from the cane fields, and then averted when it does not go according to plan at all. It doesn't go any better with her second child, who is the son of Meggie and Father Ralph. Not only does he not make everything better, he unwittingly spites Meggie by, instead of being a human piece of Ralph to carry on, opting to become a priest, the thing that most angers Meggie about Ralph in the first place. Then he dies, leaving her with Luke's daughter, whom she has treated as horribly as she was treated by her mother. Babies pretty much make everything much, much worse.
  • Invoked and then averted in Gone with the Wind. Frank assumes that if Scarlett has a baby, she'll be the sweet, loving woman with whom he fell in love. He's wrong, of course, given that the whole thing was just an act to snag him. Then, after she and Rhett marry, he admits that he had hoped that their marriage might work out after she gave birth to their daughter, and even after the relationship has effectively died, states that with Bonnie there, there could have still been some semblance of happiness. Later, when Scarlett learns she's pregnant again, for the first time ever, she's happy about it and sees the pregnancy as a chance for her and Rhett to reconcile, and after Bonnie's death, she admits that she'll have another child if that will bring him out of his grief. Similarly, despite numerous warnings not to have another child or it could cost her her life, Melanie gets pregnant anyway, believing she'll prove all her doctors wrong. Instead, Scarlett miscarries after another argument with Rhett, and the resulting strain contributes to the end of the marriage. By the time Bonnie dies, he wants nothing to do with her, while Melanie miscarries and dies.
  • Averted on a global scale by one of the stories in Stanislaw Lem's The Cyberiad, which tells how a potential war (over the romance between members of the ruling families) was won bloodlessly - by filling the enemy planet with babies, fired out of a network of baby cannons. The planet capitulated due to the stresses of a world full of babies. Although as this left the couple able to get together, maybe it's played straight as well...
  • Torn apart in Such A Pretty Girl by Laura Wiess. A pedophile is let out of jail on a reduced sentence and suggests to his wife they have another child. She agrees, not because she wants a baby, but because he does, and she thinks it would be a wonderful symbol of their family starting over. Their fifteen-year-old daughter Meredith, one of her father's victims, is understandably horrified. Her narration later also references how foolish, but common, this idea is for 'girls like her'. (See Quotes page, it's long.)
  • In Captain French, or the Quest for Paradise by Mikhail Akhmanov and Christopher Nicholas Gilmore, the titular space trader gets a new wife (he literally buys her from a convent on a religious world), and they fall in love fairly quickly. After months of traveling (subjective time) the stars and seeing many planets, she decides that she wants to give him a baby, something only one other woman has done before - his very first wife on Earth 20,000 years ago. Despite his arguments (perfectly valid) about the problems of having a fetus develop in a low-gravity environment and the lonely life he or she would have aboard the ship, she still wants a baby. Finally, she comes up with a solution - French drops her off on a planet where native women have prophetic powers that allow them to choose their soulmate (this would keep French's wife from cheating), and she has a son that will grow up and get married on the planet. She would then return to the ship decades later from her time frame but only months for French. The problem ignored by the author is that this means that French himself never even meets his son until decades later, so she's not really giving him a child. French mentions that there are whole groups of women he likes to call the Frenetic Mothers. Their only goal in life is to bear as many babies as possible. Who the fathers are doesn't really matter. They are the driving force behind human colonization of the galaxy, urging planetary governments to build colony ships whenever population density warrants Population Control.
  • In the epilogue of Rally Round the Flag, Boys!, the birth of a daughter helps repair Harry and Grace Bannerman's strained marriage. It's justified in that they've already had several sons whose only problem is being too perfect.
  • The Hunger Games: This trope is deliberately invoked by Peeta who claims Katniss is pregnant after the two are forced back into the arena for the Quarter Quell. Apparently not even the bloodthirsty denizens of the Capitol seem to want to watch a pregnant girl be killed. Played with in the final book of the trilogy, where it's less "Babies Make Everything Better" and more "Everything's Better, so let's have Babies," or "Babies Make Life Slightly More Bearable." Early on in the series, Katniss makes it clear that she has no interest in bringing children into a world where they have any chance of winding up fighting to the death in the eponymous Hunger Games. The epilogue indicates that she thinks the world has improved enough that having kids could be worth it. That said, it still took the violent destruction of the tyrannical regime that ran the games and fifteen years on top of that for Peeta to convince her to have two children. They don't really make everything better either: the epilogue makes very clear that Katniss is still traumatized and afraid that all good things will be taken from her, even though she has children now. This is less 'babies make everything better' and more the fact that the world is finally 'better' enough to have babies in the first place.
  • In Terra by Mitch Benn, the Bradburys are a couple who always argue about everything. One of their shrinking number of friends suggests having a baby would help. Instead, having a baby just gives them new things to argue about.
    She was indeed bringing love and harmony to her family, but her parents were too busy arguing to notice.
  • During Through Alien Eyes Juna's father mentions that his family and his wife's family were at odds thanks to racism. Both sides became more civil with Juna's birth. It comes up with Juna's child too - when she contacts the father he's angry with her but softens when she says it's a girl. In that case, it's ultimately averted, though, as he is unmoveably against her having the child or raising it as she wants it to be raised.
  • Despite it being established in the first two books that she doesn't particularly like children and consequently being very unhappy to find herself pregnant in the third book, Jane Rizzoli of the Rizzoli & Isles series does a complete 180 on the issue following a pep talk from her mother, rapidly marries her baby's father and despite the typical anxiety of a first-time parent, is a loving mother whose abrasive personality softens somewhat following all this.
  • Need more money? Make more babies! The G-Net A.I.s from The MARZENA Series start up their virtual life as digital holographic babies, and the best part for your wallet is that you will one day cash in on a good chunk of the money created by the neuro software those babies will create. You know, like olden times, let the kids give you a hand with the farm.
  • Subverted in Rabble Starkey as Ginger left Sweet Ho after she gave birth to Rabble.
    • Also subverted with Mrs. Bigelow. While not completely mentally healthy before getting pregnant with Gunther, she apparently got much worse afterward to the point she couldn't take care of her children.
  • The Emigrants, which follows a group of farmers who emigrate from Sweden to America in the mid-19th century, shows the joys of parenthood while still averting this trope. The main characters, Karl Oskar and Kristina, are peasant farmers who decide to emigrate because they aren't able to support their growing family on the small farm where they live. Once in America, they begin to prosper (to a degree - they never become rich but their standard of living certainly approves) and after a few years they can easily support their children, but having a new baby every couple of years is still not easy. Karl Oskar and Kristina love their children very much and as the kids grow older they are able to help out at the farm and run the household. On the other hand, by the time they begin to prosper, they've already had six children (though not all survive childhood) and every new baby means spreading their meagre supplies even thinner. There's a heartbreaking part before they emigrate when they've had another year of bad harvest and Kristina is devastated to see her children go hungry and wants to give her share of the food to them, only she can't because she has a new baby to nurse. It kills her inside to have to essentially take food from her starving children so that she can in turn feed the youngest. There's also a part of the story where she gives birth to a baby boy a few months after arriving in America, wherein the arrival of a new child could not have come at a worse time yet Kristina is beside herself with joy over her new baby. In the end Kristina suffers a miscarriage while pregnant with her ninth child. Her numerous pregnancies, all the hard work she's had to do, the emotional stress of emigrating and leaving her parents, siblings, friends, and home behind forever, and a previous miscarriage the year before have all weakened her health and a few days after miscarrying, she dies.
  • Inverted in "Record of a Defection", the first story in The Accusation: Myung-ok gets an abortion and starts secretly taking birth control because she believes her husband's politically dubious family history will doom any child they have to a lifetime of misery.
  • The Belgariad: Barak and Merel overcome their differences and mend their Awful Wedded Life the second Barak lays eyes on his newborn son. It's a Broken Aesop since the birth of their older daughters didn't help any — Merel had even restricted Barak's access to them in order to hurt him.
  • Averted or deconstructed in several of Sarah Dessen's novels.
    • Someone Like You: A large part of the plot is about Scarlett's challenges being pregnant in high school; the father was a classmate who died before Scarlett even realized she was pregnant.
    • Lock and Key: Ruby suspects her parents were trying to invoke this with her since she's ten years younger than her sister, but her parents divorced when she was five regardless.
    • What Happened to Goodbye: After Mclean's parents divorce, her mother remarries and has twin children with her new husband; Mclean suspects that this is a way to cement her departure into a new life with a "better" family, and balks at her mother trying to make her play along.
    • The Moon and More: Emaline's mother got pregnant with her at seventeen and received a lot of pressure from friends and family to give her child up for adoption, but she chose to raise her instead despite the hardships.
  • Averted in The Joy Luck Club, Rose admits she got pregnant "for the worst reason" in order to keep her husband Ted from straying. It doesn't work, though they both do love their daughter nonetheless.
  • Averted in Eleanor & Park with Eleanor’s baby half-brother, Little Richie. His birth did not help his father be nicer or bring the family together. In fact, his existence is one of the reasons why Sabrina won’t leave Richie.
  • A Cry in the Night:
    • When Jenny discovers she's pregnant a few months into her new marriage, she's overjoyed and thinks this will bring her and Erich even closer. However, Erich's increasingly disturbing behavior makes her initially reluctant to share the news with him, despite her insisting to herself the new baby will make their relationship better. She's horribly wrong; Erich's behavior only becomes more extreme as her pregnancy progresses (partly because he isn't fully convinced he's the father) and Jenny going into premature labor from stress worsens the situation. The baby's death is what ultimately turns Jenny against Erich.
    • Following their infant son's death, Erich tries to invoke this with Jenny, badgering her into having sex with him so they can conceive a child, which he believes will repair the growing rift in their marriage. Jenny finally agrees to have sex with him, but in her mind, their marriage is so broken at this point nothing will fix it, least of all a child especially as their son hasn't been dead long and Erich barely seems to have grieved at all. It's implied that Erich actually thinks that impregnating Jenny will prevent her from leaving him.
  • In the Last Herald-Mage Trilogy, openly-gay protagonist Vanyel fathers the child of the King's consort (and Vanyel's personal friend) Shavri. While a deed of affection, it also serves the kingdom of Valdemar by 1. stabilizing Shavri's mental health (she wanted a child so desperately she was coming unglued) and 2. putting paid to rumors that Randi was sterile, so that a marriage-alliance would remain a live option. The resulting daughter, Jisa, is never treated as anything but a good thing. Vanyel also performs this service for two sets of his other friends, which conveniently keeps his bloodline alive.
  • In the works of Marian Keyes:
    • Matt and Maeve from The Brightest Star In The Sky have a child together after coming clean to each other about their secrets and the recent trauma of Maeve's rape and Matt's attempted suicide. The child's soul also happens to be the book's omniscient narrator.
    • Maggie and Garv from Angels separate after Garv has an affair, but ultimately work things out and the book ends with Maggie 8 months pregnant and Garv at her side. Anna later comments that Maggie and Garv happily embraced parenthood.
  • Reign of the Seven Spellblades: Discussed and Played for Drama in volume 10 after Katie communes with an Eldritch Abomination in volume 9 and scares the hell out of everyone present. Off of a remark from Marco on how trolls prioritize parents and childen for survival when their villages are attacked, the Sword Roses seriously contemplate getting Katie pregnant in the hope having a child to worry about might rein in her reckless streak a little.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In Bones, six seasons of UST followed by instant Relationship Upgrade as soon as Bones is pregnant. Daisy and Sweets were together for a long time (longer than Booth and Brennan were officially coupled) but broke up in Season 9. In the Season 10 premiere, it's revealed they kept hooking up and Daisy is now pregnant with Sweet's son and it appears they're going to stick together for good. And then someone involved with a government conspiracy killed Sweets...
  • Scrubs both used and subverted this:
    • A Christmas episode sees an unplanned pregnancy and labor restore the cast's faith in life (and in Turk's case, God), Dr. Cox and Jordan bond (albeit rather cynically) over the birth of a friend's child, and formerly child-indifferent Elliot becomes a cooing puddle of mush - but in another episode, J.D. wonders who the hell managed to romanticize childbirth. Later episodes address the fact that Carla, a responsible woman who really wanted to be a mum, still had to deal with postpartum depression.
    • One story arc involved J.D. getting Sacred Heart's urologist Dr. Kim Briggs pregnant, after having only dated for a very short time (the pregnancy was also caused by non-penetrative sex). Kim accepts a job in Washington, tells J.D. she miscarried, and the two end the relationship. It's later revealed that she lied. Kim and J.D. reunite for a while, but ultimately they end the relationship, remaining friends for the sake of their son Sam.
      • Also, after Kim shows J.D. a video of their son, he realizes how much of Sam's life he's missing by living a 40-minute drive away and decides to move into the area on the spot. After that, J.D. and Turk have to face the realization that they can't see one another every day, as Turk has a family of his own.
  • Crichton and Aeryn's baby certainly gives Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars a warm and fluffy ending, as well as bringing Aeryn's "humanity" to fruition. "All of a sudden, three's not such a scary number."
  • Played straight and subverted on Heroes with Matt Parkman. Straight example: he leaves his wife, Janice, for a multitude of reasons, mostly because she's been cheating on him, and he thinks that the child she's about to bear isn't his. It is, and the baby ends up bringing the two back together after Daphne's death. Subversion: his vision of his marriage to Daphne in the future involved them having a kid together. However, their relationship is still shown to have some issues, despite that.
  • Sons of Anarchy:
    • Wendy is trying to make things work with Jax because of Abel but it's hard going. Since she wasn't seen in the opening episode of the second season things may not have worked out. Also care of Abel seems to largely be falling to Gemma.
    • In season three, when Tera gets pregnant she decides to have an abortion since it is going to complicate an already messy situation with Jax. Having the baby in Charming also means that she will be more or less locked into staying involved with the Sons. She ends up not having the abortion for other reasons and when Jax finds out he is overjoyed. Neither really expects things to get better because of the baby.
    • Word of God state that the financial difficulties of having an extremely sick baby (Jax's older brother) that caused John Teller to start dealing in illegal firearms and resulted in corrupting the club into what it is in the present. When the baby still died, John became depressed and alienated from Gemma and ultimately ended up dead.
  • Det. Vera tries to invoke this trope on Cold Case by attempting to adopt a baby to fix his rocky marriage. It doesn't work: the adoption is denied and he and his wife eventually divorce.
  • Subverted with cruel elegance on Mad Men. Having exiled Don to the couch earlier on, Betty Draper finds out that she's pregnant again at the end of the second season. Their marriage does seem to improve for a while, but eventually things fall apart after (1) Betty starts falling for another man (Henry Francis, an adviser to Governor Nelson Rockefeller) and (2) she finds out who Don really is. Fourteen months after Betty finds out about her pregnancy, she's flying out to Nevada (with Henry and baby Eugene) to file for divorce.
  • Beautifully subverted on Outrageous Fortune. Loretta, who is twisted and spiteful of just about everything before getting pregnant, gives birth (in an equally beautiful subversion of another aspect of this trope, where Van is the only one with her and visibly freaked out but still helping her), names the baby, and breastfeeds at least once and doesn't change a bit. She does undergo a radical change in the following season but, if anything, she only gets more evil, and there are other obvious reasons. Specifically, the influence of her grandmother, Rita, and her desire to go after the then-boy now-old man Rita had an affair with.
  • How I Met Your Mother:
    • Extreme bachelor Barney hates the idea that his brother and wingman is getting married, right up until he finds out he's going to be an uncle. Then in the series finale after being divorced from his 3-year marriage with Robin, Barney goes back into his womanizing ways until his daughter is born.
    • In season 6, Marshall was going through a rough time such as coping with his father's death, his unemployment, etc. until in the season finale, Lily tells him that she's pregnant. And again in Season 9, after Lily and Marshall are having a fight on whether they go to Italy or to stay in New York, a later episode reveals that Lily is pregnant again and Marshall decided that they should to Italy.
  • Subverted on Dollhouse, in Epitaph Two, Sierra is raising her son by Victor, and Victor is off being a Tech-head for a cause. The baby did not make anything better. The one bright spot is that they might have been reunited in the end after Victor/Tony throws away the tech to be a father to T and, presumably, a husband to Sierra/Priya.
  • Averted on The Wire. Kima's girlfriend wants a baby, and Kima reluctantly goes along with it. The baby ends up making their relationship significantly worse, and they eventually break up because of it. (And that's even despite the fact that Kima comes to love the baby.)
  • Sort of invoked in the first episode of Battlestar Galactica, where a single birth shows there is still hope for mankind. Takes a darker turn in Season 2 when the religious lobby (led by the Quorum member from Gemenon) and genuine concerns about population cause President Roslin (after a lot of wrestling with herself, as she seems to have been liberal on the subject before the Destruction of the Colonies) outlaws abortion, a controversial decision that cost her some of her political popularity and gave Baltar's campaign against her a popularity surge.
  • Degrassi: The Next Generation usually inverts this:
    • Manny and Liberty's pregnancies made everything worse, especially Liberty's; Manny ends up getting an abortion and Liberty puts the baby up for adoption.
    • Mia got pregnant at 13 and the father abandoned her. Her daughter is a toddler by the time Mia is introduced and shows a few teen parent struggles, but otherwise the show doesn't show her far worse off than some of the other non-parent student problems though. (Although both Mia and Emma's mother Spike from the original Degrassi High series have pretty supportive families).
    • Emma thought she was pregnant, but Alternative Character Interpretation has it that she faked the pregnancy so Sean would stay with her.
    • Jenna's pregnancy initially has the father K.C. abandon her. They agree to keep the baby but K.C. neglects his parental duties, cheats on Jenna, Jenna having to miss school to stay home with the baby, and they're constantly fighting (to the point one turned physical), all of which Jenna notes when they eventually decide to put their baby up for adoption.
  • In the Korean drama Lie To Me, this almost comes out of nowhere, and the serious problems that the couple has suddenly evaporate.
  • Flashpoint:
    • Deconstructed in an where a couple trying to get pregnant only increased their frustrations on each other, leading the husband to sleep with another woman though he realized his mistake and remained loyal to his wife. His adultery led to the woman he slept with becoming pregnant. Once his already suspicious wife found out, things only got worse.
    • Also deconstructed with Jules and Sam. On her first day of work after finding out, they decided that everything will be fine and no one needed to know yet. But throughout the episode, both of them were having minor freakouts such as Sam calling Jules just to check up on her and Jules quietly panicking when Sam got close to a man holding C-4. They decide to tell the team by the end of the episode.
  • This trope was implicit in the resolution of one episode of 30 Rock. Liz plots to adopt the baby of a woman she finds working the night shift in a bakery and works to gain the mother's trust by giving her a job on TGS to "gauge the interests of young people." Pete calls her out on this manipulative behavior, saying that he freaked out several times whenever his wife got pregnant, but always came back. When the boyfriend does end up coming back, Pete's position is vindicated. From the audience's perspective, though, whether either of these two is fit to be parents is a legitimate question considering how naive and overly romantic they are.
  • This is subverted on an episode of CSI: Miami. The carjacking and near-fatal beating of a pregnant woman was orchestrated by her husband who believed that Children Are a Waste. He wanted to preserve his 'perfect marriage' by causing a miscarriage, however he used a Psycho for Hire and his wife almost died.
  • In 16 and Pregnant, this trope is usually proven false, with pregnancies causing breakups and dropping out of school.
  • Breaking Bad: Skyler is pregnant when Walt is diagnosed with cancer, and his drug operation is motivated by the hope of providing a future for his family. When his child is born, Skyler wants to separate as she has noticed Walt's behavior and figured out what he has been doing. Then Skyler and Walt's eventual rapprochement by way of her becoming his money launderer. So...babies won't make everything better, but joining each other in a life of crime will. Except it didn't. By Season 5, after realizing that Walt murdered Gus, Skyler is terrified of her husband, finally seeing the monster he's become and almost everything he says, including the lines meant to be loving, has a hint of emotional manipulation behind it. Now Skyler is only trying to get the kids as far away from him as possible.
  • Played with, but ultimately averted in The Office, where Michael's discovery of Jan's pregnancy brings him back together with her after their messy, domestic-violence induced breakup. Ultimately averted in that the baby was not Michael's (it was an artificial insemination from a donor), and Jan told Michael that from the beginning, but it took until the baby was born for that fact to really sink in for him, then he stopped associating with Jan permanently.
  • The X-Files:
    • Played straight in the episode "The Post-Modern Prometheus", even though the babies are...monstrous...
    • Averted with Baby William, even though Scully really wanted to be a mother. Having a baby made her and Mulder's lives a million times more complicated. She finds out she's pregnant at possibly the worst time in the series and things do not get much better from there. Her pregnancy is complicated by various health issues. The baby turns out to be a human/alien hybrid and essential in the conspiracy she and Mulder have been uncovering for the last eight years. As a result, those around her either want to kill the baby or kidnap and then kill him. There are several attempts on his life before and after his birth. She ends up giving him up for adoption to an anonymous family to protect him.
  • Subverted in Six Feet Under: Nate and Lisa's relationship is at least as rocky after having a baby as before, and Nate actually breaks up with Brenda after getting her all knocked up.
  • On One Life to Live, when a woman suggests to her husband that they adopt another baby in addition to the child they adopted several years ago. Although she initially tries to play her idea as simply feeling ready for another child, the husband forces her to confront her real motives—their marriage is in trouble and she thinks another baby will solve their problems.
    • Even earlier in regards to the first child they adopted, which was spurred by her grief over the stillbirth of their son.
  • JAG: In general, for every new child Bud and Harriet gets, the better everything gets for them.
  • Done in The Secret Life of the American Teenager, which is a little jarring seeing as how the purpose of the show was to show that teenage pregnancy is BAD.
  • The Maury show uses the inversion of this trope pretty frequently. There will be episodes where a bunch of teenage girls act like they can become great mothers and that they have what it takes to raise a baby. Cue a reality check when the girls are sent somewhere to raise a baby for a few days and come to the realization of how hard babies make everything in life.
  • A variant on My Name Is Earl. After meeting and getting married while Joy was already 8 months pregnant, Joy becomes pregnant for the second time and Earl is excited to be an actual father. Problem is, he's not the father; Joy had an affair with Darnell, and the truth came out 9 months later. Earl is (understandably) crushed, and plans to leave Joy. He really has nowhere to go, so he heads back to his parents' house, intending to live there permanently and forget all about Joy, the kids, and the affair. Earl's dad convinces him to go back, if only for Dodge and Earl Jr., and Earl realizes his dad's right. He goes back to his family and does his best to provide for them (even if that usually involves stealing), looking back he views this ordeal as the one decent thing he did in his life before he found karma. He remained a serviceable parent to the kids, at least until the events of the first episode when Joy divorces Earl while he's hospitalized to be with Darnell.
    • There are multiple twists and turns to this situation over the seasons. Joy reveals that their day one marriage was not a drunken accident but that she was so desperate for some sort of help she had her friends liquor Earl up before she made her move. She wasn't always appreciative, but she did respect the efforts he made. The series finale then twists everything around, Joy's first son is actually Earl's from a one-night stand at a masked Halloween party, while her second son is not Darnell's.
    • Deconstructed in another episode: Earl reveals that (somewhere between the ages of 12 and 14), he had a crush on his babysitter, but found out she already had a boyfriend. He was jealous, and searched through the boyfriend's wallet, intending to take his money, but then he found a condom. Earl poked holes in the condom, rendering it completely ineffective, and naturally (as per the Law of Inverse Fertility) the babysitter became pregnant. She apparently married her boyfriend (and gave birth at the wedding reception), and though they are still together and happy as can be, their son (now an adult) is an ungrateful loser. His doting parents just enable him. Earl decides to teach him how to be more mature... though it's actually Randy that ends up doing it.
  • Painfully subverted in Downton Abbey: both Sybil and Matthew die on the day their children are born.
  • Averted in Princess Returning Pearl series 3, when the birth of his child by Zhi Hua does not make the situation better for Yong Qi at all. Played straight with his children by Xiao Yan Zi.
  • In season 5 of The New Adventures of Old Christine, Old Christine and Richard mention they decided to have Richie to save their marriage. Obviously it didn't work, as they were divorced by the time the series began (less than 10 years later), but they still remained good friends. They discuss this because they planned to have another baby together because Old Christine was jealous that New Christine (Richard's new girlfriend) was having a baby, though they realized that having a baby for the wrong reasons was a very bad idea.
  • Friends: Monica and Chandler's Happily Ever After in the finale is when they finally watch their children being born. Justified as they'd longed for children for years, fought very hard to get them, and are both mature characters who are totally prepared and capable of raising a family together. Plus they were already Happily Married, so it's not that children were fixing their marriage - just giving them what they'd always wanted.
    • Averted with Ross and Rachel. They did not get back together after Ross accidentally got Rachel pregnant during a drunken hookup and the stress of raising a child strained their relationship further. When they got back together in the finale, their child had nothing to do with it.
  • Strongly averted on Homeland. Carrie gives birth to Brody's child after his execution and flat-out acknowledges that the baby, Frannie, is Someone to Remember Him By and little more. Multiple characters call her out on her poor parenting skills — without even knowing that she once very seriously considered drowning her in the bathtub.
  • Played with on This Is Us. When baby Randall is abandoned at a fire station, the firefighter who finds him considers adopting him because his marriage was breaking down over infertility and communication issues. While his wife ultimately rejected the idea of adopting the baby, they both agree that their problems won't be solved by a baby and he takes baby Randall to the hospital while she agrees to a dinner date and start over.
  • The Australian mini-series Simone de Beauvoir's babies is about a group of women approaching middle age who, having failed to find their perfect soulmate, form a pact to have children anyway.
  • Subverted in Mr. Robot. Following the birth of their child, Tyrell and Joanna are faced with quite the ordeal. First, Tyrell goes on the run from the authorities for his involvement in 5/9 and the murder of Sharon Knowles. Shortly after Joanna is murdered by a scorned lover right in front of her child. With Tyrell on the run, the child ends up with social services. Even after Tyrell is acquitted of the aforementioned crimes, he still doesn't get his child back and is killed by the Dark Army in season 4.
  • The Thin Blue Line: In "Kids Today", a baby is abandoned outside the police station. Patrica takes care of the baby, and clearly enjoys doing so; and although she denies it, she later wants a baby, to Raymond's disapproval.
    Patricia: You have to remember the restrictions babies bring: sleepless nights, sick all over everything, fat little cheeks you just want to gobble up. (In a lighter voice) Smiles. Laughs. I could take it or leave it.
  • Interview with the Vampire (2022):
    • Louis de Pointe du Lac and Lestat de Lioncourt bring Claudia, their vampire daughter, into their household right when Louis is on the brink of walking out on their relationship. In the short-term, it does work — they're quite happy as a little family for a time. Claudia writes in her diary that she helps to smooth out any major conflicts between her Daddy Lou and her Uncle Les ("And when they can't [sort out their problems on their own], I can always get in between and make it right"). In the long-term, though, it doesn't work out so well, especially when one-half of the couple is a Crazy Jealous Guy. Lampshaded by Louis and Daniel Molloy in "...The Ruthless Pursuit of Blood with All a Child's Demanding":
      Louis: Claudia was—
      Daniel: A band-aid for a shitty marriage?
      Louis: I was going to say... something else. But yes, that's almost certainly what she felt like.
    • The trope is played much straighter with Louis individually. Fatherhood brings a great deal of fulfillment and meaning to Louis' life.
      Louis: Claudia was... everything. I loved her unconditionally. All the noise, the chaos, the crisis of my former existence, silenced. The simple joy of her hand in mine.

  • Yellowjackets: The reason Shauna had Callie, as revealed while under police interrogation on "Qui": as she puts it, she was struggling with her marriage to Jeff due to guilt and shame, and hoped having a baby would make things easier.

  • Averted by After Forever's concept album, Invisible Circles. Two lovers argue at the beginning, the man focused on his career while the woman believes a child can mend the growing rift between them. It doesn't, and their daughter grows up to be neglected by her mother, abused by her father, and only finding solace in cyberspace.
  • Subverted in the Ancient Bards concept album Soulless Child. A man and woman with a forbidden romance ("you're not of my kind" - it's not explained what this means in context) secretly conceive a child together, vowing to show the world once they're ready that they can be a happy, loving family. Unfortunately, the child gets sick and dies in infancy and the parents go insane. The mother recovers and eventually becomes an Action Girl sorceress; the father becomes an Evil Sorcerer who raises the child from the dead. As the title implies, this doesn't go well.
  • Bébé Lilly is a French CGI-animated baby girl singer who is known for her song "Allo Papy" and covers of French children's and novelty songs.
  • A French Dance music group, Jakarta created animated music videos involving a breakdancing baby character, who has a Mohawk, and is named Totosse. He stars in a world populated by babies in “One Desire” and “Superstar.”
  • From Talking Heads:
    • "Thank You for Sending Me an Angel" from More Songs About Buildings and Food shows an over-the-top joy at a baby's first words, first steps, etc. Being David Byrne, this could be taken on a few levels.
    • The song "Stay Up Late" is a sardonic swipe at parents who show their newborns off late at night, although a lot of listeners missed this.
  • From "Should Have Known Better" by Sufjan Stevens, whose suicidal narrator muses on his niece's birth:
    My brother had a daughter / The beauty that she brings, illumination.
  • From the Um Jammer Lammy soundtrack album Make It Sweet!, the lyrics of "BIRTH SONG" (a rearranged cover of "Treasure" from the game) talk about how having a baby "shall bring tons of love and peace to all! (Uh huh.)"

  • Viciously subverted in A Streetcar Named Desire - Stella's first and only stand against her animalistic husband is interrupted by her going into labor, reinforcing her dependence on Stanley. The baby makes nothing better - he's more likely to be another victim of Stanley's idea of domestic bliss. In the movie, after Stanley sends Stella's sister, Blanche, to an insane asylum (after he raped her), Stella eventually snaps and calls him out. The baby still didn't make anything better.
  • Subverted in Steel Magnolias. In a scene that doesn't appear in the film, Shelby pretty much admits that she's having a baby, even though it's dangerous for her as a diabetic because she hopes it will improve her marriage. It just leads to her death.
  • Defied in Saturday's Children. Bobby, trapped in an unhappy marriage of her own making, is told by her married sister to have a baby because that's what women do to keep their husbands. Bobby talks it over with her father, who tries to advise her against it. Ultimately, she broaches the idea to her husband, then angrily breaks down and says she won't trap him that way.
  • In William Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale, Paula brings the newborn princess out of the prison where her mother is, in an attempt to reason with the king. The king's heart is not softened. In fact, he orders the baby abandoned in another kingdom.
  • Referenced in one dancer's monologue in the song "At The Ballet" from A Chorus Line: "I was born to save their marriage. But when my father came to pick me and my mother up at the hospital, he said: 'Well, I thought this was going to help, but I guess not.' A few months later he left and never came back."
  • Toyed with, but dismissed in Cabaret. After Sally goes through with an abortion, she reminds Cliff that they aren't really in love and even if they tried to be good parents, their relationship would fall apart. Cliff insists that he'd never leave her if there was a baby involved, and she retorts, "To hold us together, you mean. A lot of pressure for an infant, don't you think?"
  • Implied in "Marry the Man Today" from Guys and Dolls:
    Carefully expose him to domestic life
    And if he ever tries to stray from you
    Have a pot roast
    Have a headache
    Have a baby
    Have two!
  • Drew and Sherrie in Rock of Ages: after a long grueling pathway to finding love with each other, they drop their dreams of stardom and start a family. As quoted by narrator Lonny "Sometimes the dreams you come in with may not be the dreams you leave with...but hey! They still rock!" Like giving birth in less than 20 seconds could rock? Obviously! It's every woman's dream! Except for it being in a bar...poor Sherrie.

    Video Games 
  • Final Fantasy VI: Subverted by Duane and Kaitlin, a teenage couple in the World of Balance, who unexpectedly become full-time parents to orphaned children in the World of Ruin. The second time you meet them, their relationship is strained due to Duane becoming very stressed by the logistics of trying to raise a large number of helpless kids in the aftermath of global catastrophe with no outside help (other than the protagonists). Caitlin has naively assumed that this would be a good time to intentionally get pregnant, and is genuinely caught off-guard as to why he’s not happy. (They do make up, but only after the player wins a solo mini boss fight, so it’s not the doing of the baby at all.)
  • I Was a Teenage Exocolonist:
    • The consequences of a typical deconstruction are depicted several years after the fact. According to a conversation with Instance, Dys and Tang are the result of their mother believing that having children would make her feel less lonely. Their mother was dead via suicide by the time they were old enough to start going to school. In the present day, both the twins and the friend of their mother, who's keeping an eye on them, wonder if their mother ever truly cared about them.
    • This is played straight with some romance options who won't have any children on their own, but are willing to co-parent with Sol, as the children will always bring out the best in them. Ironically, one of the romance options to whom this applies is Dys himself.
    • Once the colony's supplies become sufficient thanks to the Heliopause's arrival, having many children with as many partners as possible is highly encouraged, not just to populate the planet, but also to increase genetic diversity. This along with the promotion of communal childrearing becomes a symbol of hope for the future of Vertumna.
  • Summertime Saga: Most of the women MC can potentially bed can get pregnant by him, potentially making him a father multiple times over, and improving his relationship with them. Since the kids all go off to daycare at some point, the only effect this really has is that it locks the partner in question out for a few weeks as they go through pregnancy and childbirth.
  • In Um Jammer Lammy, this one is even lampshaded in the Stage 3 Intro's parade song "Treasure", whose full version can be heard here.
  • Subverted in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. The Bloody Baron loved his wife while she hated him, and thought a second child would give them a chance to start over. She instead made a Deal with the Devil to abort it behind his back, which gets her enslaved by The Weird Sisters and potentially killed.
  • Xenoblade Chronicles 3: Subverted hard with past incarnations of protagonists Noah and Mio. Throughout various reincarnations they met each other, teamed up to fight Moebius, and fell in love with each other only for it to end with both of them dead. Their final incarnation however were able to continue the fight and settle down, granting this version of them the chance to have a son and be the happiest life they'd had yet. However they were still trapped by Aionios' cycle, meaning that when their son Ghondor was still a toddler Noah and Ghondor watched as Mio faded into light, leaving Noah utterly heartbroken before not long after he too died, leaving their son an orphan. Experiencing the woman he loved die over and over with every reincarnation was traumatic enough, but finally achieving happiness only for it to torn away from him was the final straw for Noah that drove him into utter despair, allowing for Z to offer an eternal life with Mio at his side at the cost of becoming Moebius and slaughtering the very people Noah had fought to protect. Broken and despairing, Noah accepted and became N.


    Web Original 
  • Spoofed by Sword Art Online Abridged, in which Kirito and Asuna's adoption of Yui is part of the Snowball Lie that is their marriage - the two got engaged in an attempt to fill an awkward silence after sex, and while both think they've made a terrible mistake, neither is willing to be the first to admit it, so Yui is a way of raising the stakes and making the other "blink" first. Then they (hysterically) try to buy an orphanage. For her part, Yui is fully aware that she's just a pawn in their mind games, but plays along because she's trying to figure out how two sociopaths can form a happy couple. Yet by the end of the episode, Kirito and Asuna have come to love Yui, Yui wishes she could stay with them, and their time with her gives Kirito and Asuna the maturity to admit they rushed into marriage, but they decide they want to stick together anyway.
    Asuna: (To herself:) "Oh no, I think we're moving too fast." "I know! Let's have a freaking kid! That'll solve all our problems!"
  • Anon: When Chelsea and Tucker find out they're expecting a baby, they're both unhappy about the situation and believe that having a baby would only cause strain on their lives. Once Candace is born, they find themselves even happier than they were before.
    • Also applies to Candace herself when she winds up pregnant in Season 8. The early weeks of her pregnancy are full of drama and Candace openly admitted multiple times she doesn't want to have a child, even at one point implying she doesn't plan on keeping it. Flash forward a few months toward the ending months of her pregnancy and she's warmed to the idea tremendously, even writing a letter to her unborn daughter describing her as her "want, need, and everything".
  • Subverted by The Onion, of course - "Autistic Child Ruins Marriage He Was Born To Save"
  • Played sadly straight in an article from The Atlantic that says child-centered marriages will save marriage in America - sadly because both it's unlikely that children will turn a struggling relationship into a healthy one, and it's not stated what actually happens to these marriages when the kids eventually grow up and the parents no longer have to stay together for the sake of the kids.
  • Antinatalists call this natalism and hold the opposite opinion, namely that having babies makes things worse. A controversial opinion in many cases, but when it comes to failing relationships, they have a point.
  • Kontrola: Natalia's mom warns her against getting herself into a relationship with Majka, who's expecting a baby, thinking this. She had Natalia for Natalia's father-it just made all of them miserable together for a long time. Nonetheless, though Natalia isn't interested at first, later it seems she and Majka might get back together. Natalia by then has grown fond of Majka's daughter.

    Western Animation 
  • In Drawn Together Toot comes to the conclusion that a baby will solve all her life's problems. When her housemates give her a baby from Nicaragua to practice her parenting skills, she's just as good as a guardian as you'd expect. note .
  • Family Guy: The Season 13 episode "Stewie is Enceinte," where Stewie — hoping to improve and restore his relationship with Brian — impregnates himself by sampling Brian's DNA and meshing it with his. The only thing it does is further split the two, once Brian learns of the stunt Stewie pulled.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender did the "childbirth reinforces belief in life" thing, snapping Aang out of his gloom by having him see a baby born. Sokka, on the other hand, is disgusted by the whole affair.
  • The Sequel Series The Legend of Korra subverts the trope. While the birth is treated as a heartwarming affair, it has no major impact, good or ill, on the problems at hand. The episode in question ends on a bittersweet note.
  • Played straight on The Simpsons.
    • Marge's third pregnancy ruined Homer's plans for a dream job and future happiness, forcing him to take up work at the power plant again, and he made it no secret that he was miserable about the whole thing. What brought him out of his depression? Maggie's birth. The episode kicks off with Bart and Lisa noticing that Maggie has no baby pictures. At the end, Homer explains that they are where he needs them the most. Cut to his station at the power plant, decorated with pictures of Maggie. Mr. Burns put up a plaque reading "Don't Forget - You're Here Forever" when Homer was re-hired. The photos block out bits and pieces of this sign so it reads, "Do It For Her." This trope was also averted in the same episode when it depicted how Homer lost his hair: whenever Marge announced that she was pregnant, Homer would rip out a handful of hair from his scalp and run upstairs screaming.
    • It was doubly subverted in the episode "I Married Marge", where Marge was afraid she was pregnant again. The kids react with delight upon learning they'll have another brother or sister; Homer responds by telling them a new baby isn't all fun and games and tells them the story of Bart's conception and the resulting pregnancy and birth. In the end, Bart's birth made everything better: Homer gets a job, saves his marriage, and tells off his sisters-in-law. Then it was triply subverted when Marge returned from the Doctor.
      Homer: [Gathers the kids into his lap] You know, son, the day you were born, I received the greatest gift a man could have. As the years went by, your mother and I were blessed twice more. And not a day goes by that we don't thank God for all three of you.
      Marge: Homer, I'm not pregnant!
      Homer: [Gets up, the kids on his lap falling to the floor] Yeah! Whoa! Excellent, Marge!
      Marge: Yes! [They high five].
  • Averted in Invader Zim. PLAGUE OF BABIES.
  • The Fairly OddParents!: Once Poof was born, this trope started appearing. His very laughter causes good things to happen, and in "Wishology" his smile turns The Darkness into The Kindness. Poof is also literally magical and the first of his kind born in thousands of years.
  • Averted in American Dad!.
    • Stan and Francine meet a young, wild couple who just want to have fun partying and doing extreme activities, stating that they don't want kids for years. When Stan and Francine can't keep up with their lifestyle, they mess with their birth control, which causes the wife to become pregnant. This instead leads to the couple separating and Stan and Francine losing their couples' friend. Though in the end, the two do get back together, it's in spite of and not because of the baby and learning it was all Stan and Francine's fault. Then they call them monsters and end things with them for good.
    • Mentioned almost by name in "Season's Beatings."
      Jeff: Sometimes I feel broken inside, and having a baby fixes everything!
      Of course, the baby they adopt turns out to be the Antichrist.
  • Played hilariously straight in an episode of Adventure Time. Two spiders are having marital troubles and constantly arguing. When the wife appears to be furious with the husband, then in pain she gives birth to about a million babies, by raining them in the air. After realizing they're parents, they kiss and make up, implying things will be better from now (although Finn is freaked out by the baby spiders). AV Club noted the implications of the ending.
    • Happens again in the season 6 opener. The Lich tries to kill everyone (his standard M.O.) and Finn defeats him by turning the Lich into a giant baby (It Makes Sense in Context ...kinda.) The scene then cuts to Mr. Pig and Tree Trunks who recently got married.
      Tree Trunks: Mr. Pig, I think we should get a d— (Loud noise outside.)
      (Mr. Pig and Tree Trunks go outside to see that someone left the giant Lich-baby on their doorstep.)
      Tree Trunks: This changes everything!note 
  • The Flintstones:
    • Pebble's birth episode "The Dress Rehearsal" starts with Fred and Barney rehearsing the taking of Wilma to the Hospital with the normal shenanigans due to failure and internal fighting, just to end the episode happy for the birth of Pebbles.
    • "Little Bamm Bamm": After Fred threw the Rubbles out of his house for spending too much time with Pebbles, they both Wish Upon a Star for a baby of their own, receiving a Doorstop Baby the next morning that they name Bam-Bam.
    • Made-for-TV Movie "Hollyrock-a-Bye Baby" shows Pebbles giving birth to twins at the end, fixing all the many family problems the characters had during the movie up to that point.
  • Averted in Young Justice (2010). Red Arrow and Cheshire have a baby in Season 2, but ultimately Cheshire is unable to settle down and leaves to resume being an assassin. She leaves her daughter in the care of Red Arrow and Tigress, hoping that they'll raise her better than she could.
  • Zig-zagged in the final season of Bojack Horseman for Princess Carolyn. On one hand, it is shown as being super-difficult work. Princess Carolyn is run ragged trying to keep up with "Untitled Princess Carolyn Project" in her episode, feeling entire days slip by while she does everything she can to keep her adopted baby happy while still being the go-getter she is, but she's failing. But after some advice from her rival Vanessa Gecko, she falls into a good rhythm and "Untitled Princess Carolyn Project (whom she names Ruthie) just becomes the apple of her eye from that point on.