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No Infantile Amnesia

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"I remember stuff from when I was an infant now! I know we got a 'C' in Psychology, but it's not normal to remember stuff vividly from before the age of four, is it?"
Ellen, El Goonish Shive

Characters in fiction have improbable memory spans; specifically, they can recall events that occurred before the age of three or four with vivid detail, and their memories are completely accurate — not just memories of the event as it was told to them later, and not twisted by suggestion. Remembering one's own birth is particularly common.

This trope is quite far from Truth in Television; the inability to remember one's infancy is standard for humans and is known as Childhood amnesia. What's worse, most people can be easily tricked into "remembering" things that never happened (as demonstrated by, among others, Elizabeth Loftus).

Often associated with characters with an unusually, or even supernaturally, good memory or high intelligence, such as an elephant. Compare Brainy Baby, a character whose mental development may skip over the infantile phase entirely. In extreme cases, the character remembers being in the utero.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • The 100 Girlfriends Who Really, Really, Really, Really, Really Love You's protagonist, Rentarou Aijou, distinctly remembers his first love at 8-months-old.
  • Dragon Ball Z: The first Broly movie. The titular villain has a deep, sadistic, personal hatred for Goku, because Goku's crying bothered him when they were newborns. For about one day maximum. Possibly justified in that this is an alien we're talking about, here. The only other time a Saiyan's infant memories are mentioned in the Anime/Manga is when Raditz asks if Goku received any head injuries when he was young. The way he talked, you'd almost expect that a Saiyan can recall their entire lives.
  • Den-noh Coil: Yasako and Isako, the main characters, have gaps in their memory from a specific incident when they were around seven years old. There is some implied memory manipulation or repression involved, but the characters generally react as if they're simply remembering something that they had forgotten.
  • 20th Century Boys: Kanna can remember being held as a baby. She had ESP.
  • Medaka Box: Medaka and Zenkichi first met each other when they were two years old, at which time Medaka proposed but Zenkichi said no. Medaka remembers this because she's a superhuman being and assumes Zenkichi's feelings haven't changed; meanwhile, Zenkichi knows that they met but doesn't recall any specifics, least of all the proposal (and even if he did, he probably wouldn't take it seriously). As a result, each of them has feelings for the other but wrongly assumes it's one-sided. At least until Zenkichi wins the Student Council election.
  • Yugioh Zexal: One of Astral's recovered memories is his own birth.
  • Ray from The Promised Neverland has this condition, which allowed him to figure out the truth of the orphanage; he lampshades it as being very rare. He also remembers the song that his mother would hum to him while he was still in her womb, which eventually leads to him figuring out that Isabella is his mother.
  • YuYu Hakusho: Hiei states that he can see and hear before he was born and as a newborn can understand what is happening around him. It may be justified since he's a demon, but it appears his twin sister Yukina does not remember this time.
  • In The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (1999), Link has a flashback to his mother taking him to the Great Deku Tree as an infant.
  • Dr. STONE: A man from Kohaku's village who goes nameless for much of the story is shown to have perfect recall of his arrival in the village and even of his father's face, despite both happening when he was an infant, which was also the last time he saw his father. This villager, named Soyuz after the space capsule that brought astronauts back to Earth after everyone turned to stone, is the son of the leader of a island country whose heads would choose wives for their strong memory to better retain the 100 Tales which tells their lore.
  • Averted as a major plot point in Love Hina. Keitaro knows that he made a Childhood Marriage Promise with a girl when he was around four, but he doesn't remember their name or what they looked like. The girl in question turns out to be Naru, who doesn't remember any of it because she was only two at the time. Mutsumi (who was friends with both of them and responsible for the promise in the first place) fully remembers everything, but she was already six.
  • Ayakashi Triangle: Suzu being the reincarnation of the ayakashi medium made her fully conscious since her own birth—even though previous lives only regained their memories gradually as they grew up. "Suzu" doesn't remember it anymore, though, because she's a Split Personality lacking most of her memories before diverging in early childhood, but the original personality still does.
  • In One Piece, Vinsmoke Reiju clearly remembers the fight her pregnant mom had with her dad about manipulating the unborn Vinsmoke quadruplets' bloodline elements. Given that she's three years older than her younger brothers, she must have been around two at the time. She admits that she didn't truly understand what the fight was about until she was older, but fact remains that she remembers what her parents said in the situation word-for-word.

    Comic Books 
  • Batman: At age three, Tim Drake went to Haly's Circus and met the Flying Graysons. Six years later he remembered it well enough to identify Dick Grayson on sight when he saw Robin on television.
  • Blade:
    • Blade remembers his own birth and the subsequent death of his own mother (occurring only shortly afterwards). Whether this is the result of the whole vampire thing is never addressed.
    • Dr. Doom, in a Blade comic, went significantly beyond this, actually remembering what his mother was doing while he was in the womb. (Then again, mother and son are both potent mages, so...)
  • The Silver Age Superman had total recall as one of his many, many super-powers; he remembered Krypton quite well, even though he was about three when he left.
  • The Adventures of Barry Ween, Boy Genius plays it straight. The titular boy genius was conscious and self-aware in the womb. He hypothesizes he has at most ten years from his current age (7? 10?) before his hyperintelligence drives him irreparably crazy, so he wants to live life to the fullest now.
  • In ElfQuest, it's probably caused by Our Elves Are Different.
    • Skywise remembers "a sight burned into his infant brain when [he] was just hours old", including his mother's face.
    • After the memories are triggered by a scent, Teir remembers his mother. One of the panels of that short flashback is drawn from the perspective of an infant being breastfed.
      • The elven infants stay in the womb for two years or more. They are also become capable of telepathy while in the womb, at least with the mother, and possibly with the father. (For comparison, in humans brain waves of the 'dreaming' type are detectable at at least five weeks.) It is entirely possible an elven child's brain is at a different level of development at birth.
  • Captain America: Cap's enemy the Red Skull once claimed that he could remember being in his mother's womb.
  • In Camelot 3000, Morgan le Fay magically causes Mordred's reincarnation to remember his previous incarnation's having almost been drowned by King Arthur as an infant.
  • X-Men
    • Storm is said to remember her infancy perfectly, including being born in New York City and moving with her parents to Cairo while still a toddler. What this has to do with weather control is anyone's guess, but Storm has long been a poster-girl for New Powers as the Plot Demands.
    • In New X-Men issue #121, Cassandra Nova, a Mummudrai from the astral plane, copies Charles Xavier's DNA and grows as a twin in Sharon Xavier's womb. Charles, as a fetus, can sense the evil within Cassandra and psychically attacks her.
  • In The New Teen Titans: Who Is Donna Troy?, Donna has pretty clear memories of events that happened when she was 3 at oldest.

    Comic Strips 
  • In a Dilbert comic, Dilbert gave his life story, including "so there I am in my mom's fallopian tube..." (after apparently taking two hours to narrate that far).
  • Averted in Calvin and Hobbes. Six-year old Calvin gives up writing his autobiography because he can't remember the whole first half of his life.
    • In a later comic where Calvin notes that he doesn't remember anything from before he was three, even freaking out and wondering if someone had brainwashed him to keep some secrets hidden, Hobbes comments that he remembers Calvin spending a lot of time burping up. If you take the view that Hobbes is a creation of Calvin's mind, then it's possible that Calvin still has his earliest memories but can't consciously access them. If you consider Hobbes a separate entity, however, it's a subtle retcon of how the two met as it implies he was always around from the start of Calvin's life in one way or another.
  • In FoxTrot, Jason implies that he could remember some bits before age 5, as well as making advanced calculations. Likewise, in another comic strip, he once claimed that he wanted StarCraft since he was in the womb, with even Roger vouching for him, causing a squicked Andy Fox to cancel the Dentist's appointment.

    Fan Works 
  • Downplayed in Better Off Not Knowing: The protagonist's neonatal memory seems to be limited to the "bone-crushing cold" of her biological mother's Tailor-Made Prison at the North Pole.
  • Cellar Secrets: Being the titular cellar secret, Ryuuko doesn't remember much and her formative years memories are limited to knowing her mother was abusive and that her father wasn't, along with having small bits of recollections here and there (i.e, recognizing the sound of shaking chain-link fence).
  • In Empath: The Luckiest Smurf, all the main character really remembers was his biological father Papa Smurf leaving him in Psychelia when he was an infant — before he felt the searing pain that was the Psyche Master's Mind Rapey mental probe that erased everything before that moment.
  • In Gensokyo 20XX, we have two examples of this. In Yukari's case, this is played straight, in that she can recall things from when she was two, then again, she is a youkai, so this could be explainable, if not justified. In the case with Maribel and Renko, this is a tad downplayed in that they can remember bits and pieces from the past surrounding the time a little before and while meeting Yukari. Of course, they can only describe the very little they know. In Reimu's scenario, this is possibly averted in that she probably doesn't remember much a little before and during imprisonment.
  • In Humble Beginnings, Zwei can remember things from his first day of life.
  • Like in canon, Dexter in Invisible Sun was a Brainy Baby who understood adults from a very, very young age. He still remembers much of his infancy. Unfortunately, he remembers things he wasn't supposed to understand, such as how he was an unplanned pregnancy. He also remembers his parents frequently complaining about him.
  • This is averted in Kill la Kill AU with Ryuuko, who cannot remember anything before three-years old. This is noted in Part 2/part 4 of comic 25, where she is currently eight and doesn't remember what happened to Ragyo six years prior but she does feel her absence, describing it as "the warmth that had been gone from her life for some time". Satsuki, however, can remember things from when she was two, stating that is when her memories first began, along with that being the age she learned how to change diapers. Of course, Nui lampshades it by saying, "There is no fucking way you remember that."
  • In Pokťmpanions, Mewtwo can remember when he first opened his eyes, something he attributes to being a Legendary Pokémon.
  • In the Discworld young Witch Rebecka Smith-Rhodes gives her mother great big flashes of guilt when she remembers seeing a line of four men dangling from ropes, but can't quite remember when or if it happened at all. Her mother clearly remembers attending the execution of four men who tried to kill her. She took Bekki. Who was only a couple of months old at the time. note 

    Films — Animation 
  • In Meet the Robinsons, Lewis specifically tries to recollect his baby memories with his invention to meet his Missing Mom. He never does so, so it's unclear if the machine would have let him.
  • Megamind can remember the last thing his parents said to him before he was sent away as an infant. Granted, he's a supergenius alien and seemed to find living with his parents at eight days old to be 'embarrassing', so his mind probably works differently.
  • In The Prince of Egypt, after trying but failing to convince her long-lost brother Moses of his Hebrew origins, Miriam sadly sings the lullaby their mother sang when she set him afloat on the river as a baby - Moses recognizes the song, making him begin to realize that her claim is true.
  • Disney's Tangled includes a scene in which Rapunzel has an epiphany and remembers being the king's and queen's baby. The flashback is pretty blurry, though. The opening narration implies she was one day old at the time. She had a lot of hair and was very... active for a day old infant, so it could be the magic of the flower or something.
  • A large part of The Boss Baby is that the villain Francis E. Francis was once a Boss Baby himself. He remembers everything since the day he was in essence ďbornĒ into a family after the Boss Baby formula stopped working on him, which fuels his motivation to destroy Baby Corp.. Itís justified because he kept his Baby Corp. pacifier which allowed him to retain his memories.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Averted in Baby Geniuses, where it is revealed that babies before the age of 2 are ridiculously smart (thanks to the experiences of their past life). Around the age of 2, they "cross over" and forget everything that happened before, becoming normal children. The main characters' adopted father actually manages to teach himself to understand infants' "speech".
    • This may be a Shout-Out to the Mary Poppins books by P.L. Travers in which it's revealed that all infants have memories of their lives just before birth and can even communicate with animals—until they reach the age of two or so. Then they become regular children. Only Mary Poppins herself seems to have retained her infantile memories and ability to communicate with animals.
    • In the sequel, one of the characters is a baby whose aging was halted before age two thanks to his father's invention. He'll always be a genius, but he'll also never be able to grow up.
  • Blade: A flashback shows his dying mother bleeding from the neck reaching out to him after he was born. It moves Blade to help the doctor who is in a similar plight.
  • In Blind Chance Witek apparently remembers his own birth. Which involves his mother in labour, left to her own devices on the hospital's floor, while the doctors are busy with an influx of wounded and dying protesters.
  • Defied in Donnie Darko, when Donnie says during a class presentation that anyone who claims to remember anything from before the age of three is lying.
  • In Flash Gordon, when Zarkov is reprogrammed by Ming's secret police, they rewind his memories all the way back to his birth, and even to the womb.
  • Forrest Gump: Averted: Forrest Gump explicitly states that he has absolutely no recollection of his birth.
  • In Hook, when Peter's memories of being Peter Pan return, he recollects events all the way back to being a baby in his pram.
  • Briefly mentioned near the beginning of Ladyhawke, where "the Mouse", in an aside, compares his escape from The Alcatraz to leaving his mother's womb — "God, what a memory!"
  • In Lucy, the title character, becoming superintelligent after accidental exposure to a powerful new drug, tells her mother she can remember the taste of her milk in her mouth and petting a cat that died before she was one.
  • In On Drakon, Arman states that he can remember the day he was born, though he really wishes he couldn't. In a slight variation, it's not made totally clear if the situation is truly this trope or a Genetic Memory inherited from his father.
  • The main character in Powder has at least one pre-birth memory: how he killed his own mother by summoning a lightning strike on her while still in the womb. The people he tells the story are as freaked by it as because of his ability to remember that.
  • In Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, Sybok conjures Spock's most distressing, self-torturing memory, which turns out to be his father dissing him seconds after his own birth.
    Sarek: So human.
    • Interestingly, a deleted scene in the rebooted Star Trek (2009) also shows a similar birth scene, except Sarek expresses nothing but pride for his son. Possibly, this was done because few people like the fifth film.
  • Star Wars: In Return of the Jedi, Princess Leia remembers her "real mother", giving her a description of "very beautiful, kind, but sad." Padmé fell to Death by Childbirth in Revenge of the Sith, making it this trope retroactively. Her brother doesn't remember her. That, or Leia had a succession of three mothers, including Padmé. The first novelization to that movie, written long before the prequels with the full approval of George Lucas, expands on those memories, mentioning one of being hidden in a trunk and a traumatic parting — "flesh torn from flesh". There is no Word of God on the issue, but a common Fanon theory held that the "real mother" Leia remembers is Bail Organa's wife at the time, Breha, who died when Leia was a young child. However, this theory was jossed by the Continuity Reboot, which established that Breha Organa died with Alderaan, and that Leia's adoption was public knowledge on Alderaan. The other popular theory, that Leia unconsciously used the Force to look into the past, is still possible.

  • Harry Potter: In the first book, Harry vaguely remembers a blinding flash of green light. He later finds out that the light was the Avada Kedavra curse which killed his parents when he was one year old. After Hagrid tells him this, he suddenly remembers it with an Evil Laugh accompanying the light. In the third book, the memories become a lot clearer thanks to the Dementors' power to dredge up a person's most traumatic memories. This may be justifiable by the fact that more traumatic memories are easier to recall even if you were young at the time. Especially as we later learn that part of Voldemort's soul was transferred to Harry during this event.
  • I Am a Genius of Unspeakable Evil and I Want to Be Your Class President: Oliver Watson was fully aware when being born, and remembers the color and smell of the birth canal.
  • In The Secret Commonwealth, the second novel in the The Book of Dust series, Lyra tells a minor character about her memory of being brought to Oxford as a baby. The memory isn't entirely accurate, for instance she admits she isn't certain if the horse she remembers riding on was real, but the memory has enough similarity to the actual events of her arrival in Oxford, as told in the first book of the series La Belle Sauvage, to suggest she may be partially remembering the actual events of her arrival. Lyra was an infant at the time this happened.
  • Dune: Alia mentions being able to remember when she was in the womb. Justified in that her mother Jessica OD'd on spice while (unknowingly at the time) pregnant, resulting in Alia's genetic memories awakening when she was still in utero, and when the Fremen who had her take the spice realize she was pregnant they're horrified since if they'd known they wouldn't have made her do it. All of the novels toy with this trope. In the sequels more characters are introduced who, like Alia, are infants but already have adult-level intelligence and memories from past lives.
  • In Ender's Shadow, Bean is able to remember a fair amount of his own infancy, and was lucid enough to hide just before the "clean room" where he has been cared for is raided. This is justified by his eidetic memory. And his genetically-enhanced, ultra-powerful intellect; he was not just remembering it, he was fully conscious, although almost totally non-socialised.
  • Small Gods: Brutha, the hero, has an eidetic memory. He reports that his first memory was a bright light, and then someone slapped him.
  • The Icarii (Magical birdmen) of The Wayfarer Redemption can remember everything from the time they're born due to their magical nature. The Acharites (Humans) and Avar aren't so lucky however.
  • In The Belgariad's 'autobiography' of Polgara, she starts the story off describing her time in the womb. Her earliest memory is apparently when she and her twin sister split from one embryo to two. Needless to say, she also recalls her babyhood. Polgara is weird: the daughter of an immortal sorcerer and his shapeshifting wife.
    • It's specifically mentioned that Polgara's mother did this deliberately, with the assistance of the god Aldur, to better prepare her daughters for their future. That power was also used to alter Polgara in the womb, explaining why she is a Brainy Brunette (her sister had Hair of Gold) and seems stronger physically than average.
  • Justified in the Doctor Who Eighth Doctor Adventures novel EarthWorld. A device is used to read Fitz's mind, causing him to remember his entire life in reverse:
    "Aaaaargh!" Fitz yelled... "I was being born! Oh my god, I was being born!"
  • Oskar Matzerath, the protagonist of The Tin Drum, remembers being a fetus.
  • Alias from the Forgotten Realms novel Azure Bonds has vivid memories of the day she was born. Except the memories are fake, she's a construct created just a few days before the novel began. This means that her creator succumbed to an in-character use of this trope, when he gave her those memories.
  • Conan the Barbarian: In Robert E. Howard's story "A Witch Shall Be Born", the witch remembers being exposed.
    But the life in me was stronger than the life in common folk, for it partakes of the essence of the forces that seethe in the black gulfs beyond mortal ken. The hours passed, and the sun slashed down like the molten flames of hell, but I did not dieóaye, something of that torment I remember, faintly and far away, as one remembers a dim, formless dream.
  • Ray Bradbury's "The Small Assassin". Like Barry Ween, he remembers being in the womb. And he's not too happy to have been expelled from it...
  • In The Demonata, Bec is stated to have a memory so uncannily accurate, she not only remembers being born, but being in the womb itself.
  • It was clearly hyperbole but, according to the Star Wars Expanded Universe, there are chemical interrogation techniques so effective that the test subject will remember things that his/her mother forgot while the subject was in utero.
  • Although Sir Apropos of Nothing relays the story of his mother's conception of him via rape and his birth, he very explicitly states that the stories were told to him by his mother and the owner of the inn where he worked.
  • In the Temeraire series, dragons can remember the later parts of gestation. Temeraire himself comments that dragons hatch because being in the egg is not very interesting.
  • In Barbara Kingsolver's Animal Dreams, protagonist Codi has a recurring nightmare of a "shattering pop" and a blinding flash. Turns out that it's from the flashbulb on her father's camera when he took a picture of her as a newborn.
  • In The Red Tent, Zilpah claims to have memories of her time as a fetus in utero.
  • Invoked in Jeramey Kraatz's Fall of Heroes. Amp's parents fell in battle when he was four. Now he is fourteen, and remembers them more from photographs than real life — which he finds surprising. Especially after the discovery they are still alive and the unsettling realization they are strangers to him.
  • In Remnants, Billy can remember infancy in Chechnya, including his birth mother nursing him. However, this trope is explicitly set up as a sign that there's something weird about him.
  • In Doki's Chronicles, Doki recalls bits and pieces of when she born, although she did state that she doesn't remember much aside from what she's described.
  • Jamie in Twig remembers the entire process of receiving the enhancements that gave him his Photographic Memory, which involved removing his brain and spine, cloning them, and then putting them back in at a young age.
  • Moon from Bravelands can remember playing with her mother when she was only a few weeks ago and barely older than a newborn elephant calf. This was right before her mother was brutally killed by lions.
  • A Tale of...: Tangled's usage of this is justified in this continuity. Rapunzel can remember a moment from just after her birth because a witch put a spell on her allowing her to remember it.
  • In Seraphina, the title character remembers being in the womb. Presumably this is a trait of her half-dragon heritage.
  • In The Irregular at Magic High School, this trope is one reason Tatsuya has always suspected that Miyuki (who is a few months younger than him) isn't his "real" sister. He knows that infants don't have memories, and there's no way of proving he's right...yet he distinctly recalls being in a cradle, with Miya, his mother, bending over him. Miya didn't look pregnant, in the way she would have were Miyuki really born when everyone says she was. He later discovers that Miyuki was artificially created by geneticists.
  • In The Girl Who Drank the Moon Luna remembers her birth mother and the Day of Sacrifice even though she was less than a year old at the time.
  • In The Mysterious Benedict Society, this is Zig-Zagged with Constance Contraire. She remembers the events of the first book for the rest of the series despite being two years old at the time, but remembers next to nothing before that. However, those memories are also wedged in the back of her mind, not completely forgotten. Itís noted that since she does have a hyper-developed mind, her memories also work differently. Her memories are eventually brought back through the reprogrammed Whisperer in The Prisonerís Dilemma.
    Constance: Iím three and a half, and besides, my mind is hardly typical. Isnít that the point of all these stupid exercises?
  • The White Bone: Mud's memory, like that of all elephants, starts at birth. She experienced everything at the time, including being orphaned, Left for Dead, and adopted by a new family, as an incomprehensible barrage of sensation, which she could only make sense of later.
  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Third Wheel: Greg claims this applies to him at the beginning of the book. He goes on to explain that he was born three weeks early because he couldn't take all the noise he heard from the outside world (especially because Mom was using prenatal speakers to talk to and play classical music for him) and that as a result he has been trying to catch up on all the sleep he missed out on ever since. His love of long baths also stems from memories of peacefully floating in the womb.
  • The Hampdenshire Wonder: When the Child Prodigy Victor is six months old, Challis tells his mother, "It is very necessary that the child should have air." When Victor is four, he tells Challis, "It is very necessary to have air." Challis is shocked, thinking that Victor remembers what he said back then, but Lewes thinks it's just a coincidence.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Olive in A.N.T. Farm claims to be able to remember, not just her birthday, but her actual birth day.
    Olive: The doctor was so cute... and of course I was a mess.
  • In an episode of Are You Being Served?, Mrs. Slocombe revealed that her earliest memory was an uncle with a bushy beard putting his face over her cot while she was still a baby. Weirdly, this was part of a ploy by the other characters to determine exactly how old she was (they believed it was her 50th birthday), which seemed to assume not only that her earliest memory would be from the year she was born, but that she would remember something newsworthy enough that it was recorded in history.
  • The Big Bang Theory: Sheldon Cooper insists he hasn't forgotten one thing since his mother stopped breastfeeding him. (Note that it doesn't say how old he was.)
    Sheldon: It was a drizzly Tuesday...
    • This gets reiterated in the spinoff prequel Young Sheldon. In one episode, George and Mary instruct Sheldon to forget something he's heard, and he tersely reminds them that he's incapable of forgetting. He claims to be able to remember his own birth, adding that it was a horrible experience.
  • Lampshaded and justified in Birds of Prey (2002); the character who says he remembers something from the age of 2 has superpowered memory.
  • Played for Laughs in a throwaway comment on Boy Meets World: Eric's one memory of his birth was "that cute nurse who slapped me on the tushie."
  • This is what leads to the murder of the victim of the week in an episode of Castle. The victim was subconsciously drawing his own mother, apparently having witnessed her murder by his nanny when he was at most two years old. Once the nanny figured out he was remembering she had to kill him.
  • Doctor Who: In "A Good Man Goes to War", River Song remembers the Doctor's cot, despite only having been in it for a few moments as a baby. (Then again, the fact that she's part Time Lord could explain her having such an excellent memory).
  • Family Matters: Played for laughs when Steve Urkel is hypnotized in order to access a semi-repressed memory of overhearing Carl insulting him. When the hypnotist asks him to "go back" and state what he remembers. He goes too far and answers with:
    "I'm being born. There's my dad. Oooooh, I'm being pushed back in!"
  • During an argument Frasier pins Niles down and starts trying to choke him which triggers a very specific memory for the latter.
    Niles: My God, I'm having a flashback! You're climbing in my crib and jumping on me!
    Frasier: YOU STOLE MY MOMMY!
  • House: Dr. House has a rather interesting variation in one episode of Season 3. Although the patient, a child, doesn't actually remember anything in the womb, he does think he was kidnapped by aliens. Eventually, House deduces (by mockingly trying to talk to Cuddy's stomach as if she were pregnant) that the patient's Kidnapped by Aliens beliefs were actually the byproduct of portions of his twin being absorbed into his brain during fetal development.
  • On Limitless the drug NZT gives its users the ability to perfectly recall any memory. Eddie Morra, who has been using the drug daily for years, tells Brian that he likes to recall the memories of his time in his mother's womb because he finds them extremely relaxing.
  • On Lost, Ben and Locke both have flashback episodes that include their own births. ("The Man Behind the Curtain" and "Cabin Fever", respectively.)
  • The Child/Grogu in The Mandalorian remembers the tragedy of Order 66. Justified more than most as he is a long lived alien child so itís not unreasonable to assume he could remember stuff like this despite appearing to be an infant/early toddler to most other beings.
  • A kid in an episode of Malcolm in the Middle recalled being born. Despite Malcolm's insistence that such a thing was impossible and that no one could remember their own birth, the episode played it up as truth.
  • Monk: In "Mr. Monk and the Naked Man", Adrian Monk remembers how he was born. Then again, this is played as just another way in which Monk's mind doesn't work like everyone else's.
  • A Mr. Show sketch features both Bob and David flashing back to their Hilariously Abusive Childhoods. Bob's is from when he's a little boy (about 8-10) but David's of his parents arguing when he was a baby (and his father stepping on him).
  • Sister, Sister implies that Tia and Tamera actually remember being in the womb, as when Tamera tries to beg Tia to do something with her, she says "Remember the womb?", with Tia going "Oh no... not the womb." before consenting to Tamera's request.
  • Star Trek: Voyager
    • Harry Kim claims to remember being in the womb. However, this is never confirmed to be a true memory and Paris thinks it's absurd.
    • In the episode "Q2", Q's son voices how annoyed he was when Janeway cooed over him as a baby. She's surprised he can remember that, but of course, the Q are Sufficiently Advanced Aliens.
  • Played straight and averted in Titus; Dave once got so high, he remembered being born.
  • The title character in Hanna remembers to the car crash where her mother died—when Hanna was just a few months old.

    Video Games 
  • Another Code:
    • Ashley Mizuki Robbins is able to recall events from a little before and up to the day of her third birthday with decent clarity, as she's implied to have some kind of super memory. It's not perfect, as she mostly remembers her third birthday as a Flashback Nightmare and the events before it were only restored once she got back to the areas where they happened.
    • This is actually discussed - a scientist working with her father is a specialist in memory and specifically states that the brain doesn't develop to remember long-term memories in children younger than the age of 3 so he is actually skeptical about some of the things she claims to remember and is also a bit nervous, since some of the events she is recalling link to the time her mother was forced by her boss into a partial Mind Wipe when she quit in disgust at the direction their project was taking as well as possibly linking him as the Big Bad of the series.
  • In the Assassin's Creed games, genetic memory is apparently detailed enough that one can relive the birth of an ancestor through the Animus. When Altaïr impregnates Maria Thorpe, we find out that genetic memory even lets one remember being sperm!
  • In Dragon Ball Z: Shin Budokai, when Broly and Frieza encounter each other before fighting each other, it is implied that Broly also remembers when Planet Vegeta was destroyed and how he barely escaped with his father before they were killed by the explosion, in addition to Goku crying next to him. The same scene also implies that this incident in his life also contributed to his Ax-Crazy nature.
  • Dragon Quest:
    • Remakes of Dragon Quest III add the Recall/Remember/Recollect skill, which lets the Hero remember anything they've memorized. Learning and casting the stronger spells allows the Hero to recall things from further and further back in time. Including the last time they heard their father's voice, back when they were very young.
    • Dragon Quest V starts with the main character dreaming about his own birth.
  • This is commented on in Galatea, where the title character says she remembers how she was constructed, while others don't remember how they were born.
  • In Golden Sun: Dark Dawn, Eoleo comments on Kraden having not aged a day since they encountered in Golden Sun: The Lost Age, at which time Eoleo was a toddler. It's immediately commented on, with the excuse that he was a very precocious toddler.
    • Pointedly averted in the first two games, where it's a plot point that Ivan doesn't remember his birth family.
  • In I Was a Teenage Exocolonist, Sol's starter cards, which are used in the card-sorting minigame when they work, are based on their babyhood memories such as their first steps and first words.
  • Notably averted in Jak II: Renegade, when Samos comments at the end that "It's funny, the boy won't remember any of this." To which older Jak replies that he does remember the light.
  • Zigzagged in Kingdom Hearts. Riku seems to remember his first encounter with Aqua and Terra back when he was 4 years old, although he still needs others' details to back it up (most importantly, their names; they did not bother to reveal them to him back then). However, Sora, who was also with him, does not recall the memory at all. Kairi, too, cannot recall that she met Aqua and Mickey when she was a toddler living in Radiant Garden. Then again, Sora and Kairi are a year younger than Riku, which might have muddled their memories.
  • Averted in Mass Effect 2, the Drell have eidetic memory but they don't perfectly remember their very early childhood. Thane Krios dryly speculates that if they remembered the birthing trauma, they would never recover from it.
  • It is implied in the original Japanese script and the script for the remake of Metal Gear Solid, as well as stated in the Director's Commentary for the same game, that Psycho Mantis subconsciously remembers his own mother giving up her own life to give birth to him.
    • Similarly, its implied that Raiden has some memories of his birth in Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, as he mentions that he was "born on a rainy day." As his parents were murdered by Solidus while he was still very young, it's unlikely that they would have told him.
  • In Psychonauts, Sasha's first memory vault sequence takes place when he was a baby.

    Web Animation 
  • The RWBY song "Red Like Roses Part II" is about Ruby's grief towards her mother's death. She remembers the very day she learned that Summer died. According to Yang, however, Ruby was very young when Summer died and didn't really understand what was going on.
  • "Battle for Dream Island" : Exaggerated; Eggy vividly remembers when she was, as she put it, "an egg inside of an egg."

    Web Comics 

    Western Animation 
  • Adventure Time: In the episode "Memories of Boom-Boom Mountain", Finn vividly recalls being abandoned in the woods as an infant and being taken in by Jake's parents, though he doesn't remember how and why he was abandoned in the first place.
  • In the Grand Finale of Arthur, the Distant Finale epilogue mentions that Kate, who was a baby during the show's main timeline, is now a college student writing a short story about a baby who can communicate with animals. During the show's lifetime, several episodes focused on Kate doing exactly that, communicating with animals and imaginary friends, suggesting Kate subconsciously remembered her time doing so.
  • The same thing happens to Beavis in Beavis and Butt-Head Do America. However, it was most likely a hallucination brought on by dehydration.
  • The Ewoks episode "Asha" has Kneesa remember when her mother was killed and her older sister disappeared even though the incident happened when she was a wokling.
  • Stewie from Family Guy also remembers being a homunculus within a sperm cell, as does his half-brother, Bertram. Then again, they're mutant supergeniuses. Or something. Stewie is an odd case, since he not only remembers being born; he is depicted as having been fully functioning and able to speak, write, and draw a map of Europe prior to his birth. (In one rather disgusting off-hand comment, he tells Brian that he carved "Brooks was here" in the wall of the birth canal.)
  • An odd case from Futurama. Amy expresses surprise that Bender remembers his own birth. Bender replies, "Sure, it was only four years ago."
  • Phineas and Ferb: Dr. Doofenschmirtz claims that his parents somehow missed witnessing his birth date, even though logically his mom should've been present.
  • The "Banana Formula" arc of Rocky and Bullwinkle had a plot point of Bullwinkle having a Photographic Memory when it came to whatever he ate. Rocky tests the degree of Bullwinkle's talent by asking him what he had for dinner 25 years ago. Bullwinkle replies that it was moose milk, then adds that he was a baby at the time, so he always had moose milk for dinner back then.
  • Rugrats
    • In "Mothers Day", the babies discussed their earliest memories. Tommy's was being born or, rather, being in an incubator. Of course, Tommy is only a year old and the entire point of the show is babies with more cognitive skills than probable. Likewise, said episode, Phil and Lil reminisce on when their mother used to breastfeed them.
    • In "Stu Makers Elves", Chuckie describes a recurring nightmare which the viewer will realize is his birth. Oddly, as shown in "Mother's Day", even though he's about two, he doesn't have any memory of his mother Melinda before she passed away but he does remember her as "the nice lady from his dreams"
    • In All Grown Up!, a spinoff where the babies were now pre-teens, it is shown on several occasions that the kids still remember things they've done when they were babies. For example, Tommy mentions that he used to keep a screwdriver in his diaper in "Rachel Rachel" and "The Curse of Reptar" has the gang remember that Reptar was the subject of the first movie they saw and the first ice show they saw, referencing the original series episodes "At the Movies" and "Reptar on Ice" respectively.
  • She-Ra and the Princesses of Power: A minor dramatic aversion. Light Hope, the AI overseeing the planet, knows all about Adora's past, including the part where Adora ended up on the planet by falling through a portal as a baby. When Adora demands to know why Light Hope never mentioned it, Light Hope just says that Adora was there; why would Light Hope need to remind her?
    Adora: People can't remember things from when they were babies!
    Light Hope: Really? How odd.
  • In an episode of The Simpsons, Groundkeeper Willie recalls how his father never said anything kind to him and just chewed him out. Cue the Flashback to Willie's father doing just this. The camera zooms back, and it is revealed that this happened just moments after Willie's birth. Back in the present, Willie claims that these were the last words his father ever said to him.
    • Another episode opened with Homer dreaming of being a baby happily swimming in the womb, only to start screaming when the water broke.
    • In "The War of the Simpsons", Bart is able to recognize a babysitter he hasnít seen since he was a baby.
      Bart: Come back for more, eh?
  • Gems in Steven Universe are fully cognizant from the instant they are Born as an Adult, and thus remember their own births. Peridot describes her own creation as simply, "I didn't exist. Then I did." This does not apply to Steven, who can't at all remember the events of his first winter in "Three Gems and a Baby".
  • Played for Laughs in Super Secret Secret Squirrel when Morocco Mole asks his Evil Twin Scirocco why he hates him so much. This segues into flashbacks within flashbacks, from when they were children, when they were infants, when they were embryos... Secret stops this lunacy before Embryo!Scirroco can explain how the circumstances of their parents meeting led to his hatred of Morocco.
  • Mostly averted in We Bare Bears, as the bears in the present day do not make any reference to any of the adventures they had together as cubs, even when it involved visiting other countries, and they don't find a way to get in contact with any of the friends they made, implying that they have little or no memory of it.
    • Played a bit straighter with Ice Bear, who is said to be the youngest brother. He spent the first part of his life being looked after by a man called Yuri, who taught him some of the skills he is seen using in the present, and they were eventually separated. There's one episode where a woman Ice Bear is friends with leaves behind her locket that she claimed was from her father, and inside he sees a picture of Yuri and his family, and immediately recognises him.
    • Downplayed in We Bare Bears: The Movie, where Grizz at first has trouble remembering how he and his brothers escaped an approaching train shortly after they first met.

    Real Life 
  • Dawn Prince-Hughes Ph. D's biography Songs of the Gorilla Nation describes a memory of her own birth, recalling a nurse with horn-rimmed glasses.
  • Ray Bradbury claimed he can remember being born and said this inspired his Enfant Terrible short story "Small Assassin".
  • In Finding Ben by Barbara LaSalle, she states that her high-functioning autistic son Benjamin Levinson remembers the color of the walls of his first bedroom, which he moved out of at 11 months of age.
  • The dubious practice of "rebirthing" as a pseudoscientific therapy for attachment disorder is rooted in this trope.
  • Different cultures tend to remember earlier or later memories. This has something to do with how important recollection is to that culture. And children of age 3 can have clear memories from when they are one year old. While common, infantile amnesia does not seem to be a universal phenomenon with a predictable trigger.
  • One theory accounting for the images associated with alleged Alien Abduction experiences is that they're actually a foggy memory of the abductee's own birth, with "Grey aliens" being masked, white-coated doctors as perceived through a newborn's as-yet-unfamiliar vision. Fully justified, since newborns have an eyesight of about 20/400, according to The Other Wiki.
  • Leo Tolstoy wrote about this trope (rarely happening in Real Life): "It's just a step from a five-year-old child to me, but there's a deep chasm between being five years old and birth." (Paraphrased)
  • It's more common than people believe. Children have suddenly expressed memories of people who died before they turned two, or remembered a situation, believing it must have happened later in life, only to be told that the only time that could have happened was when they were a baby.


Video Example(s):


Young Sheldon

Sheldon remembers Meemaw's brisket recipe, despite being only 23 months old at the time.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (12 votes)

Example of:

Main / NoInfantileAmnesia

Media sources: