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Tragic Stillbirth

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"It happened ten years ago and your Dad and I have been able to go back to our jobs and taking care of all you. But we never forgot. She was as much a part of this family as you and Leni and Luna and everyone else. When we lost her, it was one of the lowest points of our lives. And sadly, no amount of time can change that. Even now I think about her, my Leni. Thinking about all the happy moments she didn't get the chance to have still makes me emotional."

A Tragic Stillbirth is a plotline detailing the fallout and heartbreak after a child dies in the womb or shortly after birth. For whatever reason, they ended up dying in the birthing process or prior to labor. While a Convenient Miscarriage can cause characters great grief, a stillborn baby is far more likely to be treated on par with the Death of a Child. This is because a tragic pregnancy is considered a stillbirth if the baby dies at 20 weeks of gestation and beyond, whereas a miscarriage occurs before 20 weeks.

In historical or pseudohistorical settings, a Tragic Stillbirth puts extra pressure on women who need to produce an heir.

Ghosts of stillborns often appear to haunt their family, especially siblings, in fiction. They're usually Undead Children or even adults, as ghosts of newborns would be seen as too morbid for most viewers.

Compare and contrast to Convenient Miscarriage, Forced Miscarriage, Death of a Child, Outliving One's Offspring, Premature Birth Drama, Abortion Fallout Drama, and Law of Inverse Fertility. Can involve Death by Childbirth, though usually the mother survives. See Birth-Death Juxtaposition and Life/Death Juxtaposition.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • After much preparation for the baby, Daisuke's sister ends up having a stillbirth in Bitter Virgin. The story arc came about after the author herself had a stillbirth.
  • In Cavalier of the Abyss, Iffrita had lost her original child in this way, which spurred her into taking her rival's child and attempting to have her killed.
  • Izumi from Fullmetal Alchemist gave birth to a stillborn child prior to the series, whom she tried to bring back to life through alchemy. However, as reviving beings is impossible, she ended up losing her reproductive system due to Equivalent Exchange. That is why she's an ill girl who frequently coughs up Blood from the Mouth. In the manga and 2009 anime, she ends up mostly healed in the end.
    • In the 2003 anime that Overtook the Manga, the transmutation worked in a way. A few years later Izumi finds a Wild Child who turns out to be a homonculi created from her attempt at reviving her son. Once Wrath regains his memories, he lashes out against Izumi for feeling she abandoned him after she 'failed' to revive him. In this continuity, Izumi also eventually succumbs to her injuries. Wrath didn't forgive Izumi until right before her death, though they end up Together in Death soon afterwards.
  • Himitsu no Akko-chan: Akko's full name, Atsuko, comes from her stillborn older sister who was supposed to be named "Atsuko".
  • Made in Abyss: Due to the stains of the Abyss's depths, Lyza's daughter, Riko, was stillborn, leaving her despondent. However, a relic that she and her mentor, Ozen, had unearthed, the Curse-Warding Box, was able to restore her to life, as well as help her survive the effects of the Curse of the Abyss long enough to return to the surface hail and whole.
  • In Negima! Magister Negi Magi, Ayaka's little brother was stillborn and it's heavily implied that she projects her feelings for him onto Negi (since he would have been around Negi's age if he was alive). Chapter 14 shows that it's still affecting her, even ten years after the fact (it's even the subject of her Image Song in the first anime).
  • This happened to Sachiko in the backstory of Tokyo Godfathers, which, combined with how her alcoholic husband essentially abandoned her without any emotional support, result in her kidnapping another couple's baby in a desperate attempt to relieve her pain and kicking off the plot of the movie.

    Fan Works 
  • Beautiful Monster: Just like in the original Rugrats Theory, Tommy is stillborn. It deeply affects Stu and Didi, especially the former to the point that he's initially in denial about the loss and making toys for him.
  • The Blood of the Covenant: Bato and his wife were so devastated by their daughter being stillborn (worsened by the difficult labour ruining Kyra's chances of getting pregnant again) they beg Hakoda to let them adopt a toddler Zuko in spite of the boy's obvious firebending inheritance.
  • A Different Point of View: Over a decade ago, Buster's mom Bitzi mysteriously lost her pregnancy. She had been beaten up a few days prior, but there was no proof that the two incidents were related. She never told anyone but her husband, so she told her peers that she was just sick. The baby's remains were cremated and spread on the eastern side of their home island.
  • Eyes on Me:
  • Foreigner is an Alternate Universe Fic where a two-year-old Katara is captured by the Fire Nation as a child. She is adopted by a couple who had a stillbirth three years prior.
  • How I Became Yours: The story kicks off with Katara visiting a memorial shrine to a stillbirth she had a few years prior. Zuko's lover Mai poisoned a six-months pregnant Katara, causing her to miscarry.
  • One of the stories-within-a-story in How to write a TSS story? ends with Victor and Anita experiencing a stillbirth.
  • In chapter 1 part 1 of SlifofinaDragon's Sengoku Basara fanfic Let's Endless Party!, Date Masamune and Sanada Yukimura's son Masa gets impregnated at the age of fourteen with Oyamada Nobushige's child, but sadly miscarries.
    • However, seven years later in chapter 1 part 2 of Silfofina's latest fic Finally Home, a young boy appears to Masa and reveals himself to be his and Nobushige's miscarried son, having been brought over to Kyogoku Maria, who revived him via witchery. He is then named Tsukitora.
  • Little Fires:
    • Eelfoot was expected to have a large litter of five kits, but only Emberkit was born successfully. The other four were stillborn. As a result of the tragedy, she coddles her only child.
    • Goosepaw's mother Mousefur gave birth to several stillborns and then died. Goosepaw was the only survivor of the litter. With no father, her brother Beechfur took over as her father figure.
    • It's suspected that ThunderClan has "bad blood" (due to inbreeding), resulting in several sickly kits and stillbirths.
  • The Naruto fic The Losses We Share (and Those We Don't) is about Hanabi and Konohamaru's difficulties having a child. Within the span of three years, they have ten miscarriages and a stillbirth. Their marriage becomes strained and the trauma takes a toll on both of them. Eventually, however, Hanabi gives birth to a daughter.
  • The The Addams Family fanfic Morticia Is Pregnant sees Morticia Addams lose three babies this way.
  • It's revealed in My Sister Leni that Lori had a twin sister who was stillborn, and that Leni was named after Lori's twin. Lori's parents had intended to wait until she was older to tell her, but she found the pregnancy journals in the attic at age ten.
  • Prerugrats, a fanfic about the backstories of the cast of Rugrats, reveals that prior to having Tommy, Stu and Didi had a stillborn baby named Spencer. His stillbirth causes the parents grief, especially Didi, but it's only a portion of the plot. The fic itself isn't a complete and utter Dark Fic, although it does have its dark moments.
  • Occurs in the second half of The Secret, a The Hobbit fanfiction. Even though Thorin despises Leena, he does care about their unborn daughter and he and Dis are both devastated when the baby is stillborn; Dis even wonders if their family is cursed to never have children. Emma also feels very sad for Thorin when she hears the news and Thorin goes through a period of mourning before asking Emma to marry him. When Emma later gets pregnant, Thorin's memory of his stillborn daughter and fear of history repeating itself darkens the otherwise happy occasion.
  • When the Bough Breaks is a My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fic where Cadance has a miscarriage late into her pregnancy. It deals with her and her husband Shining's feelings surrounding the death. The fic was written before Flurry Heart was revealed, so the foal is not her; it's an OC son.
  • When We Exhale is a The Secret Show fanfic where Victor and Anita find themselves expecting another baby almost a year after welcoming twins. Unfortunately, the baby (a girl they named Lily) ends up stillborn.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • In the director's cut of The Butterfly Effect, Evan and his mother go to a palm-reader, who states that Evan has no lifeline on his palm and hence shouldn't exist. Evan's mother, upset by this, reveals that before Evan's birth she had two stillbirths, so Evan was her "miracle baby". At the end of the film Evan travels back in time to his own birth and commits suicide in utero. The implication is that his mother's previous children had the same Mental Time Travel ability as Evan and made the same decision to kill themselves.
  • One young woman of the The Clan of the Cave Bear goes into labor and delivers a stillborn baby soon after the Clan finds a new home. Ayla witnesses this and asks the wise Mog-ur why the baby was dead. This is where Ayla learns that the Clan connect living tribe members with deceased ancestors.
  • Entre Nous (2021): Laetitia loses the baby due to Simon beating her. After this combined trauma, Laetitia goes mute in the hospital until Elodie comes.
  • In I Know Who Killed Me, it's revealed that Daniel bought Aubrey from her drug-addicted biological mother after his own daughter was stillborn.
  • In Junebug, Johhny and his wife Ashley are both devastated when the baby is stillborn. However, the stillbirth does remind him of his love for her and even motivates him to try and rebuild their relationship.
  • A New York Christmas Wedding: Gabby miscarried in the prime timeline, and it devastated her so much she killed herself.
  • This kicks off the plot of The Omen (1976) when Robert and Katherine's child is stillborn, and while dreading telling his wife what happened a priest approaches Robert and says a baby was just born whose mother died in childbirth. Robert takes baby Damien home as a result. Much later, Robert digs up his child's grave and discovers that he wasn't stillborn, he was murdered.
  • In Ophelia, Mechtild reveals to the title character that when she was nineteen she fell pregnant with her lover's baby, who promised to marry her. However, her baby son died in her womb, which was the catalyst for the townsfolk turning on her and calling her a witch, while her lover dropped out of the picture. Mechtild escaped execution but was forced to live alone in the woods to avoid persecution. She makes it very clear to Ophelia that decades later, she still grieves for her stillborn son.
  • Orphan: Kate Coleman's third child, a girl, was stillborn. She is still clearly affected by it and eventually decides to adopt the titular orphan, Esther, to make up for the loss. Then people start dying...
  • In Séance on a Wet Afternoon, Phony Psychic Myra Savage claims that she is in regular contact with her son Arthur and that he wants her to boost her profile as a medium by kidnapping the daughter of a wealthy industrialist. However, when she tells her husband Billy that Arthur wants their victim to be with him, Billy snaps and tries to break through her delusions by telling her that Arthur was stillborn and that she wasn't even able to see him as she was still coming round from the drugs. It quickly becomes clear that she has been tormented by grief ever since, and she undergoes rapid Sanity Slippage in the film's final act as a result, ultimately confessing everything during a seance with two detectives and cradling a cloth as if it were Arthur.

  • Normally averted, in Always Coming Home since due to the leftover pollution, miscarriages and stillbirths are very common in the Valley. There are, however, poems in the extended edition which are sung in case of a stillbirth, and in "The Brave Man", the main plot is a woman being sick due to a very painful miscarriage.
  • In Philippa Gregory's The Constant Princess, Catherine of Aragon is violently affected by her first miscarriage, while Henry manages to move on rather quickly. It gets harder as the miscarriages pile up, though. This is a recurring theme in Gregory's books, also seen in The Cousins' War Series and The Other Boleyn Girl.
  • A backstory point in The Crocodile God. The Filipino sea-god Haik and his mortal wife Mirasol's first daughter is stillborn, due to a Spaniard shooting Mirasol in the stomach after finding out Haik was a native god, and Mirasol ends up giving birth to a tiny, dead whale-calf. Haik is especially traumatized because not only is this a personal family loss, it clinches the Death of the Old Gods in the Philippines.
  • This trope occurs several times in the Earth's Children series. Justified since the series takes place in the Stone Age, where things like prenatal care are extremely limited or not well understood.
    • In The Clan of the Cave Bear, Uba manages to get pregnant, but the child is stillborn. It's downplayed as though it's still upsetting for her and Vorn, she comes to terms with the loss and doesn't dwell on it. Ayla, who delivers the baby, also privately thinks it's better the child was stillborn, as it turns out Uba gave birth to conjoined twins who were unlikely to have survived, either due to health conditions or through Uba being forced to abandon them (Ayla keeps this detail from Uba to spare her feelings).
    • Also in the first book, poor Ovra suffers multiple miscarriages and stillbirths; she doesn't have trouble conceiving but never gives birth to a living child. Everyone is saddened by this and it takes quite a toll on Ovra's health (with Ayla eventually prescribing a contraceptive tea in secret so she doesn't have to go through it anymore).
    • In The Valley of Horses, Jetamio has a stillborn son due to labour complications. She herself dies because of the complications and the healer who attends her performs a posthumous C-section to save the baby but is too late. The double tragedy is utterly devastating for her mate, who sinks into a deep depression and even seems to wish he was dead too.
  • In the Fairy Oak series, this happened during Mrs. Windflower's second pregnancy, and it's the reason behind her overprotective nature over Titch.
  • In The Grapes of Wrath, eldest daughter Rose is pregnant for most of the novel, but the baby is stillborn, possibly due to malnutrition as the novel takes place during the height of the Dust Bowl. The novel ends with the family taking refuge in an abandoned barn with a boy and his father who is dying of starvation, and Rose feeds the man with her breast milk.
  • In The Jungle, Ona's second child ends up stillborn due to labor complications. Ona herself dies during the birthing process, leaving Jurgis utterly devastated.
  • The Mirror Crack'd from Side to Side: Movie star Marina Gregg suffered several miscarriages. When she finally was able to bring a child to term, her son was born with severe birth defects after she contracted German Measles while pregnant with him. This resulted in her murdering the obsessive fan who had unwittingly infected her.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire features a few examples:
    • Selyse Baratheon has suffered this multiple times. Her mind is slowly slipping from sanity because of the number of times her children were born dead. Only one survived, but it was a girl and was struck with greyscale at an early age (although she survived and is being groomed by Stannis to succeed him).
    • Daenerys Targaryen becomes pregnant in A Game of Thrones with a son, Rhaego. However, the baby is ultimately stillborn and reportedly also comes out hideously deformed, blind with scales and bat-like wings; his skin falls away from his body to reveal graveworms. It's indicated to be a side effect of a Blood Magic ritual Dany had requested of Mirri Maz Duur to save her husband Drogo's life, as Rhaego was perfectly healthy prior to this. Dany is left unable to conceive another child (Mirri cryptically claims she will never bear another child and Dany hasn't had a period since the stillbirth). She grieves both the loss of Rhaego and any other children she may have had, which is what makes her so protective and affectionate towards her dragons, the "only children she will ever have."
    • In the backstory, it is rumoured that Ashara Dayne threw herself from one of Starfall's towers into sea because her baby daughter was stillborn (although it's unknown if she was even pregnant in the first place).
    • Rhaella Targaryen (mother of Daenerys) suffered at least two stillbirths and a number of miscarriages for seventeen years after giving birth to a healthy child, Rhaegar (she also had a few babies who didn't live past infancy). Her husband (and brother) Aerys initially comforted her, but eventually, in his madness and paranoia, he accused her of being unfaithful and her pregnancies the product of affairs. He kept Rhaella confined in Maegor's Holdfast and forced her to sleep with two septas in her bed to ensure she remained faithful. When she finally did give birth to another healthy child, Viserys, Aerys took extreme measures to keep the young prince safe, not even allowing Rhaella to be alone with him.
    • In the backstory, Rhaenyra Targaryen's only daughter, Visenya, was stillborn and also had severe malformations. Rhaenyra blamed her daughter's loss on her stepmother and half-brother for usurping her throne, vowing never to forgive them. And so began the Dance of the Dragons.
    • Lysa Arryn experienced six miscarriages and two stillbirths (one fathered by Petyr Baelish and the others by Jon Arryn). It's suggested that her womb was weakened by the poison her father served her so she would miscarry her child with Baelish, whom he looked down on for being a lowborn. When she did give birth to a live child, Robert, he suffers from frequent seizures, further supporting this theory. This no doubt fed her resentment of her sister Catelyn Stark, who managed to give birth to five children, all healthy and sound.
  • At the beginning of the fifth book of the Sword of Truth series, a woman from the Mud People tribe gives birth to a dead baby, due to a trio of genocidal demonic spirits on the loose.
  • Mentioned several times in The Red Tent. In particular, it happens to Leah, who gives birth prematurely to what would have been Dinah's baby sister. The adult women (who are used to miscarriages and stillbirths) treat it as a normal part of life, but this is Dinah's first real experience with death. They do give the stillborn girl a real burial, however.
  • When Bella and Arrow have puppies in Survivor Dogs, one is born stillborn. Arrow "talks" to her in a sad hello/goodbye speech:
    But this Pack won't always be easy. There will be problems, and dangers, and some other dogs will distrust your litter-brothers, even though they've never hurt anyone, just because of who their Father-Dog is. And I'm... glad that you won't have to know what that's like. I wish you had stayed. I wish that you'll know how loved you were. Your Mother-Dog and I are sorry we'll never see you grow. We— we know you would have been a good dog.
  • The characters in Warrior Cats have a high chance of stillbirths compared to real cats. This may be Artistic License – Biology or it may be related to their inbreeding.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Charmed (2018): Macy Vaughn was stillborn and revived via dark magic shortly after her birth. The cost of the necromancy turned out to be just as tragic as the stillbirth itself. The cost of the magic meant that Macy was granted only five years with her mother, after which being together would cause one of them to die, which subsequently led to her parents' divorce and her mother's remarriage to the negligent Ray. The necromancer who resurrected her also had a previous deal with a demon to use its blood in her magic, causing everyone she resurrected to eventually become a demon themselves, and in Macy's case, being a demon born of humans made her eligible to become the Source of all Evil.
  • City on a Hill: Decourcy and Siobhan lose their baby when she's shot, miscarrying as a result, which devastates the two of them.
  • The Confessions of Frannie Langton: Marguerite has lost two children already in the past who were stillborn, which her husband faults her for saying she can't give him children. She gets pregnant a third time by her tryst with Ouladuh, though this baby is stillborn too. Marguerite kills herself afterward, and this is implied to be a factor in her choosing suicide.
  • Criminal Minds: This shows up a few times in unsubs' backstories. And one of the heroes'.
    • In one episode, the copycat Angel Maker turns out to be the girlfriend of the original who had smuggled his sperm out of prison to impregnate herself, secure in the knowledge that, even though he was on Death Row, she would be bringing a part of him back into the world. When her baby was stillborn, she felt she'd lost her connection to him. The only way she could continue feeling close to him was to finish his work and keep his legacy alive (and steal his body).
    • Another episode had a woman married to an abusive man. After he got bored with abusing her and she had a stillborn son, they worked out an arrangement where he was allowed to abduct, imprison, rape, impregnate, and murder as many girls as he liked, and she got to care for the children as she saw fit. Daughters were put up for adoption unharmed, while she kept the boys and named them both Michael to replace the son she'd lost. One of the victims also gave birth to a stillborn son while in captivity.
    • After Rossi's first wife Caroline dies, it's revealed that they'd had a son whose date of birth is the same as his date of death, so he was either stillborn or died shortly after birth. They're clearly still devastated over it years later, and Caroline's last words are asking Rossi whether their son will be there when she dies; Rossi assures her he will.
  • Dickinson: Sue is pregnant during her and Austin's wedding, but loses the baby sometime between seasons 1 and 2. It weighs deeply on her over the course of the season, and it's only when she confesses to her old friend Mary that she is able to truly feel the pain. Mary, who suffered a miscarriage recently herself, commiserates with her.
  • ER's John Carter and his girlfriend Kem lost their baby boy at roughly 7-8 months after he brought her to the doctor for a checkup after she suddenly noticed that she hadn't felt the baby move for a while. After delivery, it was found that a knot had been tied in the umbilical cord, cutting off the baby's oxygen and blood supply.
  • Fear the Walking Dead: It turns out to be the devastating result of Grace's pregnancy in season 6. The radiation in her body causes her child to be stillborn and the explosion that knocked her unconscious beforehand didn't help matters either.
  • Game of Thrones universe:
    • Game of Thrones: As in the books, near the end of Season 1, Daenerys Targaryen's son Rhaego is stillborn as a result of the Blood Magic ritual Mirri Maz Duur carried out to save his father's life. According to Mirri, Rhaego came out looking like a monster, with scales and wings, and when she touched him his skin fell away from his bones (likely a result of the spell). Rhaego's death reportedly paid for Drogo's life...only for Daenerys to learn that although alive, her husband has been left in a vegetative state. Worse still, Daenerys is left incapable of having any more children (at least according to Mirri). She gets revenge on her by burning her on Drogo's funeral pyre and using her death to magically hatch her dragons, whom she views as her children. Although Daenerys rarely mentions Rhaego after this, she is clearly still affected by his death. In Season 2, she is nearly tempted to stay in the House of the Undying after encountering a vision of Drogo and Rhaego still alive. She is also very protective of her dragons as they are "the only children [she] will ever have."
    • House of the Dragon: The first season finale sees Rhaenyra give birth to a stillborn baby. However, while the combination of being notified of her father’s death and Aegon usurping the throne does send her into premature labour, her bloody amniotic fluid (it's supposed to be clear/yellowish) and the morbid state of the baby indicate it was already dead by that point. Daemon arrives to see her rocking the dead fetus.
  • The Good Doctor: In Season 4, Lea and Shaun lose their unborn daughter due to medical complications.
  • If a Soap Opera doesn't make a woman have a Convenient Miscarriage, odds are highly likely they will invoke this—The Young and the Restless' Ashley, The Bold and the Beautiful's Amber (twice) and Morgan, As the World Turns' Carly, Days of Our Lives' Billie, One Life to Live's Cassie, Blair, and Jessica (twice) all lost their babies at near-term— Jessica was hit by a car as she was going into labor. Adding insult to injury, several of these women were Happily Married and wanted the child in question, so this wasn't some roundabout way to avoid the controversy of her having an abortion or get rid of a child that resulted from adultery.
  • Grey's Anatomy sees Jackson and April lose their unborn son due to the latter having osteogenesis imperfecta.
  • Irma Vep: Eamonn goes to Mira for comfort, telling her Lianna was pregnant and miscarried. Mira is very sympathetic, telling him she once suffered a miscarriage even earlier than Lianna's. What makes it worse too is neither of them can stop working even for a little while, since they're both in full-time contracts signed before she got pregnant. Later she reunites with him and they decide to try again.
  • L.A.'s Finest: Sydney was kidnapped by drug dealers she'd been investigating with the DEA. They tortured her, resulting in her having a miscarriage (she wasn't even aware of being pregnant yet, since it was early on). She nurses a desire for revenge on them for this and is distraught when telling her ex-boyfriend Warren, the father, about what happened.
  • The L Word:
    • Bette and Tina lose their first baby to miscarriage, devastating them both.
    • Shane agrees to co-parent her ex-wife Quiara's baby, but Quiara soon miscarries. In fact, Shane's more upset than Quiara is, as Quiara just says she'll try again.
  • Never Have I Ever: Nalini apparently lost a baby, as a flashback has her in tears on the bed with Mohan assuring her their life is great with just one child. Possibly this happened more than once since they only ever had Devi.
  • October Faction: Deloris was injured and miscarried while pregnant, which devastated her. It turns out that she couldn't conceive after that, and her later twins were born via surrogate (or so it's said-they actually stole them from Alice).
  • Promised Land (1996): Claire contracts an infection late in her pregnancy, causing her to go into premature labor. Sadly, their daughter doesn't survive.
  • Ruyi's Royal Love in the Palace:
    • Ruiji's and Qiying's babies. Ruiji's baby survived for a few minutes after birth but had severe physical deformities that killed him, while Qiying's baby died before birth.
    • Ruyi's second son dies shortly after birth. The midwife caused his death by attempting to delay his birth.
  • In The Secret Life of the American Teenager, Ben and Adrian's daughter is stillborn. They posthumously name her Mercy.
  • Sex/Life: Billie got pregnant by Brad in the past, and they planned on having the baby together. However, then she miscarried, to her dismay, and they quickly broke up as Brad treated her badly afterward.
  • This Is Us: One of the triplets Jack and Rebecca were expecting ends up stillborn. It doubles as a Plot-Triggering Death since it paves the way for them to adopt Randall.
  • Tidelands (Netflix): Rosa believes Cal caused her miscarriage, part of why she loathes her.
  • Yellowjackets: After experiencing an excruciatingly painful labor, Shauna finally gives birth in the past in the episode "Qui". Unfortunately, the baby is stillborn due to labor complications and malnutrition, and Taissa has to be the one to deliver the bad news. Shauna doesn't take it well.

  • According to Shia Muslims, The Prophet Muhammad's only daughter, Fatimah, was supposed to have a third child in addition to the two who grew up to adulthood, Hasan and Husayn. After Muhammad's death, there was a dispute regarding who should succeed him as caliph, pitting Abu Bakr, the prophet's closest friend, against Ali, the prophet's son-in-law through his marriage to Fatimah. Both Sunnis and Shiites agree that Abu Bakr sent his loyalists to attack Ali's house. However, whereas Sunnis maintain that the altercation was stopped without bloodshed, Shiites believe that the loyalists physically injured Fatimah, who was pregnant with her third child at the time. The child, a boy named Muhsin, was born dead, and considering Fatimah died just seven months after the attack, Shiites believe that she never recovered from her injuries. Thus they regard the mother and stillborn son as martyrs in the face of Abu Bakr, whom they regard as an usurper.

  • In Anne of the Thousand Days, when Anne's son by Henry is born dead, he believes that their marriage is cursed since its purpose was to produce a male heir. Not long after this, Henry decides to have Anne executed.
  • In the first Mrs. Hawking play, we learn that the title character was miserably pregnant with her husband’s child, but refused to stop her investigations until she was "too damn fat" to continue. It's ambiguous, but this may have been why the baby was stillborn, and since she never wanted the baby in the first place she had very complicated feelings about the whole thing.

    Video Games 
  • In Beyond: Two Souls, Aiden is revealed to be the ghost of Jodie's stillborn twin brother, who had accidentally strangled himself with his own umbilical cord in their mom's womb. Needless to say, Jodie has never been told she (almost) had a twin.
  • In Bloodborne, Mergo is a stillborn Great One who belongs to Yharnam the Pthumerian Queen and is the source of the nightmare. In order to halt the source of the nightmare, you have to slay her, as held by her Wet Nurse.
  • Defied in Crusader Kings 2. The character's fertility is drastically reduced to compensate for the Middle Ages rate of miscarriages and stillbirths since the creators thought that dozens of dead babies would be too depressing for players.
  • In Fire Emblem: Three Houses it's heavily implied that Byleth, the protagonist, was actually stillborn, but their mother Sitri asked Rhea to remove her crest stone and give it to the baby, costing Sitri her life. The exact sequence of events is a bit murky.
  • In Mass Effect, the krogans have been afflicted with a disease called the Genophage, which causes 99.99% of their young to be stillborn in order to keep their population growth at pre-industrial revolution levels, with devastating consequences for species-wide morale. The decision to cure the Genophage is a plotline that spans the three games of the original trilogy.
  • Paranoiac: It's revealed that Miki Takamura's aunt Saeki had a stillborn baby, which was the catalyst for her mental breakdown and many of the subsequent events of the game.
  • Yes, Your Grace: There are several possible outcomes to the Player Character's attempt at producing a male heir. One of them is the baby being stillborn.
  • Completing your first run in Hades reveals that what drove Zagreus's mother Persephone to leave the Underworld was Zagreus's stillbirth. Nyx managed to revive him in defiance of the Fates some time after, but Persephone was already long gone by then and Hades considers Zagreus' existence far too taboo to reveal to anyone outside the Underworld.

    Visual Novels 
  • In Air, Minagi's little sister Michiru was stillborn, and her mother took it so badly that she erased Minagi from her memory and started calling her by her unborn sister's name.
  • This appears to be the case with the Urashima Woman in Spirit Hunter: NG, whose child apparently died in stillbirth according to a certificate made by the midwife. In reality, the midwife lied, and proving the child is alive is what's required to pacify the Urashima Woman (insisting that he was stillborn will instead destroy her, and lead to the gruesome death of Akira's companion).
  • In Umineko: When They Cry, Kyrie's son was stillborn and she coincidentally delivered the same day at the same hospital where her lover Rudolf's legal wife was giving birth to their son Battler, causing Kyrie to secretly resent Battler for years for having the position her own son might have had had he lived. In reality, Kyrie is actually Battler's biological mother. It was Rudolf's legitimate son who was stillborn, so he decided to swap the babies.

  • Hyena people in Digger, like hyenas in real life, usually lose their firstborn due to their unusual genitals and have built mythologies and social coping mechanisms around this fact. However, Ed, the primary hyena in the story, was one of the few to survive and was thus considered very special by his people. His wife convinced herself that her own firstborn would also survive, and when this did not happen, went mad with grief, and was eventually driven to spousal abuse and accidental infanticide.
  • In Drowtales, Shinae's child was stillborn. Worse, due to the effects of her demonic taint, it was born covered in spikes and the father was so horrified he ordered it burned.
  • Sarine's is strongly hinted at in the very prologue of Errant Story, and confirmed in a horrifying Flashback Nightmare (and eventually, also when she confides in Jon). The loss of her daughter, in fact, becomes one of the comic's main plot drivers, for reasons made clear in her Gethsemane scene with the sleeping Meji.
  • Unsounded: Dawn is haunted by the memory of her stillborn son, and when the smoke eels want to force her to suffer memories of her worst day they form a mnemonic phantom of him to torment her.