Things I Probably Won’t Write: Pregnancy

I never say never, because given how my character casts have grown and the way that I’m writing more about adults now, it seems unlikely that I will never write a pregnant character or a character who has an infant. However, it is unlikely that I will write from the perspective of that character with the child. I’m much more likely to write from an external perspective of children.

It’s not so much that I can’t. I’ve written from a variety of perspectives, some that I would never like to visit again – the hazards of writing horror sometimes. It’s more that I don’t want to. I’m used to pregnancy being some tropes in literature that I have trouble getting behind.

For instance, as the Punishment. Seems strange that something that is pushed on a lot of young women as so awesome and filled with love can be turned around — often by the same types of people — and used as punishment in a different context. A woman has sex outside of marriage? Sure, she may have fun for a while, and it’s all fun and games until a fetal parasite attaches itself to your uterus and doesn’t let go, and don’t you even think about getting rid of it. You’re stuck with it now for the rest of your life, as punishment for your crimes against morality. But isn’t it wonderful? STDs are also on the list of Punishments for extramarital sex, but it’s strange to me that infants are put in the same list of Punishments as a virus. Out of all the consequences to sex — and I use consequences in a neutral way rather than the negative way people tend to use it — pregnancy and STDs seem to be the ones people expect with a certain amount of schadenfreude. It leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

And then there’s pregnancy as a way of binding one character to another, forcing them into matrimony and building a relationship. This is a trope used often in historical romances, but also in modern ones, and even more than being an unhealthy way to develop a relationship, it’s lazy. Shotgun syndrome may have been common for a good portion of history, but can you really not think of any other way to bring your characters together? Then maybe they don’t belong together in the first place. Why don’t you just lock them in a closet naked and have done with it? Spawning is not the magical panacea for romantic relationships. Just because the baby has his eyes and your nose doesn’t mean that just because you have a baby in common that you’ll suddenly work out. In fact, studies have shown that babies strain relationships. With all the attention devoted to the little one, there’s less attention to be given to your partner. So … not only is it lazy, it’s unrealistic. (Note: This is not a call for people to stop having babies. But it’s not sunshine and rainbows – any new parent will tell you that.)

And aside from my negative feelings about common pregnancy tropes in fiction, I’m not someone who personally enjoys being around children — not even when I was one myself. I mostly avoid getting too close to babies (holding them is right out because I’m afraid I’ll drop them), and I don’t plan to have children of my own (thanks in part to too many bad pregnancies in the horror genre), so I’m just … well, I’m not interested in writing about pregnancy, childbirth, and raising a baby.

Offspring start to become more comprehensible to me in their teens.

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