Through the end of 2017, Worldbuilding Wednesday themes are going to coincide with the chapters for my forthcoming workbook, The A-Zs of Worldbuilding (based off a blog series I posted back in 2014). So, if you’d like an idea of what’s coming ahead, just go peek at that. 😉
Using the theme is not required for participation, but is just a jumping point if you don’t know what to start with.
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The birth of a child can influence a story and characters in many ways. In places with less medical knowledge, it will be both more mysterious and more dangerous. In a society with more advanced medical care, it will mostly be a safe life event, though complications are always possible.
There are a few ways that birth can be dealt with in a story – it is either a celebration, a time for mourning, or an everyday occurrence. In the case of the first two, the reasons could be anything from the birth of an heir (expected or unexpectedly), or because of fertility issues, or even affected by a famine (too many mouths to feed).
Even if your characters are not humanoid or mammalian, an anatomy book will be a handy reference guide for helping you define any possible risks and the way to define them to your readers.
Gestation can be anything from incubating eggs in a nest to carrying an embryo in a womb, it all depends on the life forms you’ve developed for your characters. It can also be tweaked – think of marsupials (kangaroos) and monotremes (duck-billed platypus).
If your life forms do not give birth to live young, but rather incubate them, some of the risk factors will have different timing. For any egg-laying species, there will be fewer complications, and most of them will be as the egg is being laid.
Essentially, the longer a new life is inside its mother, the higher the risk of complications for both of them.
This is where things can go terribly wrong for humanoid/mammal characters. It’s basically the separation of two biologically entwined creatures, and if anything is out of whack that can cause problems.
Consideration needs to be given to the act of birth, as well, and its cultural implications. It may be something considered to be only women’s business, or it may be a purely medical event attended only be certified personnel.
Having a new life to care for, as well as taking into account the physical trauma of giving birth, makes life difficult for a bit. There may need to be time for the mother and child to bond, as well as a chance to rest.
There may be cultural duties to account for as well – any religious rites that must be performed as soon as possible (baptism, for example), naming the child, presenting them to the family or community.
- What is the cultural view of pregnancy and childbirth? Is it something to be celebrated, or something to be hidden away?
- How are people prepared for becoming parents? Any childbirth classes, or is everything taught through mentor-relationships, such as from mother to daughter?
- What is the absolute worst that can go wrong for a birth?
Can’t wait to see your response posts – don’t forget to submit them in the link list below! Please review the rules and guidelines for Worldbuilding Wednesday before participating. Thank you!
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