The TV Tropes link: here. Not sorry.
What Is Baby Ever After?
Baby Ever After is that thing that happens when you have a perfectly good book (or series), and lots of amazing things happen in it. There is a wonderful couple who loves each other lots. And then, it happens. The end comes, and suddenly there is a baby. You know how it happened, they had sex and a baby came. But you don’t know how anyone could betray you this way.
How Baby Ever After Appears:
Simple, a baby exists! But how does the baby exist?
Three Major Presentations
Cephalic Presentation: One of the characters finds out they are pregnant in the epilogue itself
Breech Presentation: One of the characters is pregnant in the last book, and you see the baby or the kid in the epilogue.
Shoulder Presentation: One of the characters finds out they are pregnant earlier in the series, but they have to give it up “for safekeeping” and only gets it back in the end for you to oo over
Yet Five Different Ways To Carry it Out (and I don’t just mean sex positions)
The Pull Out Method: This was supposed to be a impossible!
Which happens when one or both parties believe they cannot have children, and then somehow they magically do (sometimes literally magically, I mostly read fantasy). Somehow, very common with vampire stories.
The Missionary Position: I really want a family!
Which occurs when someone really wants to have a family, but circumstances are too dire to think about it for now. And then everything is all okay and suddenly they’re able to have children again. Because mistakes never happen in fiction!
The Facial: In no way could we have seen this coming!
Except when mistakes do happen, mostly because they never think about the consequences of their actions. Sex makes babies, people! Yet somehow, this only applies at the end of the series.
Abstinence: I never get to see the child so it might as well not exist
Common in romance, where one couple gets pregnant, and then the next book is a new couple. And you never get to see the new happy family. It might as well never have existed in the first place.
Edging: The all series tease
This baby has been prophesied for ages now. Or it has already taken hold. And then you wait for it to come. And you wait for it to come. AND THEN FINALLY IT COMES AND YOU’RE SO EXCITED! Only it’s in the epilogue, and all your hopes and dreams are dashed.
Why I hate it:
Baby Ever After is like if you gave me a delicious ice cream cone so you could watch me eat it, you allow me take a single lick of this delicious gorgeous thing, and then take it away from me because you’re done watching me already.
Fantasy is filled with action and danger. The characters, when they are important to the story are trying to figure out their lives and what they are doing. They want to go on an adventure, or they want to survive. Even in slice of life fantasy, when the story isn’t all dire consequences and villains trying to cause harm, it is about figuring things out.
So why are there never children in the stories? Why is life not about life itself? Why is fantasy so gung ho about protecting life, yet never about showing you this aspect of life?
Don’t get me wrong, I I’m not even advocating for every series to have a baby in it – that would be annoying. Just sometimes, I really want that baby to exist in the story. Especially in the series where the characters really, really want a family. But also out of spite in the series where the characters are so NOT careful about having sex.
Because nothing says “look, I gave you what you want!” by having that want take up five seconds of page time.
An Appreciation for the series that DON’T DO THIS TO ME:
Thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you!