1. BFGuru
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    BFGuru Active Member

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    How would this relationhip pan out in reality?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by BFGuru, Jun 28, 2012.

    Infertal woman gets close to a woman and kidnaps their baby. Premise of the tale.

    However, I need to figure out what the relationship between pseudo mom and kid will be as she will raise the child, far far away.

    I'm leaning toward overprotective of getting to know others (think the movie Tangled), but also some animosity towards the kid for not really being her biological child. Not sure how to develop that interaction yet or how the child will react towards these two emotions coming from psuedo mom.

    I'm fleshing out the dynamics of the day to day life of such a situation. It's set in the middle ages so birth certificates and such for school registration won't be an issue to discover the secret.

    Pseudo mom does deal with guilt over the kidnapping, but in her messed up mind she also feels it was her godly duty. I feel like I will find her lighting many candles at the cathedral or constantly at confession speaking cryptically. But if the child is raised in this situation, I don't know if she would recognize the obsession with t he church and alms. I guess I'm trying to work mental illness into this situation (because who in their right mind would kidnap a baby), without being over the top. Pseudo mom has a sort of major depressive disorder due to long term infertility and feeling like her pagan gods were against her, and yet, she still doesn't have a baby of her own. But feels that since her conversion to christianity this baby was god's gift to her. It's a confusing state of mind, I'm trying to delve through and figure out how it affects her interactions with her "adopted" daughter.
     
  2. chicagoliz
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    Impossible to say. The fact that your story takes place in the middle ages would affect the relationship significantly. Infertility was not understood then like it was today. The actual reproductive process was not even entirely understood. Perhaps more significantly, though children were not treated or valued in the same way that they are today. The family as a child-centered and child-focused unit is a relatively recent development, and something that changed significantly during the 20th Century.

    You also don't mention a significant factor -- the man who would be the alleged father of the child. A single woman with a child would have other difficulties, as well. A woman who was experiencing "long term infertility" would have to be someone who was in a married-type relationship for many years.

    I'm no expert on the middle ages, but if you're doing this sort of historical fiction piece, you need to research what it was like for women and children during that time to get the necessary feel.

    In addition, mental illness is not something that was even remotely understood during that time -- other people wouldn't be thinking or commenting that the woman would need mental health treatment. Only that if she does something truly bizarre, she may be possessed or something.
     
  3. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    I recall reading something like this in a horror book called See No Evil by Patricia Wallace - the bulk of the story was about eye transplants - but one of the characters a little boy had been snatched as a baby by what he thinks is his 'mom' - in the book they live in a trailer , she can barely make ends meet cause she never stays in one spot long enough to keep a job. She's paranoid she'll be caught and is pretty suspicious of anyone taking an interest in the boy but she treats him rather like a big sister. She never enrolls him in school so his edjucation is nil. And there was a distance between them because though, she loved him, at the same time felt he was responsible for all the upheaval in her life ( not like she'd blame herself! )
    I don't know if mental illness was the factor for her decision - it was more a spontaneous thing , the baby was there , she took it and couldn't undo her rash mistake.
    Placing your story in the middle ages might cause some general aloofness even before delving into their odd relationship. How affectionate were people in the middle ages with their children? - it wasn't until the Victorian age that children were turned into angelic cherubs and even then there was child labor going on.
     
  4. BFGuru
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    Chicago, I get what you are saying about the mental health treatment, and honestly, I only mention it to help me develop realistic behaviors. I do agree with the assumption of posession though and am considering that as an effect. She is married, originally. When she bolts her husband is left to deal with the aftermath, but that's a little easier for me to figure out than what she is doing with this kid in the meantime. LOL. A lot of people are affected by her actions, she just doesn't realize it b/c she is gone. She does not contact them. I'm working off of the idea that she is an assumed widow. She needs employment, and will probably lean back on her husbands occupation to survive, but he is not with her during her time of self imposed exile.
     
  5. Boomstick10995
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    It still sounds a little modern day to me. How does the kingdom and era that she's in view children and, more importantly, kidnapping children? It might be something looked down upon, leaning towards exile. If so, she would have to completely disappear from the kingdom she's in and pretty much exile herself once she steals the kid. So, that could be something interesting to tell. Or, if children aren't even valued that highly in that time, yet the mother really wants the child returned to her, it might be interesting to write about the mother trying to convince the royal kingdom (whatever it might be) to put out a search for her child. I'm no expert on the Middle Ages either but, I think your idea is definitely possible. You'll just need to research the era of the middle ages your story will be set in in order to reach that realism I think you're trying to go for.
     
  6. BFGuru
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    BFGuru Active Member

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    I've got all that figured out. She is not even staying in the country. Hence the reason she's able to raise the kid. I don't want to give away too many details to the plot though. It does work with the medieval time frame though the way I have it formulated. It's a transitional period between paganism and Christianity, however she will flee to a post transitioned country that is pretty established with the christian faith.

    The character fleshing I'm working through though has to do with how the relationship between the woman and this child as she is raised. I haven't quite figured out the quirks the kid may have or even whether she has a strong or meek personality, but I think that will come once I figure out how the woman will raise her.
     
  7. BFGuru
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    I've got all that figured out. She is not even staying in the country. Hence the reason she's able to raise the kid. I don't want to give away too many details to the plot though. It does work with the medieval time frame though the way I have it formulated. It's a transitional period between paganism and Christianity, however she will flee to a post transitioned country that is pretty established with the christian faith.

    The character fleshing I'm working through though has to do with how the relationship between the woman and this child as she is raised. I haven't quite figured out the quirks the kid may have or even whether she has a strong or meek personality, but I think that will come once I figure out how the woman will raise her.
     
  8. Public
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    First off I just wanted to say I really like your idea of kidnapping a baby from someone you got close with. Perhaps you could set out for interactions between your kidnapped character with his/her actual mother/family when the character grows older.

    As for the relationship between them, if you do choose to make the mother hostile to the child, than clearly the relationship wouldn't pan out very well. Not sure how it might of happened in the middle ages but in modern society, that child is the root of psychopaths.

    Personally I would later make the child reunite with the real family and give some insight to just how the child would have been raised differently if he/she didn't get kidnapped as a baby. What the character ends of becoming would make for an interesting concept for nature vs nurture. Would he/she be the same person they family hoped to have when they gave he/she birth. Or would he/she show signs of psycopathic behaviour due to the way he/she was raised. I'd love to read a story following this concept.
     
  9. BFGuru
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    She will be reunited, but how she reacts to that is determined by her personality, which is dependent upon how her "adoptive" mother treats her growing up.

    Allow me to just talk through some of her development. It may help me.
    Woman married for years but barren. Named after the creator goddess of her region for no other reason than her mother named all her siblings after local deities to pay them homage. Very devout to her pagan faith. Spends years and lunar cycles performing rituals to aid in her infertility to no avail. She loves her sister, but struggles with wondering why the gods have blessed her with four children and her with none. She treats her nieces and nephews as a second mother. Christianity moves in and she figures maybe this god will answer her cries for children. The baby enters the scene and she becomes close to the family. It is on learning she won't be able to be in contact with the baby that she freaks and bolts. (I'm leaning towards family starting to feel creeped out by things, or maybe simply the time for her to be in their lives is over). She struggles internally between "did I do the right thing" and "this child is my gift from god". It is the fear of being discovered that is what I feel is problematic in her relationship with this child as she grows to young adult hood. I'm not sure how to describe it. She loves the kid. However, she probably knows there's stiff penalties for what she did, so she doesn't want discovered.

    I have figured out the reunification of the family, but the rest of the story (as I have multiple ways this can go) is dependent upon what she grows up to be personality wise, and that is dependent upon the relationship of this "adoptive" mother with her.
     

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