In my world, a race of humans just recently became immortal. However, they face the dilemma that if they choose to have children the immortality will be passed to the unborn child and the mother will die during conception.

At this point the womb is pretty much like an egg as the baby grows until birth. Then after birth the baby is alone. Initially the mothers were buried when they died since they just recently became immortal.

My question is how would the psychological nature of the offspring be once they are unearthed or unearth themselves? Would they be cold and aggressive like reptiles? Or paranoid and timid? Would they long for affection or be emotionless? Or something else all together?

Also, if they were born from this "egg" and cared for upon birth would they still have any psychological problems?

Good answers involve post-birth effects and Great answers involve pre-birth effects.


closed as off-topic by TrEs-2b, Aify, John Dallman, Frostfyre, Hohmannfan Aug 19 '16 at 18:09

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "This question does not appear to be about worldbuilding, within the scope defined in the help center." – TrEs-2b, Aify, John Dallman, Frostfyre, Hohmannfan
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    $\begingroup$ There are a lot of issues with your second sentence, mostly involving the word "impossible." How is this scenario different from one where the child's mother dies during birth (which IS something that happens in real life)? $\endgroup$ – Marky Aug 19 '16 at 17:04
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    $\begingroup$ You need some more information. How dose society view beath by childbirth? Did the farther remary? If so how young? Dose the child have a teacher who serves as a mother substitute? Dose he know how his mother died? Dose he blame himself? $\endgroup$ – Bryan McClure Aug 19 '16 at 17:07
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    $\begingroup$ Everyone is different. One might be indifferent of people they never met, while someone else may accuse themselves of killing their mothers. It really depends if the person is rational or incredibly emotional.... Sometimes it also depends on the environment. $\endgroup$ – Charon Aug 19 '16 at 17:07
  • $\begingroup$ @Aify little harsh, I agree but still $\endgroup$ – TrEs-2b Aug 19 '16 at 17:19
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    $\begingroup$ @user38826 THAT could be a more interesting question; I would edit this question and expand on it, or take it down and work on it a bit before posting, but it doesn't solve the problem of how is this world building? think of your scenario- is everyone 'born' like this or what? $\endgroup$ – Marky Aug 19 '16 at 17:23

Firstly, unless you plan on creating a zombie feotus, it isn't going to survive. It'll die with the mother... but then a zombie baby might go some way to explain why you think the infant would be "antisocial" and "aggressive".

Our understanding of normal human psychological development originates in the cruel experiments conducted on Rhesus monkeys by psychologist Harry Harlow in the 1960s. I strongly advise you read about these studies. The gist however is that monkeys whose mother was replaced with a metal food dispenser, whom were socially isolated for months or years at a time before first contacting other monkeys, came out severely disturbed, and some of the poor monkeys were so stressed at first contact that they died of shock.

By the late 1960s John Bowlby's research into childhood development led to the idea of Attachment Theory (for example, see article), which has since been vindicated as the best psychological theory relating to childhood psychological development. His research concluded that a child needs a close physical and emotional bond with at least one primary care giver. It doesn't much matter if that care giver is a mother, or father, or anyone else. The ideal psychological development comes about from the primary care giver showing attentive love, and close and frequent physical contact.

It has been established that hugs release hormones which induce positive emotions, and so if you want your baby to turn out as a well adjusted individual the best chances of that are from cuddling it as much as possible when young and responding quickly to its needs. Children learn by example, and if a child is loved it too will show love. It's possible for individuals to develop coping mechanisms without a primary care giver, of course, but generally being deprived of attachment has extremely negative consequences. For example, many of the children who spent their young years in orphanages in the former Soviet bloc suffered trauma and learning difficulties as teenagers and adults, even when adopted later by loving and wealthy American families.

In conclusion: a good and loving parent who is a child's primary care giver will ensure their normal psychological development, see attachment theory. Whether that care giver is a mother or father is irrelevant, what matters is the quality of the attachment and the environment they grow up in.

There is some evidence to suggest that children without a father tend to be more maladjusted than children without a mother. But I don't know enough to judge how fair that analysis is, just that it has been proposed. So your intuition may very well be completely wrong.

  • $\begingroup$ Good stuff on attachment theory. There are alot of resources out there on this. Thank you for this information. $\endgroup$ – Acumen Simulator Aug 19 '16 at 20:07

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