Prior to the various waves of feminism, popular culture often equates femininity with maternity, as though the reproductive capacity possessed by female subjects, were a clear, univocal path towards self-fulfillment; such thought supposes that the nature of the feminine culminates in motherhood. One speaks of maternal instinct, the mother archetype, of Mother Nature, with the primary function of veiling our eyes from the calamitous possibilities of the reclamation of the newborn in perverse or infanticidal versions. Psychoanalysis has broken with this ideal and demonstrated that wherever language reigns, natural instinct alone doesn’t suffice to sustain the function of the mother in interpersonal relations.
For women relatively unbound to the symbolic register and cultural imaginary of their epoch, as for those whose feminine heritage is little more than an empty insignia, bequeathed rootless symbols or images, the symbolic death and rebirth that maternity entails can lead to an unbearable narcisstic burden. In such cases, the sudden appearance of serious destabilizations during pregnancy and or after birth is not uncommon. Faced with the enigmas of a child, the mother regresses to an archaic pre-oedipal moment of ravage, encountering a relation of mother and daughter who do not meet as two. This regression to a time of suspension and dependence, where listless silence predominates, leaves the newborn mother in need of creative invention. It remains, as always, to see whether any given woman succeeds on this path of regression bringing her in close proximity with the preverbal.
|Title of host publication||Rethinking the Relation between Women and Psychoanalysis.|
|Subtitle of host publication||Loss, Mourning, and the Feminine|
|Place of Publication||Maryland|
|Number of pages||13|
|Publication status||Published - 2019|