Thinking about childbirth from an emancipatory perspective? Phenomenology and psychoanalysis

By Clarisse Picard

Feminist thoughts theory, despite the importance of their works, have yet to overcome the phenomenon of the subordination of women, in the tasks of caring for and raising children, and in society. At the same time, we are witnessing a gradual but continuous process of rupture between the body and the subjectivity of women, and the conception, pregnancy, and birth of children, due to developments in reproductive techniques. Considering this paradoxical tension, the author proposes to return to the very place where this subordination is exercised at the same time as this announced rupture to consider whether women mothers could not find there means of reclaiming their childbirths and potential levers of emancipation and rebirth, both on a personal and societal level. To this end, she describes, from the point of view of a singular woman, and from an emancipatory perspective, the phenomenological and psychoanalytical itinerary of childbirth by which this woman becoming a mother “is born to herself” by giving birth to her child. By co-constituting the universal meaning of childbirth and her becoming a philosopher mother, this singular woman operates a real paradigm shift in our representations of the mother and the metaphysical structure of the sexes.

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