A child that I want
desire for a child is universal.
being a personal adventure, the desire for a child has its roots in
our mammal nature. The species needs to reproduce itself.
In the animal kingdom, reproduction is strictly managed by instinct.
Even if they are very complicated, the rituals which guide the choice
of a partner, coupling and the protection of young, leave no room for
personal fantasy. They are identical for all individuals of the same
species. Coupling is entirely subject to reproduction and is determined
by periods of female fertility.
For the human being, sexuality is only linked to reproduction
in young children's dreams. Once they begin to understand something
about the mystery of their birth, they imagine that their parents made
love one time per brother and sister and I would say that the people
who have refused access to contraception and abortion have remained
at this stage because they are unable to separate conjugal duty and
the need to have children.
We have known since Freud that sexuality is the motor of psychological
construction of a human being. For a very young child, it is initially
an attachment to the first object of his or her love: his or her parents.
The mother is the first object of love; the father
is seen as a third-party in the mother-child bubble. The quality
of this first relationship is going to determine the child's future
capacity to love by allowing the development of primary narcissism.
Then comes the awareness that the child must assume that one is a
boy or a girl, by identifying with the parent of the same sex and
testing his or her seduction on the parent of the opposite sex.
Then during the course of discovery of a world outside the family
circle, the child will diversify these objects of love, discover similar
and different Others.
In adolescence, with puberty, comes the discovery of genital sexuality
which specifies toward which object the desire is directed and gives
meaning to the meeting with the Other.
And only then, when the woman has come to the end of her sexual and
emotional evolution emerges her true desire for a child,
when she has met - or thinks she has met - the partner that suits her.
Françoise DOLTO thinks that experience of motherhood is
the last mutation in the life of a woman, after puberty, then
the first sexual experience, the first orgasm. Next, at menopause, will
come the necessary renouncements to fertility and youth. She also says
that motherhood is a need in a woman's body. The impossibility
of filling this need brings the feeling of being mutilated. When a fundamental
need is resisted, a feeling of emptiness appears which invades every
conscious domain. All available energy is then focused on the unique
goal of stopping the painful tension caused by the emptiness.
This is what we hear during interviews with women who are confronted
with problems of sterility. The need is so strong and the suffering
so intolerable that the desire for a child transforms itself into a
quest for a child at any price. They multiply the treatments, the attempts
at insemination, sometimes compulsively, at the price of considerable
constraints and suffering.
To become humanized, the need must become desire. A long
development is necessary for the desire of a child in one's arms, the
desire for a child to raise and watch grow up, breaking free of the
need for of a child in her stomach, making possible the option of adoption.
Certain women don't achieve this and feel mutilated, others don't dare
because they begin to doubt their capacity to give love and still others
don't feel sufficiently supported by their partner.
are also concerned.
women don't have the same view concerning the desire for a child, but
men are also concerned by becoming a parent.
Naouri places the desire for a child, the desire to create
one's own family, to have one's own lineage as the ultimate step
toward independence from one's own parents. Becoming a parent
will be the sign or the means of renouncing childhood.
But for them, becoming a parent is always adoptive. They
must recognize the child that will be put in their arms at the
moment of birth as their own, as witness to the trust that they have
in their cherished wife.
This step is essential for the child to be able to serenely find his
place in his genealogy, for him to build an identity based on
is the age of all dangers, including and mostly in the domain
of affectivity and therefore sexuality. It is the age
of contradictions and doing, it is the age where dialogue
with adults, especially with parents, becomes difficult. Therefore,
the information, even if it is given correctly (which is not always
the case) is not enough.
We often see adolescents "become pregnant" with a pack of
birth control pills in their pocket because they believe "that
won't happen to me" or "I'll take it next month".
It is the age of the first sensual discoveries, training in seduction.
In our society where sex is seen everywhere, adolescents are impatient
to explore this new path that their genital impulse opens, a
sexual awakening. It is tempting to play the adult, by breaking
boundaries, by allowing oneself to act like a parent.
It's the age where one acts before thinking, so they don't think
about the consequences.
For little loved adolescents, it is also a flight towards repetitive
affairs to assure themselves of their capacity to be loved.
Sometimes, it can be a form of violence without being a typical rape
because the girl agreed, but which becomes this afterwards when she
has the feeling of having given in to blackmail.
do they still want a child?
because there is no age limit for building a stable emotional
relationship and a desire for a shared child, it's cultural!
Maybe yes because the dream of beautiful baby to play mother
to when she was herself little loved is a big temptation.
It's a serious problem because it is often the first time that these
girls feel a deep attachment, an authentic bond which could help them
to rebuild themselves. Society needs to give them the means to humanely
face up to this pregnancy, which is not actually the case.
But the most often, the question of desire for a child isn't even
The first sexual relation, which is very important because it will make
her a woman, is a meeting with oneself and with another without
a third person being desired. I would like to cite Françoise
DOLTO here who wrote in 1986 in Feminine Sexuality (Sexualité
Féminine): "Contraception should be an exceptional means
by which a young woman starts her relational life but who is not yet
mature enough to be a mother." It cannot be said that she was indulgent
of feminist ideas, her attachment to Catholic values is well-known,
but she had a great respect for all people.
approaches, once the children are raised and are independent, there
is a strong temptation to please oneself and to become maternal once
again, to prove to oneself that one can give life again.
Certain contraception failures can be interpreted in this way, as if
the very deeply buried desire was creating a way despite all the logical
reasons that one has not to have another child.
For certain women, the mourning of youth is already clearly started
and the scales tip in favor of a pregnancy termination.
For other women, this will be the birth of a "late" child,
the last chance child who will have the responsibility to take care
of his parents in old age.
We even see doubtful practices emerging like insemination after menopause,
as if science is supposed to find solutions for all whims, for fantasies
of eternal youth. But I wonder what place there is for this phenomenal
poor child, fetish object of an incorrigibly narcissist mother.
desire for a child is sometimes prevented.
pre-abortion interviews, the women explain their desire for a child.
Either they have already had children and explain to us all the happiness
that hey felt or they haven't had any children yet and they speak emotionally
about the children they hope to have later.
The women are always on the side of life.
There are three principle reasons that a woman refuses her pregnancy:
of the future or fear of not being able to raise her
The fear of losing a job or not to be offered a coveted job is
among the most common motivations. But economic reasons are not the
only reasons. Media pressure on the child, a favored target of ad
campaigns, makes the women feel like they cannot deal with everything
that is expected of them in terms of time, money, availability… They
always want the best for their child and feel "eaten up" by
too many demands. If the child doesn't have all the comforts, brand-name
clothes, toys proposed on TV, if daddy doesn't have a great car or a
beautiful home …, the child cannot survive, poor thing! By promoting
the reign of the royal child, we discourage women from
The same exaggeration has been observed concerning educational demands.
Poorly assimilated psychology conveys the idea that it is very difficult
to raise children, you must give them everything all the time, you mustn't
frustrate them, make them feel guilty, traumatize them. So it's the
mother who feels guilty, who no longer has self-confidence, who doesn't
allow herself a personal life. The more you think about it, the more
you hesitate while families that live very precariously don't think
about it, they just do it.
Social workers know these families very well, where it is impossible
to put any family planning into place, in the absence of being able
to project into the future. All that counts are the immediate needs,
and for the rest, the RMI will take care of it.
because the man suddenly shrinks away at the announcement of the news,
even if it was planned by the couple. Currently, the place of the
man is difficult, women change and they don't always know
how to situate themselves in relation to this new event so certain prefer
to escape their responsibilities, to remain children, change their partner
as soon as she starts to talk about wanting a child, as if this child
was going to take their place. Access to becoming a parent is also an
important step for them but women are in the foreground in this business,
they don't know too well how to enter. Women don't always help with
matters because the temptation to keep the child just for herself is
The advent of "new fathers" still isn't for right now. It's
not however about fathers becoming assistant mothers, because the children
need for daddy to be comfortable in his role as the man. Men need to
invent their own role of father. Read Naouri: Une place pour le père
(A place for the father).
As a result, many women find themselves raising their child alone. Certain
do it. It's possible but it's hard. Others don't feel capable and no
one can know in their place.
hate of what
will happen to their body, forbidding in their mind, in the case where
the sexual relation was more or less non-consensual. I am not only talking
about certified rape but also relations lived without enthusiasm, without
real adhesion. Either to please her partner or because the couple's
emotional relationship is no longer sufficiently passionate; or, for
adolescents, because this relation was more or less imposed by the boy
("if you don't want to, I'll leave you") or because she was
premature in her evolution, accepted simply by curiosity, the desire
to act like an adult.
enfant si je veux
desire for a child is not permanent.
life is not only about the desire for a child. What they tell us
most often is, "not now".
Like all human desire, the desire for a child can be sublimated.
That is to say that this need to create, to give life which excites
them to the very core can be redirected toward other more important
undertakings. I think of Simone de Beauvoir who didn't want children
because her literary creation seemed, to her, a greater gift to leave
to humanity that a child of flesh and bones. You might also want to
create or build a business, dedicate yourself to a career that you love
or to humanity, there is no lack of causes. A woman can be fulfilled
without having had children.
But most often, there is time for everything.
Thanks to contraception, women are able to manage their desire
for children and other projects. Women can pursue personal projects
without damaging their sexual and emotional life.
not everything is perfect.
still rests entirely on women, research on masculine contraception
has not made a lot of progress. There is of course the condom that the
younger generation is beginning to use but it is not completely reliable
and it isn't the easiest thing to use. Certain women can't use any type
of contraception and thus remain with their anxiety. The birth control
pill, which is the most reliable method, requires a minimum of maturity
and a sense of responsibility. It must not be forgotten that the constraint
of taking it regularly is insufferable for some. That is why the morning
after pill which we hear so much about lately is so interesting for
adolescents, to make up for the consequences of irresponsibility which
is normal at this age when one acts without thinking.
Also and most importantly, there are always unconscious games.
Even if the reasonable part of me still doesn't want a child, there
is another part of me that does want one, so the door is open
for messing up.
remains the recourse to abortion.
I do not
think that women take this act lightly. Except for some incorrigibly
immature women who will be multi-recidivists without anyone being able
to do anything. But for the most part, women think, hesitate
and feel guilty. I find it very important that the law has planned
for counseling at this always difficult moment of the choice to terminate
a pregnancy. I am always surprised at the ease with which women recount
their entire life story as if this moment was pushing them to take stock
of their life as a woman; their life choices, their children, and their
man. It is the story of unlimited desire and reality which imposes its
limits and its frustration. They often arrive feeling guilty and aggressive
but, in general leave feeling soothed, reconciled with themselves. They
haven't found a solution to their problems but when leaving, they will
certainly ask themselves the right questions which will guide them toward
a better awareness of their dignity.
and other occasions are necessary, so that women can be listened
to respectfully or that the dialogue about sexuality is authentic.
We hear a lot right now about school nurses and I find it very positive
that they are encouraged to dialogue with students, not just to give
them birth control pills but to help them better assume their responsibilities.
But the reflection on this subject should concern everyone who has a
function of reception. If the person intervening is receptive, trust
is built, discussion is freer and what seemed complicated, difficult
to handle, guilt inflicting, becomes simply human.
Such occasions, such places are still to be invented, and perhaps
you have some ideas about the way to build together a society where
women will be helped to give birth to children in more humane conditions...