It may still happen, that expecting a child without being in the “ad hoc” framework of marriage plunges a woman into terrible throes of despair. Fearing to be the family disgrace, sometimes devoured with shame, crushed by prejudices, believing to lose respectability, sometimes, these women refuse their pregnancy completely whether or not they desire the child. For others, this refusal, whatever the reasons, is not necessarily a tragedy.
In a short story that caught my attention, Guy de Maupassant with his renowned talent for describing the torments of the human soul having himself been subject to unspeakable anxiety, recounts a tragedy. The Child is a short story published in the Gil Blas journal of 18 September 1883, that Maupassant writes under his pseudonym. It is worth noting that Maupassant had already written a short story with the same title in 1882, which was published in Le Gaulois journal, and to which he signed his real name. In this story, in a lighter tone, a woman warmly welcomes the child of her late husband’s former mistress.
For the other short story, that’s another story (histoire)! Maupassant renders perceptible the despair but above all, the hatred that a woman can feel for herself through the intermediary of the child growing in her.
“The thought of this child growing in her womb, of this living shame, had entered her soul like a sharp arrow. She thought of it without respite.” It is in fear and without limit that a fight to the death ensues for this young woman: “distraught, she was punching her stomach to kill it, this being that was losing her. It was a terrible struggle between them. But it was not dying; and, over and over, it was as if it was defending itself. She rolled on the floor to crush it against the ground; she tried to sleep with a weight on her body to suffocate it. She hated it, as you hate the bitter enemy that threatens your life”. Here, the child does not serve as a phallic compensation; it is reduced to an object to be eliminated!
The title of Pipol punctuated by its question mark makes it possible to question both wanting and non-wanting, but also the gap between will and desire, however extravagant it may be. It is this gap that will be discussed in the various texts of this new series that Ombilic offers you. Solenne Albert asks herself: what is a mother? And right away, it is the gap between mother and woman that will be discussed, in the singular way that a mother who is also a woman, loves, enjoys and desires! As for Irene Dominguez, she returns to the gap that Lacan made throughout his teaching concerning the father, a gap that is also inscribed in the desire for a child, who “can do without the Name-of-the-Father, but only on condition of making use of it.”
Lastly, Claudia Iddan invites us to consider this gap as a flaw, between demand and desire, reproduction and procreation and finally between the dimension of biology and creation.
Creation will be discussed in the interview organised by Céline Danloy. For Pipol 10, she met Delphine Hachez, a childbirth photographer who tries to “capture the life that appears,” while erasing the dimension of the real of childbirth thanks to black and white [photography], so as to retain only the colour of emotions.
And since we are talking about photos, I invite you to discover the photo gallery that you will find on the Pipol 10 blog, a gallery where you can find photos of the artists who have agreed to share their creation!
Happy discovery !
Review: Caroline Heanue
Photography: ©Caruel Ursula : www.ursulacaruel.com
François Ansermet, THE ART OF MAKING CHILDREN – The New World of Assisted Reproductive Technology, New York, Routledge, 2018; First published in french by Odile Jacob La Fabrication des enfants – Un vertige technologique, 2015, p. 13.
 de Maupassant G., L’enfant (The Child), a short story published in Gil Blas on 18 September 1883, under the pseudonym of Maufrigneuse.