Between those who want a child and those who cannot have one, and those who fall pregnant without wanting to, desire is not where the masters discourse imagines it.
Miss B needs and asks for nothing. Determined by this way of being, she brings her second child into the world alone, in her family home. This is a second secret pregnancy, for a second child who, like the first, was unexpected. However this time, her family drive her to hospital after the birth and the concerned social services team place the infant.
Evaluating Miss B on her “capacities for parenting”, the educators from “l’Aide Sociale à l’Enfance” (Social Assistance in Childhood) judge Miss B to be incapable, and the fact that the young mother, logically, never asks for news of her child, reinforces their opinion.
They don’t go to her – on the contrary, they expect actions from her that would testify to her desire for this child. This is a super egoic societal demand that slides desire towards will, seen through everyday phrases such as “where there’s a will, there’s a way”. In another logic, the judicial big Other declares the child abandoned and adoptable.
Parenting is a concept dating from the end of the twentieth century, resulting from a study commissioned by the Ministry of Employment and Solidarity (l’Emploi et de la Solidarité), which will give rise to a policy of “support for parenthood”. For Marie-Hélène Brousse, this term qualifies as a neologism , coming within the spirit of a time when family law has shifted from paternal authority to parental authority.
“Parenthood is in this sense a symptom that has imposed itself in modern societies and which finds in the vigilance regarding the abuses of which a child may be victim, its point of horror”. 
Miss B does not question this social decision, it is just that she “didn’t see it that way” confirming, through this singular statement that she is in fact, not all that indifferent to the separation. We could even hypothesize that it is this act from the societal big Other, rather than childbirth, which makes this infant an object a for his mother, in that the separation establishes a loss; an isolated object that she can desire a minima. She would have liked to be able to accompany him to his medical appointments, for example. An important point for her, however, in this decision: that the child legally keeps his filiation.
Parenthood is thus a signifier of the current master discourse, where “father” and “mother” are not distinguished, but reduced to a function called “parental”. This signifier is paradigmatic of the new forms of discourse, in the era of the decline of the paternal function and the different signifiers “father” and “mother”. Conversely, filiation is a term from 13th century law, derived from the classical Latin filius (son) and designating the relationship between a child and his parents. The symbolic aspect of filiation is inscribed in law. In this clinical vignette, on the side of the child, the symbolic mark of the surname restores the child to his history, thus covering the real of his birth. And for the mother, this decision preserves the part of her desire for this “child of the family”.
While parenthood includes the symbolic, the same cannot be said of the medical act.
Another vignette: Miss C wants a child, but she doesn’t fall pregnant. She comes for medical treatment “so that it takes”. During her pregnancy, her psychosis is triggered and the foetus becomes, for her, a parasite in the real. Where medicine consistently attempts to meet the plea “Doctor, I want a child!” , it simply plugs the demand, by ignoring the unconscious, by opening up and denuding a real.
In 1960, Lacan thus highlighted in his teaching “In the same way that in art there is a Verdrangung, a repression of the Thing, and in religion there is probably a Verschiebung or displacement, it is strictly speaking Verwerfung that is involved in the discourse of science. The discourse of science repudiates the presence of the Thing insofar as from its point of view the ideal of absolute knowledge is glimpsed, that is, something that posits the Thing while it pays no attention to it. As everyone knows, this point of view has historically proved in the end to be a failure” 
Translation: by JH Burchill
Proofreading: Linda Clarke
Photography: ©Pascale Simonet – https://www.pascale-simonet.be/
 Brousse M.-H., « Un néologisme d’actualité : la parentalité », La Cause freudienne, n° 60, 2005, p 120.
 Ibid., p 122.
 Cf. Anonyme, « L’enfant du Docteur », Scilicet, n° 5, Paris, Seuil, coll. Champ Freudien, 1975, p. 141-146.
 Lacan J., The Seminar of Jacques Lacan, Book VII, The Ethics of Psychoanalysis, edited by Jacques-Alain Miller, translated by Dennis Porter, Routledge, London, 1992, p. 162.