This question unfolded in a kaleidoscopic way in the 19 numbers of Ombilic continues to feed with lively and varied sensations the elaborations for the congress PIPOL10. No more than three weeks and these gestating questions will open in the simultaneous and plenary of the Congress.
To introduce this edition of Ombilic I have chosen to illustrate the question – Wanting a child ? – with the movie Una especie de familia, in English A Sort of Family, by the Argentinian director Diego Lerman (2017).
Malena wants a child ; Marcela does not want hers. In the rain, in a suspense atmosphere, Malena leaves Buenos Aires and drives 800 km to arrive at a clinic in a poor region. There, Marcela delivers the baby that, upon agreement, should become Malena’s child. What is at stake with the adoption exposes a reality about the sale of children in this small corner of Argentina.
Among the different impasses presented in the film, there is the one between Malena and Marcela around their singular ways of wanting this child.
Marcela, a surrogate mother, gives life to this child in order to sell it and to earn some money so that her other children can survive; Malena, an adoptive mother, imperatively wants to have a child and – driven by her anguish – ends up in prison, without the baby.
The social Other has intruded between the two women’s impasse through a kind of mafia between the hospital machinery and the administration of birth records in order to supposedly settle the baby deal.
In the film, Malena’s adventures to have a child start after the loss of a baby during pregnancy. They allow the viewer to accompany the progression of her pain and distress in the face of the imperative to become a mother. Malena gets out of prison and in a resolute attitude takes the baby placed in a nursery and returns him to the surrogate mother. Upon this act, she leaves…
In this Ombilic edition the five presented texts explore this same issue through different topics.
Romain Aubé takes over a media case of infanticide through a documentary Murderous journey of an ordinary mother  to track down the subject’s efforts to appropriate – a posteriori and with the recognition of the Other – her desire for motherhood.
Anne Lysy tackles the issue through the enigma of the desire for a child, this desire being situated in the gap between man and father, woman and mother. Her texts questions the function of this desire and the place a child can take in the subjectivity of his mother as a woman and of his father as a man.
Claudine Valette-Damase explores the issue of the foreclosure of the signifier family in Europe – with regard to family and filiation – in favour of the neologism parentality and the consequences for parents and children of this change promoted by social laws.
Renata Cuchiarelli opens up the range of questions that stem from the idea of having children. She does so through different vignettes from a contemporary clinic that more and more shows us a body’s primacy disjointed from a knowledge. The author invites us to discuss the urgency of using psychoanalysis to address the body’s inconsistency.
Françoise Haccoun reminds us that the fantasy of pregnancy is not the same as the fantasy of having a child. What is the nature of this fantasy for a man? Her text presents The Pregnant Man, and invites us to consider these new “trans” procreative experiences that affect both the position of men and of women from their choice of jouissance. This invites us to reflect on the term of sexuation coined by Lacan at the end of his teaching.
In this week’s video Lorsque le désir d’enfant rencontre la science (When the desire for a child meets science), Thierry Hoquet, a philosopher of science, speaks about the effects of reproductive science on the question Wanting a child?.
We end up with the presentation by Hélène Coppens of two artists in our gallery: Hugues Dubuisson and Fred Reddman. What a fine experience !
I wish you a pleasant reading!
Translation: C. Grolleau
Photography: ©Swoboda Frédéric : www.swoboda.be
« Desire for a child, childbirth, even procreation, are modes of substitution among others to the sexual non-rapport. At the same time that they make up for it, they reveal it. »
Ansermet F., « Du mariage pour tous… à la procréation pour tous, entre malentendus et illusions » (From Mariage for all… to procreation for all, between misunderstandings and illusions), Interview with François Ansermet by Nouria Gründler, Lacan Quotidien, n°794, 2018. Not translated.
 de Lestrade J.-X., Parcours meurtrier d’une mère ordinaire. L’affaire Courjault, documentary, France, 2009. Not translated.