Valeria, speaking as a mother, as a psychotherapist and as an expert of Arcana, reflects on how the right to choose whether to have children or not, specifically for a psychological balance, is crucial to express one’s own multi-layered versatility.
VALERIA: «I want to give my contribution to this Lunàdigas project, even though I am… I have a child, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t bring my contribution as a woman and as a professional, therefore as a psychotherapist who has dealt and still deals with women, working with women.
Also women who have no children, who choose not to have them, I have encountered them.
So, thinking of them, I want to give my contribution.
We can reflect about what’s going on nowadays, where I live, where you all live and are now watching the videos and you’re exploring the web.
Now women can choose to have no children, they can say: ‘I want to think about not having children!’ If we were born 100 years ago maybe we wouldn’t have this kind of freedom, therefore we can consider this a great success, also thanks to reflections, movements, the path that women have done in the last century, let’s say.
Being able to say that, surely in certain cases may be connected to some sort of “condition”, right?
There are disorders, or situations where a woman rejects her motherhood.
But, in most cases, today we see that it is not so.
There are women who freely have every right to choose and develop other aspects of themselves.
The same aspects that in psychology we have seen, for instance, through the works of Jung related to the feminine principle.
We have seen from the birth of psychoanalysis onwards, as the very fact that a woman does not live in herself the multiplicity of her being may cause disorders.
Of course, we should not be unilateral, meaning, as the maternal has been for centuries,in the last few ones for sure, somehow on top of the list of the archetypes of the feminine, so, obviously going through all the various nuances: praise the mother and denigrate her at the same time, so with aspects of light and shadow related to the maternal female figure.
However, we also had the opportunity to develop several alternatives to motherhood.
Therefore, being able to create and develop one’s own identifying path also through creativity, a literary work, a job you like, so had the possibility of experimenting, here in the Western world, under certain cultural and also economical conditions.
Nowadays, it seems that in this historic moment, it is possible to say it aloud if you can’t have them, and accept you are not able to have children, as well as not wanting to have them.
What’s the problem?
The moment when one of us takes a position in life, inevitably and unconsciously renounce to the opposite position.
This may apply to all extreme positions.
So, knowing it, women who choose to have children, or to not have them, they need to know that something, if they don’t want to give up their own wholeness, they will have nourish something else.
So a mother, if she wants to be at peace, will have to open different aspects in her own life, for her own personal fulfilment.
A woman who chooses not to have children should give space to the maternal but in another way, which doesn’t necessarily means a child your own flesh and blood.
This can be a the dimension of psychic balance.
I see it happening in many women, also among colleagues with no children.
So, work is fulfiling, one invests in creative projects.
I have artist friends with no children, and because of that they manage to use time for their works of art, to dedicate themselves to their exhibitions.
I also have friends with children who manage to develop their own independent parts.
So, in this century, right now, in our historical context, this is possible.
Obviously, we are not the only ones, there are other contexts where this reflection is not allowed yet.
I smile when I see, for example, that campaign against feminism, saying “I’m not a feminist. because I don’t need it, I can express my thoughts.”
Shame it is not acknowledged that you can express it thanks to others before you who fought so that you could be free to express it.
So, every time you take a firm position, you should always leave the question open.
It’s the same for women who instead want motherhood at all costs, otherwise they don’t feel recognised as women.
And there are many.
Lately, I’ve been seeing and reading about maternity sites, in some contexts it is still seen as the only choice.
I don’t deny that it is very important and a wonderful part of a woman’s life, but it must not necessarily be chosen.
Instead, in contexts where this position is still one-sided, it goes to such an extreme that living without it is unconceivable, as if somehow…
It reminds me of Louis Caplan. with ‘Female Perversions’, there is a whole chapter dedicated to the perversion of motherhood.
In other words, at any costs this is what fulfils a woman, so much so to go for example in Ukraine.
I recently read some articles from a scientific site which deals specifically with assisted fertilisation, people go to very extreme situations, accepted in some countries, not yet in ours, which is to ask another woman to be the bearer of one’s own child.
it can be progress, but also it may not be; we have to ask the questions.
A Ukrainian girl told she had a child already, because this also in that country is a ground rule, women who offer to carry on a pregnancy must already have a child.
She was asked: ‘What will you tell your first child when he or she will no longer see what was in your belly?’ ’No problem. They will go to my parents.’
So, these too are extremes of an archetype that nowadays is no longer dominant, because more are coming and we are possibly opening up to the multiplicity.
One of the voices that Anaïs Nin wanted to express, her own multilayered versatility, in that wonderful Diary.
Anaïs Nin had no children, she was at some point about to… but then she didn’t carry the pregnancy to term.
We can express our polyhedric approach, but let’s do it well, let’s leave space to reflections, with works like the one are you doing with Lunàdigas, but in all its facets; therefore women who are mothers, single mothers, women who choose not to have them, so that every aspect of the feminine has the same value and women can be really free to choose.
If we talk about rights, in my opinion, the right to choose between having or not having children it’s an indisputable right for women.
Erich Neumann, one of the most renown Jungian psychoanalyst talking about the development of consciousness he also speaks about the psychology of the feminine, therefore he traces a path that we find ourselves experiencing today towards the reaching of consciousness.
In the sense that we all begin, women, men when we’re little we are in the maternal ouroboros, therefore in the identifying us what the mother is.
Then in order to grow, to differentiate ourselves, the path drives us facing, as women, what is different from us, the father, the make figure anyway, if there is no father available, because it may be different for every woman, but certainly on a cultural level we have male role models.
But then, to find ourselves, inevitably, the feminist movements also showed us this, that came out of the patriarchy from what somehow was imposed both by women and men, in the patriarchal cultural system, which does not mean man, to women.
So, getting out of this system we go back to the feminine, our conscience pushes us there.
So, we are back to dealing with the mother, which doesn’t mean going back to make the choices made by the mother.
On the contrary, it means opening up to the richness of the feminine’s facets.
This on a psychological level.
The situation today, therefore, watching and exploring Lunàdigas, I was also thinking to start a reflection, to write something also in regard to…
I would also like to mention your site, if that’s possible, every year I open a blog in January and I close it in December.
This year’s project, which is both is artistic, so with drawings and my Illustrations but also literary it is also of psychological reflection and it’s called Emblematic Manual.
It is a blog on which every day I write a little reflection, this year is dedicated to women, and all their facets and nuances that are many, about daily life, so also the relationships with friends, among people who know each other, and some reflections around to the professional, clinical path, my own path, Valeria Bianchi Mian’s, and also an analysis of the symbolism and the archetype of the feminine in all its shades and facets.
For example, I have been dealing for twenty years of Major and Minor Arcana, the symbolism of Cards.
I ran some labs, in bookstores, in my studio, getting people to know and explore the images, always keeping an eye, however, to male and female figures present in the cards to people who never had approached these images.
In the Major Arcana, the 22 trump cards of the Tarots, there are many female and male figures, but the female ones offer us a nicely varied choice.
If we think of the High Priestess that in certain interpretations is identified as a rigid feminine, not very fertile, therefore sterile, the infamous sterility.
In fact, the High Priestess is simply an expectant figure, as if she was always pregnant.
If we look at her from a psychological point of view is that aspect of us that allows us to hold an idea.
So the famous alchemical vessel of transformation, the fact that we women are that natural vase doesn’t mean that our alchemical expression of that vessel must necessarily be a human offspring.
It might very well be a creative product of our multifaceted psyche.
The High Priestess is the first step, the Empress expresses this multiplicity, here’s how we can define the Empress.
Just think about nature when blocked by a gate, but a tree, for example, intends to go further, it breaks the gate.
This generative element, which is then expressed in the Empress, does not mean that this role of the Empress must be unique, because, as we also see in the Tarots themselves, female figures evolve, are expressed through transformations,
to get to a world that has this element, some say only feminine, others say androgynous, central, within the image which means accomplishment.
But the realisation of the Empress can also be a book, a video, a creative project together, among women, so something that connects women’s sisterhoods, who express their ideas and their thinking.
This has definitely to do with the Empress.
So, if women, I think, would accept more their multifaceted possibilities, certainly we would not fall into the extremes.
Of course, it’s also true that there are people, personal situations,where the choice of non motherhood may be, as I said at the beginning, perhaps related to something unresolved.
And deal with the shadows is very important, deal with what we leave inside us, in order to be able to choose in a balanced manner and not unilaterally.
I said it at the beginning, and I repeat it, as if we go into the unilateral, our subconscious will get back at us.»