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Pestre, E. (2015). Giving Birth in Exile: Motherhood as Reterritorialization. Am. J. Psychoanal., 75(3):304-319.

(2015). American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 75(3):304-319

Giving Birth in Exile: Motherhood as Reterritorialization

Elise Pestre

This paper explores the effects of exile on the subjectivity of pregnant migrant women through the lens of the processes of deterritorialization and reterritorialization. Having escaped the gaze of the parental superego, the subject's encounter with sexuality becomes possible. However, in addition to the emancipatory aspects of migration, we observe particular somatic-psychical effects on reproductive ability. These “exile” pregnancies are generally experienced as difficult and painful, laying bare a symptomatology that is as much psychical as somatic, and which highlights the cost of a desire for independence. In this context, where perinatal risks must be evaluated and treated through an interdisciplinary approach, a clinical accompaniment proves to be indispensable for the maternity to progress smoothly on foreign soil.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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