July 6, 2010

Parenting and Sexual Difference

Parenting, that is, fathering and mothering, is uniquely tied to sexual difference. For example, the importance of the father is shown to us when we see the spouses’ mutual relationship with their child, the fruit of their union. The mother is entrusted from the beginning with the child’s presence, which accompanies her during the time of pregnancy; the father, for his part, remains initially “at a distance.” In this way, the mother represents the initial embrace that receives the child into existence, giving him or her the affirmation of love he or she needs. What is the role of the father? He lovingly affirms and identifies the distinction of the child within the embrace of the mother. Thus, the mother and the father, each in their own way, provide a loving space for the child, one by accenting union, the other by accenting distinction.

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