“No, I don’t want children”

Somewhere between the cheese board and the second bottle of wine we opened, it dawned on me: before too long, I – Monique van Loon – might be the only one in this group of friends without children. Now that we were all past thirty, had swapped student rooms for stylishly furnished apartments and cheap pub beer for natural wine, our plans had also grown. One BF with more career or wanderlust than the other, although one future dream seemed unanimous: the hope of having children. At least… for everyone at the table except me.

This article is from The New Beginnings Issue of Cosmo, as is the one on lichen sclerosus. Here you can read everything about the chronic disorder under >

No, no, no: I don’t want children

I don’t have that desire for children. Never had. It has nothing to do with the fact that I’m single, that I’m queer, that my body can’t give birth after life-saving surgery, or that I don’t want children. On the contrary. My top five motivations?

  1. My freedom
  2. The state of the world
  3. Climate change
  4. Money
  5. Snot
    1. And then I actually forget ‘night’s sleep’. I love those little snot noses (okay, preferably without the snot) as long as they’re not mine. I’m going to a baby shower shine at maternity visits and also for the Disney marathon, baking cupcakes and jars of Beaverbende, I’m ready to prod. If only I could go home after a few hours. My own house, a beacon of peace, with no Lego blocks to trip over or a baby lock on the snack drawer. Where the remote is mine, the K3 never shows up on my Discover Weekly list, and where I don’t have to worry about my iPhone being hijacked – or my credit card raided for Minecraft coins.

      This is what Michael Jackson’s children look like now >

      Messy Hot Aunt

      However, a bébé will soon enter my life: my sister is pregnant. Now that I’m becoming an aunt, I plan to fully embrace the role of Messy Hot Aunt. The TikTok video by Cat Ward, who coined the term, has now been viewed more than half a million times. The childless aunt she describes has absolutely nothing against children. She just doesn’t want them herself. Can relate! MHA rocks hip half-designer-half-Zara outfits without Olvarit and spit stains, treats herself to luxurious croissants and the occasional cigarette and is present at every children’s party – with or without a little hangover, but always full of exciting anecdotes. House, tree… party. Sad? Not really! She has ambitions, just not settling down. Not now, and maybe never, ever – and she’s perfectly fine with that. She earns her own money, has plenty of free time, and her world revolves around living, not creating life.

      Anouk has six children – this is how they look now >

      The Messy Hot Aunt represents an unseen yet significant group that we don’t see much of in the media. In the Netherlands, around one in five women remains childless. For all sorts of different reasons, many of which unfortunately include sad ones. But what about those who voluntarily do not reproduce? There is still a taboo on that. Of course, they have been written about over the years. From Clever aunt by Melanie Notkins (this Canadian author uses the term ‘PANK’: Professional Aunt, No Kids) and Happy without children (from self-proclaimed ‘involved aunt’ Lisette Schuitemaker) to Real women have children from Elizabeth Smith. Although the last book is also very much about unwanted childless people and therefore not about the category I belong to.

      Society’s expectation

      If you get nervous about getting pregnant – let alone parents – you are often seen in the Netherlands not as a clever person, but as a sad aunt. The social expectation to give birth is still high. Boomers fishing for ‘when the little ones are coming’ at birthday parties… Not only is it extremely painful for people who don’t make it, but also extremely annoying for the voluntarily childless among the visitors. “No, Aunt Sam, I don’t want that responsibility. I’d like another cheese stick, please.” Someone asked me recently if I’m not afraid of regrets later. Sorry?! I didn’t tell you how often friends who are friends secretly whisper to me that sometimes they wish they had never started it. “My time will never be mine alone again, and it’s bloody scary,” said a friend recently. Regrets after you got them seems to me to be much more damaging to all parties.


      You can read Monique’s full article in The New Beginnings Issue of Cosmopolitan, which you can order with no shipping charges. In it you can also read a frank interview about mental health, with none other than cover girl Vera Camilla. Eand subscription to Cosmo is also arranged in this way; great to give or of course for yourself! Best of all is that you can choose your gift yourself, so you get even more enjoyment out of it.

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