How a family lives together varies by country and culture, but the standard family with husband, wife and children is no longer the norm. Living with multiple partners, adult children, grandchildren, adopted or foster children, eight cats or three dogs: in this series, people talk about their families. This week: Aranka Hes (33) and Tijs Ouweltjes (31) from Alkmaar and their daughter Minte (1).By Hannah Koenig
As a child Hes dreamed of a little house-tree-animal; she wanted a husband and children. The obstetrician nurse has been single since 2011. She goes on dates but cannot find a partner.
“When I was almost thirty, I thought: how am I going to fill my life? I was ready to become a mother, and during dates I looked to see if the man in question could be the father of my child, instead of going to look at him as a potential partner. I didn’t think that was fair, so I started thinking about how I could fulfill my desire to have children in another way.”
Online, I was already struggling to find a man, let alone two men, who doesn’t like a woman.
Her father became ill when she was four and died when she was eighteen. “I’ve never known a healthy father myself, and I don’t want my child to miss a father. So a sperm donor occurred to me. I was looking for gay couples who were looking for a woman to have a child with. It was a disaster; I was already struggling to find a man online, let alone two men who didn’t like a woman, so I decided to say my dream out loud and told family and friends that I was looking for a man who could have a child with.”
During a dinner with old school friends, it turned out that a friend’s gay brother had been looking for a mother for his child for years. Ouweltjes: “I often thought I would never succeed. It was a dream come true for Aranka to come my way. Hes: “We went out to dinner and it turned out to be an outer eye. We clicked and thought the same thing about parenting. Under such an agreement, you ask each other separate questions: How would you like to make a baby? With a syringe and a jar, or with a doctor?”
Pregnancy by self-insemination
The two decided to merge their worlds because even though they want to be parents, they want to celebrate holidays as one family. “So we had to like each other’s parents, friends and family.” The intended parents discussed various scenarios with each other. What if one of them gets into a relationship? What happens if one of them dies? How far apart can they live? After a year, they started self-insemination and Hes got pregnant in no time.
I am glad that I have been open about my desire to have children and search for a father, otherwise I would not have had my family.
When she was 36 weeks along, Hes moved in with her daughter’s father. “We really wanted to do the birth and the maternity period together. The birth of our daughter Minte was fantastic. We looked at her and thought: you belong. The maternity week was emotional; the maternity visit was so intensely happy that Tijs had had a child. So it occurred to me that I have not only fulfilled my own desire to have children, but also someone else’s. That makes it extra beautiful: There is love in abundance, and our child is wanted by everyone.”
Celebrate Christmas and birthdays together
She likes being a parent. Due to irregular shifts from Hes at the hospital, the schedule varies from week to week, but they take care of Minte just as much. Ouweltjes is glad he didn’t just have a child. “Because you do it together, you easily get rid of the uncertainty. We talk about nutrition, rhythm and naps together.” They celebrate Christmas and birthdays together as agreed, and they also go on holiday as a family.
Ouweltjes has started a relationship and takes care of her daughter with her friend Daniel. Hes: “We love life in our family so much that we are now happily expecting a sister for Minte. I am glad that I was open about my desire to have children and search for a father, otherwise I wouldn’t have got my family.”
Ouweltjes feels the same way: “Say whatever you want to family and friends, because you can just be linked via via.” Although they do not have a traditional love relationship, the parents are more than friends: “We will soon have two children and we feel so much love for them that there is also a certain love for each other. For us, our family is a normal family where we are happy every day.”
Gynaecoloog Inge Custers legt op Ouders van Nu uit hoe zelfinseminatie in z’n werk gaat.