Monique (51): ‘I didn’t dare to go to the swimming pool with my daughters for a long time, out of shame’ | Stories behind the news

Do you feel as young/old as you are?

“How should you feel when you are 51 years old? I find that difficult. Still, I don’t think I feel my age physically or mentally. In the past, that has been different. My children were both born by cesarean section, so my belly has been ripped open twice from side to side. I had quite a few complications afterwards. For example, in 2015, my abdominal wall ruptured, causing my bowel to break through. It was dying. The tissue under my belly button has also suffered greatly. A mat has now been placed and fortunately I no longer suffer from it. Since then I feel a lot fitter, only my stomach doesn’t look like that. I didn’t dare to go to the swimming pool with my daughters for long, because I was ashamed. I have now lost 18 kilos and I am planning a tummy tuck. My figure will never be the same again, but that’s okay. I especially want to get rid of that excess skin. The surgery is still pending, so I just bought a tankini for this summer.”

Do you have a beauty secret?

“Certainly, 13 to 14 years ago I stopped smoking. I also drink in moderation and I protect my skin well against the sun. I also go to the beautician every six weeks. It’s important to keep tickling yourself every now and then. I hope to prevent skin aging with this. Good genes are also important. My mother is in her eighties and is only now beginning to look like a wrinkled berry. Hopefully I’ll be just as lucky!”

Do people estimate you at the right age?

“I am always considered much younger. This is probably also due to the age of my children (12 and 9 years old). People still use that as a frame of reference and I was in my late thirties when I was pregnant with my first daughter. I’ve always wanted children, but it’s never been my life goal. I first wanted to enjoy and live.”

What do you like best about yourself?

“My appearance, I radiate joie de vivre and conviviality. It makes my eyes sparkle. I think that’s what makes someone special. You can be the most beautiful woman in the world, but if you don’t have a personality, it’s nothing. I’ve recently become single and now I’m starting dating again. I mostly get compliments on my appearance from my dates.”

What are you less happy about?

“My excess skin, it doesn’t stretch well. I have lost a lot of weight and because of that I now have a lot of excess skin. Not only do I have this problem in my stomach, but also in my butt. I have a kind of turkey breast on the inside of my legs. When I look back in the mirror, I see an old woman’s ass. It’s a pity, but I’m afraid it’s not possible to train against that. I am also not prepared to go to the plastic surgeon for that.”

Are you where you wish you were?

“Life looks different than I imagined ten years ago. My ex-husband and I recently divorced. Due to the tense housing market, I was forced to live in the attic for three-quarters of a year. This made the divorce a less difficult transition for the children, but it remained tough. Mama was always around, but it also caused a lot of tension and frustration. I now have my own house, but now I am alone on the couch every other week. My daughters then sleep with their father. I would have imagined my life differently, but at the same time I also feel in everything that it is the best choice. I am much happier and now also have the time to develop myself.”

What keeps you young?

“My children and curious nature. I want to learn something new every day. If I don’t understand something, I go straight to Wikipedia. It has brought me a lot, but it is also a pitfall; I want too much at once.”

Do you have a life lesson?

Try to turn the negative into something positive. Are you frustrated? Grab your shoes or bike and get out there. You may meet nice people and gain new insights. Seize the day, the sun shines behind the clouds.”

Do you also want to be in this section? We are still looking for nice, female thirty-somethings. Also especially if you are 50, 60 or older. As long as you are comfortable in your own skin! Send an email with your name, telephone number, motivation and two current photos (portrait and total) to

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