By David Mangene, 18 March 2020, Utrecht – the Netherlands


Our friends Sanne and Barry have a baby.

Our friends Rens and Lauren have a baby.

Our friends Milan and Roos have a baby and a toddler.

Our friends Rick and Jolien have a baby and a toddler too.

Babies galore. I love babies! Is there anything more hopeful than babies and the people that have them? Think about the sacrifices parents make: less sleep, dirty diapers, constant crying. It can be pretty rough. But look at all these lovely people around us, making the babies.

The first tip in my new book How To Not Kill Yourself is “find something to care for”. Why? Pretty self-explanatory: because having to nurture something beyond our own selfish selves will help to decrease our depression. Obviously a bouncing baby would be a good choice. It will need your nurturing – and then some. But the thing you choose to care for doesn’t need to be a baby. It could be a chihuahua, or a siamese cat, or a guinea pig. Hell, it could even be a ficus plant. Doesn’t matter. What matters is you choose to care for something and give it your love, unconditionally.

Me, I’m going with the babies. Mine are now 16 and 13, so it’s obviously some next level parenting. The old saying is true: bigger kids, bigger problems. Babies need a clean diaper and a bottle, teenagers need a Vespa and a whole lot of fucking space. But nothing beats a baby when it comes to hope.

Look, if you live in the Netherlands right now, you’ve got some time on your hands over the next few weeks. We all know that hope is in short supply at the moment. Perhaps you should see it as your civic duty to start the great baby boom of 2020. Or at least buy a plant.

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