Anna Bijns (1493-1575) survived the tumult of the Reformation in Antwerp through her sharp wit and barbed pen. "Sour rather than sweet" was her motto, and this unmarried--indeed, misogamic--schoolmistress attacked Lutherans with gusto. She was the most widely read woman of her time in her language; some considered her to be among the most famous women of the sixteenth century. In her lifetime, Bijns published three collections of poems, mostly anti-Reformation and works of prayer and piety. She also wrote voluminous refrains in other modes, from the amorous to the wise. Throughout, Bijns expressed the need for self-reliance, freedom from domination, and independence.
It's not clear why Anna Bijns never married. The daughter of a master tailor with property, she was not impoverished or in ill health. But her sister's marriage was unhappy, and this may have influenced Anna's disposition toward the institution. While the following poem does not refer explicitly to child-rearing, it expresses clear antipathy to the circumstances in which children would be born. The complete poem can be found in Women Writers of the Renaissance and Reformation; here are the first two stanzas:
Unyoked Is Best! Happy the Woman Without a Man
How good to be a woman, how much better to be a man!
Maidens and wenches, remember the lesson you're about to hear.
Don't hurtle yourself into marriage far too soon.
The saying goes: "Where's your spouse? Where's your honor?"