Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage on
 

Why one-and-done is A-OK for this mom

By Jessica Crookston, Special to CNN
September 20, 2013 -- Updated 1146 GMT (1946 HKT)
Writer Jessica Crookston poses with her son in their yard on the first day of school this year. Samuel recently started third grade. "Realizing that in 10 years Samuel would be starting college, I felt even more strongly that I had no desire to begin again with a baby," she said.
Writer Jessica Crookston poses with her son in their yard on the first day of school this year. Samuel recently started third grade. "Realizing that in 10 years Samuel would be starting college, I felt even more strongly that I had no desire to begin again with a baby," she said.
HIDE CAPTION
One mom who's done at one
One mom who's done at one
One mom who's done at one
One mom who's done at one
One mom who's done at one
One mom who's done at one
One mom who's done at one
One mom who's done at one
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Jessica Crookston's son is 8 years old and an only child
  • People often ask her "When are you going to have another?"
  • "You can't deprive your son of the sibling experience," people often tell her
  • Got a parenting confession to share? Go to CNN iReport

Editor's note: Jessica Crookston is an accountant in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio. Her son, Samuel, is 8. A version of this story first appeared on CNN iReport.

(CNN) -- I love being a mother. When I was pregnant with my son, I could not think of anything more magical than feeling his tiny body moving inside of me. Then, when he was born, I saw his perfect face for the first time and his head full of wild hair, and the magical moment of tiny flutters was surpassed.

As I embarked on this new journey of motherhood, I tried my hardest to enjoy every moment, no matter how sleep deprived I was.

I read the parenting magazines, dutifully filled out the baby books and even made my own baby food when the time came. I played with him on the floor for hours, read books, sang songs. As my family and I celebrated my son's first birthday, I looked back at the first year with satisfaction and happiness. I was so excited for the years to come.

After my son smeared his cake all over his face, someone asked me for the first time: "So when are you going to have another?"

When the questions first started, I was still trying to recover from the past year. Birthing another baby was the furthest thing from my mind. I politely answered, "We are just enjoying this little guy for now!"

Over the next year, it seemed like I was fielding this question weekly. From friends, relatives, co-workers, a strange man at the gas station and random people in the grocery store. Everyone felt entitled to ask when I would be getting pregnant again.

Opinion: I'm coming out -- I don't want children

Baby in womb reaches for doctor's hand
Identical twins give birth hours apart
These sisters met after 17 years apart

Recently, I have read many stories from men and women defending their decision to remain childless. Those of us raising an only child are often facing judgment and criticism as well.

Fast forward a few years and a few hundred inquiries later and my divorce was finalized. Bringing a child into the world and wanting the best for him had cast a bright light on the unhealthy relationship to which I was allowing myself to endure. I knew my son deserved better.

The inquiries stopped. Now I was a single mother raising a child alone. To onlookers, I was not selfish, but a hero. Someone whose strength was to be commended.

Fast forward again, four years later. I was the proudest mother of the most wonderful 8-year-old boy and recently remarried. The questions started again. "When are you guys going to have a baby?"

Suddenly, people who applauded the way I raised my son and patted me on the back for doing it as a single mother were telling me that he needed a sibling.

Opinion: Why one isn't always the loneliest number

Having another child and restarting the clock is not something I want. It is not something my husband wants. We are loving life with our son and have no desire to be back at square one with a baby.

When I give my standard answer, "We aren't planning to have more children. One and done for us!" with a polite giggle that really means "None of your business, why are you asking? Go away," the responses vary, but are almost always negative.

"But you're such a good mother, you have to have more children!"

"You can't deprive your son of the sibling experience!"

"You have to give your husband a child!"

Study: China's only children less trusting, avoid risk

Hearing "you're a good mother" is lovely, but most mothers never feel like they are doing enough. By my own standards, like most mothers, I'm always feeling guilty that I can't do more, do better, be a superhero.

Let's say, for argument's sake, I'm a wonderful mother. Why does this mean I should add more offspring to my care? How does splitting my time, energy, finances and sanity amongst multiple children make me a better person? Why am I a worse person if I choose not to do so?

Stay in touch!
Don't miss out on the conversation we're having at CNN Living. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for the latest stories and tell us what's influencing your life.

The sibling experience: It sounds like a cheesy interactive show at a theme park. In my life, the sibling experience was my two sisters, brother and me harassing one another, bickering on car rides. Him breaking my dollhouse. Her breaking his guitar. Me having to baby-sit. All of us swearing that when we grew up, we would never see or speak to each other again.

We are all great friends now, and I love them all dearly. But bringing a child into the world to give my son an "experience" sounds like a load of nonsense.

Sure, let's bring a child into the world so my son can have an experience. Never mind the responsibilities, financial obligations, doubling the number of soccer practices, flag football games, Cub Scout meetings and cupcakes baked for Halloween parties.

I have to give my husband a child? My husband is an all-star stepfather and does not want to have more children.

This is something that we both had similar views on early in our relationship and discussed before being married. The same women who can fight for equal rights, equal pay and rights to their bodies and are telling me that I somehow owe it to someone to conceive a child and birth it for him?

Yes, in many instances, people get married and intend to have a family. In ours, we are perfectly happy with our family as it exists and decided to omit "produce an heir" from our vows.

Since my son is 8, we are well out of the diapers, potty training and "Sesame Street" phase and enjoying the sports, Scouts and bicycling phase. I'm perfectly content being Super Aunt to my niece and awaiting the future nieces and nephews that I get to love, have fun with and send home.

It might be news to all of those strangers at gas stations, grocery store clerks, friends, co-workers, parents and uncles everywhere: Whether my family includes one child, two children or 10 children -- it's none of your business.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
September 18, 2014 -- Updated 1438 GMT (2238 HKT)
Not knowing exactly where her ancestors come from has always bothered Kelly Wallace, but she's heartened to learn about some of the famous cousins she never knew she had.
September 17, 2014 -- Updated 1401 GMT (2201 HKT)
Many superstar athletes from Michael Vick to Tiger Woods were ultimately forgiven by fans and the public. Could Ray Rice also get a second chance?
September 16, 2014 -- Updated 1427 GMT (2227 HKT)
The indictment of NFL star Adrian Peterson on child abuse charges has revealed sharp differences in cultural, regional and generational attitudes toward using physical force to discipline kids.
September 12, 2014 -- Updated 1324 GMT (2124 HKT)
cara reedy
The world often treats little people like Cara Reedy as less than human. She's learned to stand up for herself and shout back.
September 18, 2014 -- Updated 1702 GMT (0102 HKT)
The unheard voices of domestic abuse spoke up on CNN iReport when Rihanna's story of abuse came to light. In light of the Ray Rice controversy, we decided to bring back these stories that are still just as powerful as the day they were told.
September 10, 2014 -- Updated 1410 GMT (2210 HKT)
More than 3 million children witness domestic violence every year, and the damage can last a lifetime.
September 17, 2014 -- Updated 1849 GMT (0249 HKT)
As media outlets Monday circulated video of Ray Rice punching his then-fiancee in a hotel elevator, many wondered why the woman -- now his wife -- could remain with him.
September 4, 2014 -- Updated 1652 GMT (0052 HKT)
The ways mother-daughter book clubs can help empower girls are the focus of a new book, "Her Next Chapter."
September 4, 2014 -- Updated 1344 GMT (2144 HKT)
Colleges are working to prevent sexual assault by educating students on affirmative consent, or only "yes means yes."
September 5, 2014 -- Updated 1443 GMT (2243 HKT)
A mom questions if she wants her daughters seeing a "sado-masochistic relationship, dressed up as a Hollywood love fantasy?"
August 29, 2014 -- Updated 1904 GMT (0304 HKT)
In 2014, why is society still so incredibly uncomfortable with public breastfeeding? Kelly Wallace gets to the root of the controversy.
August 28, 2014 -- Updated 1442 GMT (2242 HKT)
Seven years ago, Barbara Theodosiou, then a successful entrepreneur, stopped going to meetings, leaving the house and taking care of herself. She grew increasingly distraught -- her two children were addicts.
August 25, 2014 -- Updated 1304 GMT (2104 HKT)
The situation in Ferguson, Missouri, after the police shooting of an unarmed black teenager, throws America's problem with talking about race into sharp relief.
August 21, 2014 -- Updated 0225 GMT (1025 HKT)
Mo'ne Davis is the first girl to throw a shutout in the Little League World Series. She's an inspiration, but will she change the face of the sport?
August 19, 2014 -- Updated 0036 GMT (0836 HKT)
There is a reason why when people post pictures of themselves during their middle school years on Facebook for "Throw Back Thursday," we all stop and take notice.
It could cost nearly a quarter of a million dollars to raise your child -- and that's not even including college costs, according to new government estimates.
August 21, 2014 -- Updated 0409 GMT (1209 HKT)
From parent to son, uncle to nephew, there's a raw, private conversation being revived in America in the wake of violence in Ferguson, Missouri.
August 14, 2014 -- Updated 0150 GMT (0950 HKT)
Children sometimes get left out of our conversations about mental illness. The truth is, they suffer too.
August 12, 2014 -- Updated 2114 GMT (0514 HKT)
CNN's Kat Kinsman says that talking freely about personal mental health and suicidal thoughts can help others.
August 12, 2014 -- Updated 1726 GMT (0126 HKT)
morning person
Easy tips on how to improve everything from your dinner order to the song in your head to your career.
August 7, 2014 -- Updated 1733 GMT (0133 HKT)
The case of an Arizona mom who left her kids in a car during a job interview highlights the fluid line between bad parenting and criminal behavior.
August 6, 2014 -- Updated 1941 GMT (0341 HKT)
A children's book about gun rights has benefited from an unexpected boost in sales after it became the subject of a mocking segment on a talk show.
August 5, 2014 -- Updated 1505 GMT (2305 HKT)
Some campers and counselors keep the campfire flames burning with summer flings that become lifetime commitments.
August 1, 2014 -- Updated 1143 GMT (1943 HKT)
After letting her 7-year-old son walk from their home to a park to play, a Florida mother faces up to five years in jail for child neglect.
September 2, 2014 -- Updated 1916 GMT (0316 HKT)
Lindsey Rogers-Seitz, who lost her son in a hot car, hopes mandatory technology in cars and car seats will stop child death from heatstroke in cars.
July 30, 2014 -- Updated 1442 GMT (2242 HKT)
Not to mention your jeans, bras and pillows? Here's a definitive guide to keeping all your quarters clean.
Imagination Playgrounds have snaking tunnels, platforms and springy mats just like any other playground. But they're different in one fundamental way -- they're built by kids.
July 28, 2014 -- Updated 1535 GMT (2335 HKT)
Grammy Award-winning singer Sarah McLachlan, a 46-year-old divorced mom of two girls, talks about parenting, sex and whether women can have it all.
July 23, 2014 -- Updated 1154 GMT (1954 HKT)
Researchers say physical punishment actually alters the brain.
July 21, 2014 -- Updated 2041 GMT (0441 HKT)
The case of a South Carolina mother arrested for allegedly leaving her 9-year-old daughter at a park while she was working sparks debate over how young is too young to leave a child alone.
July 18, 2014 -- Updated 1515 GMT (2315 HKT)
CNN's Kelly Wallace reveals 5 common parenting mistakes that many parents admit to making.
July 18, 2014 -- Updated 1244 GMT (2044 HKT)
Is it a bad idea for parents to let kids drink underage at home, or does an early sip make drinking less taboo? Studies are divided on the subject, which is a tough nut for parents to crack.
July 18, 2014 -- Updated 1404 GMT (2204 HKT)
Kids who takes cellphones to bed are not sleeping, says Mel Robbins. Make them park their phones with the parents at night
Post your personal essays and original photos, and tell us how it really is.
cnn, parents, parenting, logo
Get the latest kid-related buzz, confessions from imperfect parents and the download on the digital life of families here at CNN Parents.
ADVERTISEMENT