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
updated 7:46 AM EDT, Fri September 20, 2013
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
updated 4:27 PM EDT, Fri October 24, 2014
Not again.
updated 4:06 PM EDT, Wed October 22, 2014
I happen to agree with Renee Zellweger that all the chatter about her face is "silly." But I, and many other women I talked with via email Wednesday, would add some other choice words to the mix to describe the non-stop attention about her appearance: nasty, cruel, hurtful, invasive and sexist.
updated 6:06 PM EDT, Tue October 21, 2014
I have long thought millennials, who expect flexibility in the workplace, would be the group that would bring an end to the stigma that is too often associated with flex time -- the belief that wanting a flexible work arrangement means you aren't willing to work as hard. But now I'm thinking it's going to be men who will get us there.
updated 7:40 AM EDT, Wed October 22, 2014
Say it with us: Kids today have it sooooo easy.
updated 2:29 PM EDT, Tue October 21, 2014
An Atlanta judge reportedly reprimanded an immigration attorney for bringing her 4-week-old to court for a hearing -- a hearing she asked the judge to reschedule because she was on her six-week maternity leave.
updated 4:18 PM EDT, Mon October 20, 2014
Monica Lewinsky tweeted for the first time. She called herself "patient zero" of cyber-bullying.
updated 3:43 PM EDT, Fri October 17, 2014
Meet Shyanne Roberts, a 10-year-old competitive shooter with something to prove: "Kids and guns don't always mean bad things happen."
updated 10:57 AM EDT, Tue October 21, 2014
"Breaking Bad's" Walter White may have cleverly dodged authorities during his career as a drug kingpin, but his action figure hasn't dodged the wrath of a Florida mother.
updated 9:50 AM EDT, Mon October 20, 2014
strawberry ghosts
We love Halloween season. Sweets. Sweaters. Sipping hot cider (maybe spiked). Halloween can certainly get you in the spirit, and nothing warms our hearts like these healthy Halloween treats that help you stay energized instead of stuck in a sugar coma.
updated 3:23 PM EDT, Fri October 17, 2014
Does your baby cry during long flights, causing you to want to disappear from the glares of fellow passengers?
updated 10:52 PM EDT, Thu October 16, 2014
Ask any teen if they suffer from social media anxiety and they would probably tell you no. But the truth is getting "likes" and the fear of missing out are adding stress to teens' lives.
updated 9:13 AM EDT, Thu October 16, 2014
Many photographers have taken it upon themselves to document stillborn and terminal babies' precious moments after birth.
updated 3:46 PM EDT, Tue October 14, 2014
As part of the insurance coverage offered to its female employees, Facebook is paying to freeze their eggs.
updated 2:15 PM EDT, Tue October 14, 2014
Amal Alamuddin was well-known in many important circles long before she snagged the world's most eligible bachelor. But Amal Alamuddin is now Amal Clooney, according to her law firm's website.
updated 12:42 PM EDT, Tue October 14, 2014
Trends in young adult fiction have shifted from wizards to glittering vampires to bloodthirsty "Hunger Games" and now, to teens coping with illnesses and realistic issues.
updated 8:56 PM EDT, Tue October 14, 2014
Before he died this year, 14-year-old Martin Romero wanted to do something for his community.
updated 6:33 PM EDT, Mon October 13, 2014
A 12-year-old girl called Dick's Sporting Goods out on its lack of female athletes in the Basketball 2014 catalog.
updated 12:36 PM EDT, Mon October 13, 2014
Before he was even born, Shane Michael Haley had already met the Philadelphia Phillies, been to the top of the Empire State Building and shared a cheesesteak with his parents.
updated 3:39 PM EDT, Fri October 10, 2014
I couldn't quite believe my eyes when I read the initial comments from Microsoft's CEO on how women who don't ask for raises will receive "good karma."
updated 10:02 AM EDT, Fri October 10, 2014
A photo series "From the NICU to the Moon" imagines premature babies in future professions with a series of imaginative doodles.
updated 1:33 PM EDT, Fri October 10, 2014
Jessica Dunne and her father Michael P. Dunne
"I don't think anyone is ready for grief. But when it hits you, it knocks you out cold," Jessica Dunne wrote after the sudden loss of her father.
updated 10:09 AM EDT, Thu October 9, 2014
Most moms will say they long for a day when moms stop criticizing one another, but most of us are guilty of tearing each other down.
updated 4:28 PM EDT, Tue October 14, 2014
When we think of terminal cancer patients, we don't imagine Brittany Maynard -- 29, vigorous, happy. But she will soon take a handful of pills that will end her life.
updated 10:04 AM EDT, Wed October 8, 2014
"Back in my day, we used to walk five miles uphill, carrying all our books in the blistering cold and the pouring rain..." Some schools have found a new way to making walking to school safer -- and more fun.
updated 10:02 AM EDT, Tue October 7, 2014
The death of a New Jersey boy, the first health officials are directly linking to Enterovirus D68, has parents wondering whether school is the worst place to send kids susceptible to the virus.
updated 10:22 AM EDT, Tue October 7, 2014
It's a heartbreaking time for three families, football teams and communities after three players died last week. Investigations are under way, but some parents are wondering, is the sport safe for children?
updated 1:26 PM EDT, Fri October 3, 2014
Here's what some schools are doing to create welcoming environments for transgender and gender nonconforming children.
updated 2:52 PM EDT, Fri October 3, 2014
Nothing could prepare this mom-to-be for what she learned at her first ultrasound.
updated 12:58 PM EDT, Mon September 29, 2014
A 15-year-old British schoolboy has struck a chord with his eloquent response to actress Emma Watson's United Nations speech encouraging men to join in the fight for gender equality.
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
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT