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Not By Accident

Author: Sophie Harper

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I became a single mother by choice, not by accident. I’ve been recording our lives for seven years to tell this story, about making choices and taking action to live the life you want. If you’re a parent, want to be a parent, or just love good storytelling, this podcast is for you.

36 Episodes
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Ep 34: Springtime

Ep 34: Springtime

2018-09-2740:042

We have a great start to 2018. Fireworks on New Year’s Eve. You and me, and thousands of Canberrans by the lake on a perfect summer’s evening. Life is in control. I have a grant to write a book, Wondery wants the podcast to continue, advertisers are keen, listeners seem keen. I thought I was just about done, but all this has me feeling optimistic. You’re reaching new levels of autonomy, independence, with thoughts, interests and a whole world opening up that has nothing to do with me. You challenge me, you question me, sometimes you know things I don’t know. You have a point of view. You always did in a way, but somehow this is new.  Childcare and preschool have prepared you (and me) for Kindergarten. You’re ready. For now, school is exactly where you want to be.I’m at crossroads again. I’ve been heading for it for a while. I need to make a change. I need to finish writing the book. I’ve said most of what I wanted to say in our podcast. I’ve spent almost three years making 34 episodes, it’s almost 16 hours. Our lives as stories, for me, for our family, for all people who chose to listen, but most of all for you. It’s yours Astrid, forever, with all my love. You’re an autonomous person now. It’s time to let you be the custodian of your own story. This is the end of season two. It is time to stop. I predict one or two stray episodes in the future when there’s something worth saying, but more or less, this is it. There won’t be a season three.If this was fiction, we’d have a big ending. Something life-changing. But this isn’t fiction. This isn’t the future. This is real life. This is now.Instead I’ll end with something I can control. This occasion deserves a party!This production is made by me, Sophie Harper, in partnership with Wondery. We’re supported by generous listeners. Story editing by Michelle Webster.Thank you family and friends for letting me share your stories and for all your support. Music from freemusicarchive.org - CC NC License: Charge Into 2015, The Time To Run andThe Stars Are Out (Interlude) by Dexter Britain, Tam8+ei4 by LJ Kruzer and Spellbound by Broke For Free. Ad music from freemusicarchive.org - CC Commercial License: Drop of Water in the Ocean by Broke For Free. Go to www.notbyaccident.net to find out more about the series, to get in touch and join the e-newsletter to hear what we’re up to.I will miss all you listeners. Some have become real world friends, and many more feel like friends to me. I have been so deeply touched my your emails, reviews, voice messages and by your donations. I truely will treasure your words for the rest of my life. I think we both will. And you can know we’re both here, figuring things out, adapting our priorities, sometimes struggling, sometimes succeeding, just living life. Don’t worry, we’re still here in real life. If you’d like to send a one-off donation, go to www.paypal.me/notbyaccident. Thank you so much you amazing people who have supported us on Patreon! Julie Greb, Margaret P. Jones, Trish Perlen, Angela Kim, Emma Burbank, Ellie McHale, Russell Kerrison, Julie Greenhalgh, Rebecca Reid, Kasey Tomkins, Dianne Firth, Anne Staude, Sarah E. Leslie, Adam Coulson, Melanie Ann, Lea Durie, Laura Getson, Bill, Sue Giugni, Maia Bittner, Elizabeth Adcock, Megan O’Brien, Katie Wolgamot, Hannah Lownsbrough, Lilit Asiryan, Laura Madge, Laura Cherry, Bethany White, Paul S Mitchell, Mariele Thadani, Pip Muir, Cynthia Madia and more.Sponsored by Hello Fresh: US listeners, For a total of $60 off, that’s $20 off your first 3 boxes, visit hellofresh.com/accident60 and enter accident60.Thank you so much for listening.
Ep 33: Enough

Ep 33: Enough

2018-08-2420:14

I never thought it was ideal being a two person family. There’s not somebody obvious for you to turn to when I let you down. It’s a lot of pressure, for both of us, forever I suppose. If I keep being single as I age and you grow up, I’m afraid you’ll feel responsible for me. That you have to put off things in your own life to be here for me. I want you to do what you want to do, to live in another city, or country, to make choices for you, to have an interesting life. I don’t want you to be burdened or worried or responsible for me. But because I’m an older mother, a geriatric mother, a single mother, and because you’re my only child, I’m afraid you will. I thought maybe I’d have another baby. I thought I’d reserve some samples from your donor so you’d be full biological siblings. I intended to reserve some. It never even occurred to me to freeze my eggs to buy more time. Life was more expensive. I never had money to spare. It was always in the back of my mind, the reservation. I could have prioritised it. I’m sure I could have. But I didn’t.Sometimes decisions are taken out of your hands. You apply for something and others make the decision on whether you can have it. You aspire to something, work towards it, but lack of money or time, or health, or privilege, or luck keep it out of reach. Sometimes you just don’t quite make a decision, and realise one day that you no longer have a choice. This production is made by Sophie and Astrid Harper, in partnership with Wondery. We’re supported by generous listeners. Story editing by Michelle Webster.Thank you family and friends for letting me share your stories. Extra thanks for letting me record, Adelin, Caroline, Lauren, and of course Astrid. Music from freemusicarchive.org - CC NC License: One And and Spellbound by Broke For Free. By permission from the artist: You, You’ll be Waiting by Baby Blue. Ad music from freemusicarchive.org - CC Commercial License: Drop of Water in the Ocean by Broke For Free.Thank you so much you amazing people who support us on Patreon! Julie Greb, Margaret P. Jones, Trish Perlen, Angela Kim, Emma Burbank, Ellie McHale, Russell Kerrison, Julie Greenhalgh, Rebecca Reid, Kasey Tomkins, Dianne Firth, Anne Staude, Sarah E. Leslie, Adam Coulson, Melanie Ann, Lea Durie, Laura Getson, Bill, Sue Giugni, Maia Bittner, Elizabeth Adcock, Megan O’Brien, Katie Wolgamot, Hannah Lownsbrough, Lilit Asiryan, Laura Madge, Laura Cherry, Bethany White, Paul S Mitchell, Mariele Thadani, Pip Muir, Cynthia Madia and more.If you’d like to send a one-off donation, go to www.paypal.me/notbyaccident.  Go to www.notbyaccident.net to find out more about the series, join the e-newsletter or to get in touch.Sponsored by Hello Fresh: US listeners, For a total of $60 off, that’s $20 off your first 3 boxes, visit hellofresh.com/accident60 and enter accident60.We’ll be back with the next instalment, the end of season two, in about 4 weeks.
We’re watching Mimi’s bridal waltz, lit by the sunset’s golden glow in a retro-opulent ballroom, filled with love. I have a huge lump in my throat. I can’t quite believe we’re here, for this moment, for Michael and Antonia, young lovers who lost touch for years, then found each other again, and somehow found themselves. They seem as filled with joy as it’s possible to be. And I am too, as I look around the table at our closest friends from Denmark who we left a year ago, reunited, as if geography is nothing and the bonds of friendship are everything. I glance out at golden Manhattan across the East River, as I squeeze you on my lap, my little companion, and my depletion is filled up. By this city, this adventure, these people, this wedding, by all this love and by you.There have been obstacles getting here. I needed help with the money. And travel with a kid is hard. I haven’t been able to control everything. Sleep is a battle, with jet lag and adrenalin pushing us further and further out of sync. But amongst logistical headaches, so many moments have been magical, since we left Canberra on last week’s pre-dawn flight. This production is made by Sophie and Astrid Harper, in partnership with Wondery. We’re supported by generous listeners. Dear patreon supporters, I can’t tell you how much I appreciate the ongoing support. Story editing by Michelle Webster.Thanks to Michael and Antonia, Steen, Ana, Jim, Anne and the boys, to my biggest nephew Sebastian, and especially to you Astrid, for letting me share your stories. Music from the wedding (invoking Fair Use) That’s Amore by Dean Martin, New York New York by Frank Sinatra, Ave Maria by Bach/Gounod, Get Ready by The Temptations, You Send Me by Sam Cooke, Unchained Melody by The Righteous Brothers and Girls Just Wanna Have Fun by Cyndi Lauper. Ad music from freemusicarchive.org - CC Commercial License: Drop of Water in the Ocean by Broke For Free.Sponsored by Hello Fresh: US listeners, for $30 off your first week of HelloFresh, visit hellofresh.com/accident30 and enter code ACCIDENT30 Thank you kind people supporting us on Patreon! Margaret P. Jones, Trish Perlen, Angela Kim, Emma Burbank, Ellie McHale, Russell Kerrison, Julie Greenhalgh, Rebecca Reid, Kasey Tomkins, Dianne Firth, Anne Staude, Sarah E. Leslie, Adam Coulson, Melanie Ann, Lea Durie, Laura Getson, Bill, Sue Giugni, Maia Bittner, Elizabeth Adcock, Megan O’Brien, Katie Wolgamot, Hannah Lownsbrough, Lilit Asiryan, Laura Madge, Laura Cherry, Bethany White, Paul S Mitchell, Mariele Thadani, Pip Muir and more.If you’d like to chip in a couple of dollars towards each new episode, go to patreon.com/notbyaccident.  Go to www.notbyaccident.net to find out more about the series, join the e-newsletter or to get in touch. We’ll be back with the next instalment in about 4 weeks.
Ep 31: Taking Off

Ep 31: Taking Off

2018-06-1825:371

It's May 2016. The podcast is taking off. Astrid's new cousin is due next month! And I can't decide if we should ignore the fact that we are broke and somehow find a way to go to New York for Mimi's wedding, for a reunion with our friends from Denmark one year on, while Astrid still remembers them.Time has turned in on itself. These events of mid 2016 might feel familiar, though context has changed. The series has become a mobius strip. This production is made by Sophie and Astrid Harper, in partnership with Wondery. We’re supported by generous listeners. Story editing by Michelle Webster. Thanks to my family and friends for being part of the story, and especially to Astrid.  Music from freemusicarchive.org - CC NC License:Weathered Home 3:Bird Split Sky by Candlegravity, Sound Merchant by simon_mathewson and Readers! Do You Read? by Chris Zabriskie.  Ad music from freemusicarchive.org - CC Commercial License: Drop of Water in the Ocean by Broke For Free.Sponsors care/of: US listeners, for 25% off your first month of personalized care/of vitamins, visit takecareof.com and enter code ACCIDENT.Hello Fresh: US listeners, for $30 off your first week of HelloFresh, visit hellofresh.com/accident30 and enter code ACCIDENT30 Thank you kind people supporting us on Patreon! Margaret P. Jones, Trish Perlen, Angela Kim, Emma Burbank, Ellie McHale, Russell Kerrison, Julie Greenhalgh, Rebecca Reid, Kasey Tomkins, Dianne Firth, Anne Staude, Sarah E. Leslie, Adam Coulson, Melanie Ann, Lea Durie, Laura Getson, Bill, Sue Giugni, Maia Bittner, Elizabeth Adcock, Megan O’Brien, Katie Wolgamot, Hannah Lownsbrough, Lilit Asiryan, Laura Madge, Laura Cherry, Bethany White, Paul S Mitchell and Mariele Thadani and more.If you’d like to chip in a couple of dollars towards each new episode, go to patreon.com/notbyaccident.  Go to www.notbyaccident.net to find out more about the series, join the e-newsletter or to get in touch. We’ll be back with the next instalment in about 4 weeks.
Ep 30: Going Public

Ep 30: Going Public

2018-05-1821:572

I get to work on too many ideas. I’m going to work for myself. That’s decided. I register as a business, open a bank account, brainstorm plans, buy three web domains. There are a lot of things I want to do. I’ll be a freelancer, teaching, video production, maybe other things, but not too much. I can’t be swamped because there’s more. I’ll start an online documentary school. I’ll write some books. I know what I want to write. I’m itching to start. And I have three podcast ideas. Cooking with my mum, documentary filmmaker conversations, and our story. I want to do them all!I have to pick a place to start and our podcast is the one closest to my heart. I try to turn down the volume on all my screaming ideas and to concentrate. Since 2011 I’ve recorded clips from my life, from our lives, with the hope that one day I could use them to tell the story of becoming a single mother by choice. I’ve been writing little passages in my head for years. I have 300 audio clips, about 200 hours. I listen, I trim, I take notes, I double the speed. Days pass like this. It’s going to take forever. Sometimes it feels voyeuristic. Peering into a past life. One I’d partially forgotten, as if it’s someone else’s. I pick a date. I announce the series. Now I can’t back out. This is happening.   This production is made by Sophie and Astrid Harper, in partnership with Wondery. We’re supported by generous listeners. Story editing by Michelle Webster.Thanks to my family and friends for being part of the story, and especially to Astrid. Music from freemusicarchive.org - CC NC License:Charge Into 2015 by Dexter Britain, Eutrophic by Mystery Mammal and Ennui by Lee Rosevere. Ad music from freemusicarchive.org - CC Commercial License: Drop of Water in the Ocean by Broke For Free.Hello Fresh: US listeners, for $30 off your first week of HelloFresh, visit hellofresh.com/accident30 and enter code ACCIDENT30Thank you kind people supporting us on Patreon! Margaret P. Jones, Trish Perlen, Angela Kim, Emma Burbank, Ellie McHale, Russell Kerrison, Julie Greenhalgh, Rebecca Reid, Kasey Tomkins, Dianne Firth, Anne Staude, Sarah E. Leslie, Adam Coulson, Melanie Ann, Lea Durie, Laura Getson, Bill, Sue Giugni, Maia Bittner, Elizabeth Adcock, Megan O’Brien, Katie Wolgamot, Lilit Asiryan, Laura Madge, Laura Cherry, Bethany White, Paul S Mitchell and Mariele Thadani and more.If you’dlike to chip in a couple of dollars towards each new episode, go to patreon.com/notbyaccident.Go to www.notbyaccident.net to find out more about the series, join the e-newsletter or to get in touch.We’ll be back with the next instalment in about 4 weeks.
Ep 29: For Kids

Ep 29: For Kids

2018-04-1825:30

A special episode of Not By Accident for kids! It's a child- appropriate recap of Astrid's story, at her request and with her involvement. The first part is about when she was little. The second part is about life now that she's big. This production is made by Astrid Harper and Sophie Harper, in partnership with Wondery. We’re supported by generous listeners.  Music from freemusicarchive.org - CC NC License:The Time to Run (Finale) by Dexter Britain, Readers! Do You Read?And Dividerby Chris Zabriskie and Something Elated by Broke for Free. Ad music from freemusicarchive.org - CC Commercial License: Drop of Water in the Oceanby Broke For Free. Hello Fresh:For $30 off your first week of HelloFresh, visit hellofresh.comand enter code ACCIDENT30 Thank you kind people supporting us on Patreon! Margaret P. Jones, Emma Burbank, Ellie McHale, Russell Kerrison, Julie Greenhalgh, Rebecca Reid, Kasey Tomkins, Dianne Firth, Anne Staude, Sarah E. Leslie, Adam Coulson, Melanie Ann, Lea Durie, Laura Getson, Bill, Sue Giugni, Maia Bittner, Elizabeth Adcock, Megan O’Brien, Katie Wolgamot, Lilit Asiryan, Laura Madge, Laura Cherry, Bethany White, Paul S Mitchell and Mariele Thadani and more.If you’dlike to chip in a couple of dollars towards each new episode, go to patreon.com/notbyaccident. Go to www.notbyaccident.net to find out more about the series, join the e-newsletter or to get in touch. 
Ep 28: Consolidation

Ep 28: Consolidation

2018-03-2120:48

We’re trying to create a home, but I have things to sort out. The detritus of my life is in storage units and suburban garages. The belongings I packed away as one life stage ended and a new one began; they’re spread around. It makes me feel uneasy. Summer is upon us, our Danish shipment has settled into our new apartment, and I feel ready at last to consolidate. Ready to re-contextualise myself, in my own life story. As you try to contextualize yourself, and our little family that looks different to the ones you see around you. And find your place in our wider family. I have a storage container in Sydney. I moved to Denmark with two boxes and two suitcases. Shipping the rest didn’t make sense. As years passed, with the monthly direct debits adding up, I wished I wasn’t so sentimental. I wished I’d let go from the start! I try not to think about the money, I’ve come this far. I spend another thousand dollars having it brought to Canberra in a truck, the big pieces, the small pieces.  It’s a time capsule of my Sydney life. These are the things I spent years collecting, that made me feel like me. I’m back in Surry Hills, in my street, in my tiny terrace house that I loved so much. The memories flood back and it all feels so strange. Once it’s assimilated, there’s more to take care of. My parents broke up when I was 15. It’s not a particularly unusual story. It was a shock. It took time to get over. The family home went up for sale. I packed up my bedroom, my childhood, and put it away. It all went off to my Dad’s new garage. We rediscover treasures, shed what we don’t need or want, we consolidate. I pack some new boxes: For Astrid age 5, For Astrid age 6, For Astrid age 7. For when you’re ready. A childhood of memories, in boxes, for the next generation.  This production is made by me, Sophie Harper, in partnership with Wondery. I’m supported by generous listeners. Story editing by Michelle Webster.Thanks to my family, my friends and my daughter for being part of the story. Music from freemusicarchive.org - CC NC License:Starling by Lee Rosevere, Think On It by Ian Sutherland and Spellbound by Broke for Free. Ad music from freemusicarchive.org - CC Commercial License: Drop of Water in the Ocean by Broke For Free.Sponsors:RXBar Kids: Go to rxbar.com/accident & enter code accident at checkout for 25% off your first orderHello Fresh: For $30 off your first week of HelloFresh, visit hellofresh.com and enter code ACCIDENT30 Thank you kind people supporting me on Patreon! Margaret P. Jones, Emma Burbank, Ellie McHale, Russell Kerrison, Julie Greenhalgh, Rebecca Reid, Kasey Tomkins, Dianne Firth, Anne Staude, Sarah E. Leslie, Adam Coulson, Melanie Ann, Lea Durie, Laura Getson, Bill, Sue Giugni, Maia Bittner, Elizabeth Adcock, Laura Madge, Laura Cherry, Bethany White, Paul S Mitchell and Mariele Thadani and more.If you’d like to chip in a couple of dollars towards each new episode, go to patreon.com/notbyaccident.  Go to www.notbyaccident.net to find out more about the series, join the e-newsletter or to get in touch. Astrid has asked for something special as a belated 5th birthday present: a podcast episode that’s not boring, for adults. Her story, made for her, with her, for now. So in four weeks, we’ll be back with something a bit different. A special episode of Not By Accident, for kids.  
Ep 27: Flying Fish

Ep 27: Flying Fish

2018-02-2026:272

It’s August 2015. We’ve just moved back to Australia from Denmark and it’s strange. You’re ultra-sensitive, fearful, clingy, easily brought to tears. I probably am too. It’s been like this for months with all the change and uncertainty. I’ve hardly told anyone we’re coming. Only the family. I don’t know what’s next for us, I don’t feel particularly proud of myself, being newly unemployed, and I’m so full of questions and big emotions that I don’t feel like socializing. I just need quiet. We surround ourselves with our family, your cousins who you can’t get enough of, your grandparents, your aunts and uncles, to help us find our feet. But I feel a sense of urgency. I need to find a new home, new childcare, new work, new routines, so you feel secure again, as quickly as possible. This production is made by me, Sophie Harper, in partnership with Wondery. I’m supported by generous listeners and by my family, my friends and my daughter. Story Editing by Michelle Webster. Music from freemusicarchive.org - CC NC License:They Wait by Lee Rosevere and Too Far Away by Ian Sutherland.Ad music from freemusicarchive.org - CC Commercial License:Drop of Water in the Ocean by Broke For Free. Sponsored by Hello Fresh.US listeners, for $30 off your first week of HelloFresh, visit hellofresh.com and enter code ACCIDENT30 Thank you kind people supporting me on Patreon! Margaret P. Jones, Ellie McHale, Russell Kerrison, Julie Greenhalgh, Rebecca Reid, Kasey Tomkins, Dianne Firth, Anne Staude, Sarah E. Leslie, Adam Coulson, Melanie Ann, Lea Durie, Laura Getson, Bill, Sue Giugni, Maia Bittner, Elizabeth Adcock, Laura Madge, Laura Cherry, Bethany White, Paul S Mitchell and Mariele Thadani and more.If you’d like to chip in a couple of dollars towards each new episode, go to patreon.com/notbyaccident. Go to www.notbyaccident.net to find out more about the series, join the e-newsletter or to get in touch. We’ll be back with the next instalment in 4 weeks.
Ep 26: Equality

Ep 26: Equality

2018-01-2225:052

It’s September 2017. I’ve been feeling recently that it’s important for you understand more of who I am. You see me as a mother, a daughter, an aunt, a friend, a podcaster, a writer. But I’m also a lesbian. You’ve always known, I’ve always told you that if I fall in love one day it will be with a woman. That you won’t ever have a Dad, but maybe one day, if things work out that way, you’ll have two mums. But it’s been abstract for you until now. You’ve only ever had a single mother. I haven't been on a date in your lifetime. It’s become abstract for me too. I miss that part of my identity sometimes, being involved in that community, but I’ve been so caught up with motherhood and work and establishing life in our new home that I’ve put it aside. For later.But maybe later is now. The decade long fight for marriage equality in Australia has finally come to a head. The government, hampered by their own factions, has decided to ask the people once and for all: “Should the law be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry? Yes/No.” A one question postal survey, for all voting age Australians. Just tick a box and send it back. There’s no putting it aside now.This production is made by me, Sophie Harper, in partnership with Wondery. I’m supported by generous listeners and by my family, my friends and my daughter.Music from freemusicarchive.org - CC NC License:Passages by Kai Engel and Sunsets and Shitty Cars by Ian Sutherland.Incidental music by Chic, Sister Sledge, John Paul Young and Bette Midler. Clips from 7.30 and Insiders, ABC TV Australia. (invoking Fair Use)Ad music from freemusicarchive.org - CC Commercial License:Drop of Water in the Ocean by Broke For Free. Sponsors:RXBar Kids: Go to rxbar.com/accident & enter code accident at checkout for 25% off your first orderHello Fresh: For $30 off your first week of HelloFresh, visit hellofresh.com and enter code ACCIDENT30 Thank you kind people supporting me on Patreon! Margaret P. Jones, Ellie McHale, Russell Kerrison, Julie Greenhalgh, Rebecca Reid, Kasey Tomkins, Dianne Firth, Anne Staude, Sarah E. Leslie, Adam Coulson, Melanie Ann, Lea Durie, Laura Getson, Bill, Sue Giugni, Maia Bittner, Elizabeth Adcock, Laura Cherry, Bethany White, Paul S Mitchell and Mariele Thadani and more.If you’d like to chip in a couple of dollars towards each new episode, go to patreon.com/notbyaccident. Go to www.notbyaccident.net to find out more about the series, join the e-newsletter or to get in touch. We’ll be back with the next instalment in 4 weeks.From our family to yours, Happy New Year!
Ep 25: Farvel

Ep 25: Farvel

2017-11-2425:462

It’s Spring, 2015. Half your life ago. My six years teaching at the European Film College begin the limp to an anti-climactic end. I try to stay focused. But my main focus is you. The upheaval I’m causing. The reasons for doing it. You’re two and a half. I’m taking you home to our family, our culture, but I’m taking you away from the life, the home, the language, the community that make up your world.Once work wraps up we have some quiet weeks left to pack up our lives. I take you to Trine’s each day, to childcare, and I pack boxes, I write job applications, and I sort out the car with Steen’s help, servicing, detailing and re-registering it, ready for sale.The removalists come while you’re at Trine’s and take all our things away. I tell you they’ve gone to MorMor’s house, that’s what you call Granny, and that we’re going there too. You seem to cope with that. The shipping will take three months if all goes well. You’ll have outgrown half your clothes by then! You’ll miss your bike, your toys, the stereo. We’re left with the school’s basic furniture, two suitcases filled with summer clothes for here and winter clothes for home, a trainset Jim dropped over to ease your toy separation, and a big echoey apartment.You’ve been with Trine five days a week for most of your life. She might be the person you’re closest to after me. This is your last day. I leave my recorder with her. I want to hear you speaking Danish. At this point your Danish is probably better than mine and I know you’ll lose it when we leave. She opens a window into the life you have without me.I’ve made the decision to leave based on what you’ll gain, but I’m painfully aware of everything you’re losing.Farvel Danmark. Tusind tak for alt.This production is made by me, Sophie Harper, in partnership with Wondery. I’m supported by generous listeners. Story editing by Michelle Webster.Thanks to my family, my friends and my daughter for being part of the story.Music from freemusicarchive.org - CC NC License:Memory by Creo, Last Night in London by Daniel Birch and Completely Lost by Lee Rosevere.Incidental music by Justine Clarke and Bjork (invoking Fair Use).Ad music from freemusicarchive.org - CC Commercial License:Drop of Water in the Ocean by Broke For Free.I have some news. I’ve been awarded a grant to write a book! A literary memoir of our story. My plan, for now, is to release one new episode a month as I divide my time between the book and the podcast. Thanks for sticking with me.Thanks especially to the kind people supporting me on Patreon: Margaret P. Jones, Ellie McHale, Russell Kerrison, Julie Greenhalgh, Rebecca Reid, Kasey Tomkins, Dianne Firth, Anne Staude, Adam Coulson, Melanie Ann, Lea Durie, Laura Getson, Bill, Sue Giugni, Maia Bittner, Elizabeth Adcock, Laura Cherry, Bethany White, Paul S Mitchell and Mariele Thadani and more.If you’d like to chip in a couple of dollars towards each new episode, go to patreon.com/notbyaccident.Go to www.notbyaccident.net to find out more about the series, join the e-newsletter or to get in touch.We’ll be back with the next installment in about 4 weeks.
Ep 24: Health

Ep 24: Health

2017-10-0638:184

I get the feared call from pre-school on the last day of term. You’ve hit your head, badly. I keep a close watch on you for signs of concussion and thankfully, there are none. I feel shattered from the worry and the shock. I give up on work and pamper you for the rest of the day. The hardest thing is when you’re hurt or sick. Or when I’m sick. Or worst of all, we’re both sick. That’s when it’s hardest to be a single parent. The worry that I might miss the signs of something serious. Of seeing you suffer. Running out of supplies when we can’t just dash to the shops for more food or more medicine. When I have to miss work and I can’t think of an alternative. It’s 2015, in Denmark. You’re two. I’ve told Nadia the Principal that this is my last year, we’ll be going home to Australia in the Summer. I want to go out on a high, the way I felt when I left for maternity leave. You got sick on Friday. It’s flu or something. I will you to be well by Monday. I’m worried about work. But Monday comes and you’re not. I have a toddler with a fever who needs my care and a room full of students waiting for me. There’s nobody to step in for either role. I miss a whole week. After the course a student write on their evaluation form “It was a terrible course. I don’t understand why she couldn’t just get someone else to look after her sick kid.” No, you wouldn’t understand. It’s not something you can understand. Until it’s you.When I was nine, I got sick like that, and the disease progressed but I didn’t get better. For weeks, then months I didn’t get better. Tests began. I was tested for everything. Invasive tests, horrible tests, with no conclusions. I’ve always thought of this as my story, but now that I’m a mother I know it’s just as much hers. It took a year to get a diagnosis. Myalgic Encephalomyalitis, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. I was an active young kid, sport was the thing I did best, I swam for the school, played netball, softball, cricket, distance running, it was where I found my self-worth. And then I was bedridden, for a year. The diagnosis was a relief, I wasn’t dying, but it was a burden and a curse.This production is made by me, Sophie Harper, in partnership with Wondery. Thanks to my family, my friends and my daughter for being part of the story. I’m supported by generous listeners. Story editing by Michelle Webster.Music from freemusicarchive.org - CC NC License:Transpire by Dexter Britain, Dolphin and Snow Monkeys by Candlegravity. Someone to Watch Over Me by Blossom Dearie (invoking Fair Use). Ad music from freemusicarchive.org - CC Commercial License: Drop of Water in the Ocean by Broke For Free.I’m now on Patreon. If you’d like join the kind people who are already supporting me to produce each new episode, go to patreon.com/notbyaccident. Thanks so much to Margaret P. Jones, Russell Kerrison, Julie Greenhalgh, Rebecca Reid, Kasey Tomkins, Dianne Firth, Anne Staude, Adam Coulson, Melanie Ann, Lea Durie, Laura Getson, Bill, Sue Giugni, Maia Bittner, Elizabeth Adcock, Jessica Kindynis, Laura Cherry, Bethany White, Paul S Mitchell and Mariele Thadani for your support.To everyone who’s written to share your stories and to support me in continuing, thank you. I’m very behind with my replies, but want you to know each message means so much. Go to www.notbyaccident.net to find out more about the series, join the e-newsletter or to get in touch.We’ll be back with the next installment in about 3 weeks.
Ep 23: Community

Ep 23: Community

2017-08-3130:141

The school year is away like a fast-moving train. In the past I’d have lost myself in the momentum. Not so much this year though. This year I have you to force me to go home, to switch off, to be still, to be present. But the school is about 50 metres from our home. We’re both fixtures. You ride your little bike through vast rooms, all over the building and bash away on the student’s drum kit. It’s an extension of home for us, for all the students, and for all the teachers. That’s how I can be engaged and still be with you. I can’t imagine there’s another film school like it. I can’t imagine there’s a better place to grow up. If only our family were closer.My Dad has finished the work that was delayed by his cancer treatment. He’s well and he’s free. The first thing he does is book a ticket. You should know this Astrid. Grandpa travelled from Australia to Denmark, all that way, at the first opportunity, just to see you. This production is made by me, Sophie Harper, in partnership with Wondery. Story editing by Michelle Webster. I’m supported by generous listeners. Thanks to my family, my friends and my daughter for being part of the story. Music from freemusicarchive.org - CC NC License:You Were in my Dreams and Always by Candlegravity, Transpire by Dexter Britain and Something Galactic by Broke For Free.Ad music from freemusicarchive.org - CC Commercial License: Drop of Water in the Ocean by Broke For Free.I’m now on Patreon. If you’d like join the kind people who are already supporting me to produce each new episode, go to patreon.com/notbyaccident. Thanks so much to Margaret P. Jones, Rebecca Reid, Kasey Tomkins, Dianne Firth, Anne Staude, Bill, Sue Giugni, Maia Bittner, Elizabeth Adcock, Jessica Kindynis, Laura Cherry, Bethany White, Paul S Mitchell and Mariele Thadani for your support.To everyone who’s written to share your stories and to support me in continuing, thank you. I’m very behind with my replies, but want you to know each message means so much. Go to www.notbyaccident.net to find out more about the series, join the e-newsletter or to get in touch.We’ll be back with the next installment in about 2 weeks.
The Principal, my boss, has a job offer and decides to take it. The question of leadership opens up. While the Board search for a new Head, somebody will act. Most likely not me, though I’m Vice Principal. We’re living through the worst sleepless nights of the ear infection. I can barely get it together to brush my teeth, let alone to take real responsibility. I want to dig deep, to be as capable and strong as before, to prove something for the sake of all women. But for now I am weak.Your eardrum bursts. No more crying in pain through the night. Within days I’m stronger, better, more capable. I’m aware of the options being explored, of others being considered to lead until a new Principal is in place. But all of a sudden, I suppose thanks to who I was at work before motherhood, they decide it’s me! Thank god I’ve slept.I sit in the Principal’s office and feel like I’m in a dream. A bit like a kid wearing their parent’s clothes, a tiny bit of imposter syndrome. But mostly I feel taller, lighter, completely capable and utterly relieved to find motherhood hasn’t erased that. I can still do my job. I can step up. Because of the summer pace, I can stay on top of it and shift to part time for some weeks to spend time with you. For this moment, it almost seems I can have it all.We need a little summer break too. Time is short, work looms. I book four nights in Crete. A perfect holiday, for just you and me.This production is made by me, Sophie Harper, in partnership with Wondery. Edited by Michelle Webster. I’m supported by generous listeners.Thanks to my family, my friends and my daughter for being part of the story.Music from freemusicarchive.org - CC NC License:Libertad by Iriate and Pesoa and Other Sources by Candlegravity. Zorba the Greek by Mikis Theodorakis (invoking Fair Use).Ad music from freemusicarchive.org - CC Commercial License:Drop of Water in the Ocean by Broke For Free.I’m now on Patreon. If you’d like join the kind people who are already supporting me to produce each new episode, go to patreon.com/notbyaccident.Thanks so much to Margaret P. Jones, Kasey Tomkins, Dianne Firth, Anne Staude, Laura Cherry, Bethany White, Paul S Mitchell and Mariele Thadani for your support.To everyone who’s written to share your stories and to support me in continuing, thank you. I’m very behind with my replies, but want you to know each message means so much.Go to www.notbyaccident.net to find out more about the series, join the e-newsletter or to get in touch.We’ll be back with the next installment in about 2 weeks.
Nick called to tell me the news just before New Year’s, only weeks after we got back to Denmark. He proposed, and she said yes. I’m happy for them, of course, really happy. Nick has found the person he wants to share the rest of his life with! Selfishly I’m filled with dread at the thought of the trip, so I hope it will be a long engagement. I try to suppress the niggling feelings that weddings bring up in me. The flashing neon sign I feel lighting up over my head at times like this. “Single! Single!” The fact that even if I wasn’t, I couldn’t get married in my home country. People like me, lesbians and gays, are still denied that right. But even if I could, I can’t quite picture it for me. Motherhood has pushed that part of my identity so far away that I can’t even really imagine it.  One Saturday morning, Nick calls, not for a chat. He hesitates, reluctant to say it out loud. Still coming to terms with the news himself. Nozomi is pregnant! My little brother is going to be a Dad. He tells me they want to get married first. They want the wedding to be about the two of them. Nick fears once there’s a baby, they’ll be so consumed that they might not get around to it. They decide on a July wedding. Just a few months from now. It’s the right decision for them, and this is about them. I’m overwhelmed at the thought of the trip I agonize over the pros and cons. I’m sure we will go. We can’t not go. But then there’s another issue. One I greatly underestimated. An issue with the authorities and you.This production is made by me, Sophie Harper, in partnership with Wondery. I’m supported by generous listeners. Editorial input from Michelle Webster.Music from freemusicarchive.org - CC NC License:Weathered Home 3:Bird Split Sky and Aalborg Pulse by Candlegravity.Unison by Bjork used invoking the Fair Use Doctrine. Ad music from freemusicarchive.org - CC Commercial License: Drop of Water in the Ocean by Broke For Free.Thanks to my family, my friends and my daughter for letting me share your stories. I’m now on Patreon! If you’d like to support the series with a small donation to each new episode, you can do it here: https://www.patreon.com/notbyaccidentThanks so much to Margaret P. Jones, Kasey Tomkins, Dianne Firth and Anne Staude who have jumped on already!To everyone who’s written to share your stories and to support me in continuing, thank you. I’m very behind with my replies, but want you to know each message means so much. Go to www.notbyaccident.net to find out more about the series, join the e-newsletter or to get in touch.We’ll be back with the next installment in about 2 weeks.
Season Two Teaser

Season Two Teaser

2017-06-3005:38

When I reflect on my childhood, I think of things I had that you don’t: two parents, a brother, a sister, a big house and garden, a dog, private schooling, beach and ski holidays, no money worries… and I wonder. I wonder if I’m making the right choices.In season two, we’ll make our way through four years, from one to five, across continents, cultures, careers, seasons, struggles, successes. We’re moving forward, in ten episodes, drawing from the past, cherishing the present, heading toward an optimistic future.Here’s the crux of it Astrid. Your childhood is my priority and for you to thrive, I need to thrive too. So, let’s find our way there, together.Episode 21 will be out in two weeks, with new episodes every two weeks or so, dependent on, you know, life. Thanks for listening. It’s good to be back.This production is made by me, Sophie Harper, in partnership with Wondery, and with the support of generous listeners.Music from freemusicarchive.org - CC NC License:My Luck by Broke For Free.Ad music from freemusicarchive.org - CC Commercial License:Drop of Water in the Ocean by Broke For Free.I’m now on Patreon! If you’d like to support the series with a small donation to each new episode, you can do it here: https://www.patreon.com/notbyaccident  Go to www.notbyaccident.net to find out more about the series or to get in touch.Thanks for listening. It’s good to be back.
Ep 20: The Tunnel

Ep 20: The Tunnel

2017-03-0518:583

Sometimes the grind of life can get you down. That’s where I am as we reach spring 2014. The birds are singing again, the walks between childcare and home become a lovely opportunity to be together. Each day a little brighter than the last. But I’m tired. Always tired. I struggle to find my role again in the shifting landscape at work, and the role of work in the shifting landscape of my life. I have a dull ache in a tooth. Later. I’ll deal with it later. Three years. It’s taken me three years to deal with that tooth. I put it off until I couldn’t anymore. It was stupid to leave it, but I have been lucky, again. With the pain in my head came nights of insomnia, a racing heart and anxiety. It was about more than the tooth. It was about the money, the podcast, the moths, the feeling that life was beating me. We moved back home last month to a moth infestation. I don’t know what’s wrong with me that I can’t just rise above it, sort it out. It won’t go away by itself! Just like the tooth. Then, as it is since you came along, in the middle of my little crisis, an oasis. You turn four! During the celebrations, I take my dad aside. Enough of living in denial. It’s a year since I started making this podcast. 20 episodes. I haven’t wanted to let anyone down so I haven’t allowed myself to take a real break, and making this podcast, all alone, is hard. It’s hard work, and it’s emotionally hard. It’s time to rest, take stock, get life under control, live a little, make some money, try to be a better than usual mother, daughter, sister, friend. I’ll read, watch and listen to other people’s stories, and slowly make my way back to ours. With all my heart, passion, energy and focus, the way I started a year ago. Sometimes the grind of life can get you down, and sometimes that means adjusting course. This production is made by me, Sophie Harper, in partnership with Wondery. I’m supported by generous listeners and the Australian Cultural Fund. Thanks to my colleagues, my family, my friends and my daughter for your support, in life and with this podcast. Music from freemusicarchive.org - CC NC License: Protect Me and Global Culture Collision by Candlegravity; Cylinder Six by Chris Zabriskie. Ad music from freemusicarchive.org - CC Commercial License: Drop of Water in the Ocean by Broke For Free. US listeners, support the series and eat well! Hello Fresh is my first sponsor. Sign up at www.hellofresh.com and use the promo code 'noaccident35' to get $35 off your first delivery. Everybody wins! Care.com are our new sponsors! To save 30% off a Premium membership—and receive a $15 credit that you can use toward paying your caregiver, visit care.com/noaccident when you subscribe. We’d like to know more about you, so please help us by filling up a quick survey at wondery.com/survey. It should take less than 5 minutes, and it really helps. Thanks!
Ep 19: Turning One

Ep 19: Turning One

2017-02-1420:531

Episode 19: Turning One The shock of being back at work is becoming routine. Even the pre-sunrise race to childcare. I feel sorry for myself, and can't quite believe I made life choices that led us to this, as I force your pram through snow drifts, scarf guarding my face from the elements; you wrapped up like a bundle, bewildered, squinting to protect your eyes from the snow that whips across the landscape. It's ridiculously hard. Comically hard. I start to look at people with cars the same way I looked at people with jobs as an unemployed graduate: Do you even know how good your life is?! I fantasize about buying one. I've started saving. I fantasize about giving up and going home. Did I really choose this over Australian weather and our family? Spare moments start to fill with thoughts of your upcoming birthday. Your very first birthday. Packages arrive. I'm happier than if they were for me. The night before, I get a late night burst of pleasure rearranging the furniture and making a birthday display for you to wake up to. Imagining your delight makes me as delighted as anything can. Surpassed only by witnessing it. This production is made by me, Sophie Harper, in partnership with Wondery. I'm supported by generous listeners and the Australian Cultural Fund. Thanks to my colleagues, my family, my friends and my daughter for being part of the story. Music from freemusicarchive.org - CC NC License: Mell's Parade and High School Snaps by Broke For Free; Weathered Home 3: Bird Split Sky and Fieldtrip by Candlegravity. Ad music from freemusicarchive.org - CC Commercial License: Drop of Water in the Ocean by Broke For Free. US listeners, support the series and eat well! Hello Fresh is my first sponsor. Sign up at www.hellofresh.com and use the promo code 'noaccident35' to get $35 off your first delivery. Everybody wins! Care.com are our new sponsors! To save 30% off a Premium membership—and receive a $15 credit that you can use toward paying your caregiver, visit care.com/noaccident when you subscribe. Go to www.notbyaccident.net to find out more about the series or to get in touch. We're having a survey blitz this month. Could you take 5 minutes to respond at wondery.com/survey? It helps. So do the iTunes reviews. Thank you kind listeners for the recent ones. I read them all and a nice review in the morning totally makes my day. We'll be back in two weeks.
Ep 18: First Day Back

Ep 18: First Day Back

2017-01-2717:242

I still don't know if I can do this. I start work tomorrow, after a whole year off, with sleep deprivation still affecting my memory and my ability to cope, with my emotions always close to the surface. I don't know if I can be the mother I want to be and do my job well enough that I'm not letting everybody down. I do know it's going to be really hard. I hadn't understood before you arrived how painful it would feel to be away from you. I hadn't understood that I couldn't leave you with just anybody. That you'd be a defenseless baby, just starting to crawl, when I went back to work after a generous year of maternity leave. I wish we had a few more months. Suddenly I have to be away from you for 8 hours a day, starting today, after having spent only hours away from you in your whole life until now. It physically hurts. I know I'm spoilt, I'm privileged. Thank you Denmark, I am forever grateful for the generous paid leave. I was only just starting to feel ready to leave the house at the point most women have to go back to work! It's been the best and most rewarding year of my life and I don't want it to end. To top it off, on Monday, it's my birthday. I'm 40. This production is made by me, Sophie Harper, in partnership with Wondery. I'm supported by generous listeners and the Australian Cultural Fund. Music from freemusicarchive.org - CC NC License: 'Simple Hop' and 'Caught in the Beat' by Broke For Free; 'Out of the Skies, Under the Earth' by Chris Zabriskie; 'Don’t Say Goodbye' by Candlegravity. Ad music from freemusicarchive.org - CC Commercial License: 'Drop of Water in the Ocean' by Broke For Free. Thanks to my family, my friends and my daughter for your willingness to be part of the story. To Tally Abacissis who’s podcast series 'First Day Back' inspired more than the title of this episode. Finally, thanks, Michael for the coffee, and thank you, Jenny for the cake. US listeners, support the series and eat well. Hello Fresh Has signed on to support me for 2017! Sign up at www.hellofresh.com and use the promo code 'noaccident35' to get $35 off your first delivery. Everybody wins! Go to www.notbyaccident.net to find out more about the series or to get in touch. I’ll be back, at work, in two weeks.
Ep 17: Tomorrow Morning

Ep 17: Tomorrow Morning

2016-12-2416:221

I’ve been thinking a lot about the expectation of an exchange: you help me move house, I’ll buy you pizza and beer; you babysit, I’ll do the same for you another day. I had thought it rare that people do things for others without expecting anything in return. I’ve been wrong. People have done things for me, particularly since I became a parent, when I couldn’t offer anything back but friendship and gratitude. Acts of kindness and generosity have come without judgement, even though I’m judging myself, feeling I should be able to do it all. They come not as an offer I can refuse, but as a statement of how it’s going to be. There is kindness and generosity and community all around, if you slow down enough to let it in. Summer has well and truly arrived, and I’ve barely stopped to look forward to the holidays. Weekdays have had the usual rhythm of childcare drop-offs, quiet days working alone, and happy reunions in the afternoons. I’ve been so grateful for this bunch of people who care about you and me and our family, who join me in a laugh or a winge, who let it pass if I struggle to make conversation when my mind is making its way back from somewhere else. Often these are the only adults I talk to all day and they’ve made this a much happier year for me too. Jenny and Grandpa are hosting Christmas this year. It’s going to be huge. A proper hot sunny suburban modern blended family Australian Christmas. This production is made by me, Sophie Harper, in partnership with Wondery. I’m supported by generous listeners and the Australian Cultural Fund. Thanks to my family, my friends, our childcare centre and my daughter for being part of this podcast. Music from freemusicarchive.org - CC NC License: Sidewalk Chalk by Broke For Free; Ink and Lifted by Dexter Britain. Ad music from freemusicarchive.org - CC Commercial License: Drop of Water in the Ocean by Broke For Free. US listeners, support the series and eat well. Hello Fresh Has signed on to support me for 2017! Sign up at www.hellofresh.com and use the promo code 'noaccident35' to get $35 off your first delivery. Everybody wins! Go to www.notbyaccident.net to find out more about the series or to get in touch. We’ll be back late in January after the summer break, ready for a new year. From all of us to all of you, happy holidays!
Ep 16: The Emails

Ep 16: The Emails

2016-12-1432:332

Crossing the world from Australia to Thailand to Denmark, ending my maternity leave, ending 2013. A sense of loss, a sense of anticipation and anxiety, a reminder of and reliance on great friendships, and a wonderful holiday. The emails tell the story, starting with this one: > Sent: Monday, 2 December 2013 1:17 AM > To: Diana; David; Charlotte; nicholas; Jennifer; Rebecca > Subject: Hi from Bangkok > > We have made it and everything went more smoothly than I'd dared to hope. No > blowouts, no tears (oh maybe a few from me), no squeals, a bassinet, happy neighboring passengers, successfully distracting toy > collection and even a decent nap. > > We're both exhausted and sensibly Astrid has gone to bed. I will follow > soon. > > Thanks all for your help and support this week. We couldn't have managed > without you. > > Love Soph This production is made by me, Sophie Harper, in partnership with Wondery. I’m supported by generous listeners and the Australian Cultural Fund. Thanks to my family, my friends, and my daughter for allowing me to talk about your lives. Thank you for the reviews, messages, and donations! I’m very very behind with my replies, but hearing from you means so much! Music from freemusicarchive.org - CC NC License: Love Breaks, Deliberate Acts of Kindness and We’re Not That Different by Candlegravity; Pattern 4 by Cyan341. Ad music from freemusicarchive.org - CC Commercial License: Drop of Water in the Ocean by Broke For Free. US listeners, support the series and eat well. Hello Fresh Has signed on to support me for 2017! Sign up at www.hellofresh.com and use the promo code 'noaccident35' to get $35 off your first delivery. Everybody wins! Go to www.notbyaccident.net to find out more about the series or to get in touch. I’ll be back for Christmas, in about two weeks.
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Comments (2)

Joanne Lucas

Absolutely love this podcast! I binge listened years ago and I was captivated by their story. I always love to see a new episode has arrived.

Feb 25th
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meghan lundgren

Such a sweet thoughtful story that is heartfelt and raw at the same time. Thank you for sharing your family's story and for taking a chance on yourself with this podcast!

Aug 2nd
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