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Not By Accident

Wondery

An audio documentary series about becoming a single mother by choice, not by accident. I’ve been using my audio recorder like a sketchbook or a camera for the past five years, capturing important moments and conversations on my path to single motherhood. I recorded my deliberations as I made my decision to have a baby on my own, and as I took action: telling family, friends and work, choosing a donor, insemination… I kept recording when it was more about reaction! Pregnancy, morning sickness, midwives, labour pains, birth, breastfeeding, sleep deprivation, ear infections, routine, chaos, travel, work, childcare, searching for a new equilibrium. This is a story about how life happens and we can’t always control the circumstances or events, we just have to deal with what comes our way. But now and then we can make a big choice, and take action and set life on a new course. We don't have to just accept things as they are. We can make life more what we want it to be. This series is a record for my child, and for people like her. It’s for anyone struggling with the momentous decision, some way along the journey or living as a fully-fledged 'single mother by choice' or 'choice mom' like me. It's for those trying to understand decisions and actions being taken by someone they love. It’s for all the wonderful unconventional families who make the world a much more interesting place, and for all the wonderful people who accept and support us.

An audio documentary series about becoming a single mother by choice, not by accident. I’ve been using my audio recorder like a sketchbook or a camera for the past five years, capturing important moments and conversations on my path to single motherhood. I recorded my deliberations as I made my decision to have a baby on my own, and as I took action: telling family, friends and work, choosing a donor, insemination… I kept recording when it was more about reaction! Pregnancy, morning sickness, midwives, labour pains, birth, breastfeeding, sleep deprivation, ear infections, routine, chaos, travel, work, childcare, searching for a new equilibrium. This is a story about how life happens and we can’t always control the circumstances or events, we just have to deal with what comes our way. But now and then we can make a big choice, and take action and set life on a new course. We don't have to just accept things as they are. We can make life more what we want it to be. This series is a record for my child, and for people like her. It’s for anyone struggling with the momentous decision, some way along the journey or living as a fully-fledged 'single mother by choice' or 'choice mom' like me. It's for those trying to understand decisions and actions being taken by someone they love. It’s for all the wonderful unconventional families who make the world a much more interesting place, and for all the wonderful people who accept and support us.
More Information

Location:

United States

Networks:

Wondery

Description:

An audio documentary series about becoming a single mother by choice, not by accident. I’ve been using my audio recorder like a sketchbook or a camera for the past five years, capturing important moments and conversations on my path to single motherhood. I recorded my deliberations as I made my decision to have a baby on my own, and as I took action: telling family, friends and work, choosing a donor, insemination… I kept recording when it was more about reaction! Pregnancy, morning sickness, midwives, labour pains, birth, breastfeeding, sleep deprivation, ear infections, routine, chaos, travel, work, childcare, searching for a new equilibrium. This is a story about how life happens and we can’t always control the circumstances or events, we just have to deal with what comes our way. But now and then we can make a big choice, and take action and set life on a new course. We don't have to just accept things as they are. We can make life more what we want it to be. This series is a record for my child, and for people like her. It’s for anyone struggling with the momentous decision, some way along the journey or living as a fully-fledged 'single mother by choice' or 'choice mom' like me. It's for those trying to understand decisions and actions being taken by someone they love. It’s for all the wonderful unconventional families who make the world a much more interesting place, and for all the wonderful people who accept and support us.

Language:

English


Episodes

Ep 31: Taking Off

6/18/2018
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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...

Duration:00:25:37

Ep 30: Going Public

5/18/2018
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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...

Duration:00:21:54

Ep 29: For Kids

4/18/2018
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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...

Duration:00:25:30

Ep 28: Consolidation

3/21/2018
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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...

Duration:00:20:48

Ep 27: Flying Fish

2/20/2018
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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....

Duration:00:26:27

Ep 26: Equality

1/22/2018
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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...

Duration:00:25:05

Ep 25: Farvel

11/24/2017
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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...

Duration:00:25:46

Ep 24: Health

10/6/2017
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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...

Duration:00:38:18

Ep 23: Community

8/31/2017
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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...

Duration:00:30:14

Ep 22: Lessons From Zorba

7/31/2017
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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...

Duration:00:22:43

Ep 21: My Brother's Wedding

7/14/2017
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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....

Duration:00:18:01

Season Two Teaser

6/30/2017
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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...

Duration:00:05:38

Ep 20: The Tunnel

3/5/2017
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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...

Duration:00:18:58

Ep 19: Turning One

2/14/2017
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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...

Duration:00:20:53

Ep 18: First Day Back

1/27/2017
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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...

Duration:00:17:24

Ep 17: Tomorrow Morning

12/24/2016
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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...

Duration:00:16:22

The Gift Of Listening: A Holiday Special

12/20/2016
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Why do we listen? If you ever wondered why you're so drawn to podcasts, this Holiday Special is just for you. Not By Accident host Sophie harper is joined by the hosts of 15 other podcasts to talk about the gift and the power of listening. The world needs a lot more of it, that's for sure. Be the first to get the next Gift: Smarturl.it/giftoflistening In the New Year, resolve to listen with a special offer from our sponsor: Audible.com/Wondery Subscribe to all the Wondery shows today: A...

Duration:00:31:16

Ep 16: The Emails

12/14/2016
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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 >...

Duration:00:32:33

Ep 15: Counting Down

11/24/2016
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Happy 4th birthday Alex! We have a party in Granny's garden to celebrate. An opportunity to try out my new recording gear. Your donations have gone to good use, thank you. I've caught up with myself. Here's Alex's first birthday! You sit together at the party in a paddling pool full of coloured balls, and you play. He seems so grown up, able to crawl around to whatever takes his interest. You're not mobile yet, but you can sit! It's a whole new perspective on the world. I can't believe I'm...

Duration:00:22:49

Ep 14: Long Days, Short Months

11/8/2016
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We’re staying at Granny’s this week. She fell and fractured her kneecap. Considering everything she’s done for me during my life, and at the start of yours, taking us in, feeding me, caring for you when I reached my limit, when I got that 24 hour vomiting bug and couldn’t stand up... What would we have done without her? This feels like the least we can do. We’re sleeping in the room you call ‘our bedroom’, falling into some old routines. I struggle to put things in the right places when I...

Duration:00:27:20