36 episodes

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.

Not By Accident Sophie Harper

    • Society & Culture
    • 4.7 • 223 Ratings

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.

    Ep 34: Springtime

    Ep 34: Springtime

    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.

    • 40 min
    Ep 33: Enough

    Ep 33: Enough

    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.

    • 20 min
    Ep 32: And the World is!

    Ep 32: And the World is!

    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.

    • 29 min
    Ep 31: Taking Off

    Ep 31: Taking Off

    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.

    • 25 min
    Ep 30: Going Public

    Ep 30: Going Public

    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 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, 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.

    • 21 min
    Ep 29: For Kids

    Ep 29: For Kids

    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.

     

    • 25 min

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5
223 Ratings

223 Ratings

Yin 4 ,

This is just what I’ve been searching for!

Thank you Sophie and Astrid. Until I listened to your podcast I was struck by the lack of conversation around the emotional challenges and fears we face in making the decision to become a solo mum. Your story is a refreshing, raw and real perspective on the joys and heartache of this path. It’s been so validating. I’m already feeling sad for when I reach your final episode. So much gratitude x

jessljohnson ,

Bingeworthy

Just found this wonderful podcast, it’s like listening to my own thoughts read out to me. Plus her super soothing voice. Thank you

Jazzie96 ,

Exceptional

The most beautiful slice of life. Sophie’s journey, Astrid’s childhood, their family and their friends, I feel I know and love you all.

Being able to be part of the quiet parts of someone’s life, to see behind their doors and witness the joy, sorrow, excitement, apprehension, discovery and magic of a young family being created is an honour one rarely receives.

I heard in an episode that someone mused whether Sophie just has a compulsion to overshare and I was horrified. Sophie, your honesty, warmth, and unashamed humanness is incredible. To see humanity in its “mundane” beauty is a gift, trudging through the snow in the darkness to take your baby to daycare may not be glamorous, but it’s human. Mastitis may not be pretty but it’s human. Your struggles and fears may not be something we usually see from those we aren’t close to, but they’re human. Not once have I felt it was an overshare, your sharing has opened my heart and I have cried and laughed and been in awe of your skill as a storyteller. To see raw humanity is vital in our quest for connection and belonging. Sharing our humanity is the antidote for isolation, for both the sharer and the ones blessed enough to hear.

Thank you for this podcast. It’s exceptional and one that I share with my friends, we are in our 20s with the magic of the future stretching out ahead of us, all young, all LGBT, all looking for more representations of the families we may have one day. To see a lesbian single mum who created her own family and who unashamedly shares her family with us is a gift.

Thank you for your sharing. Thank you for your honesty and integrity. Thank you for not sugarcoating the hard stuff and thank you for letting us share in your joy.

I highly recommend this podcast. Thank you ❤️

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