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.
You're six days old. I apprehensively pack my things and prepare to be discharged. It’s been a surprisingly idyllic little sanctuary, this hospital room. I'm not sure I'm ready to leave yet, but we have to start our real life together sooner or later. And we won't be alone, not yet. My mother is busy all day everyday, from this day, for months, cooking and feeding me, making cups of tea for visitors, fielding phone calls, rocking you to sleep when I've run out of steam. I honestly don't know how I could do this without her. And to be clear, the food isn't average. She's an amazing cook and a food writer, and right now she's cooking as if our lives depend on it, which, in a way, I guess they do. All the strength I have is for you and I can only offer it because my mum is looking after me. My nipples are sore, but it's not terrible. Some days I have to brace myself as you latch on to endure the first few seconds of pain, but after that it's ok. I'd had so many fears about breastfeeding, whether we'd be able to do it, whether there's be a problem, whether I'd have enough milk for you. Once again I'm one of the lucky ones. I've read you books about unconventional families all your life. We even have a book about a single woman having a baby with donor sperm. I want you to know your story and for it to be normal, so you don't experience the shock of discovery. It's difficult though when pretty well all the children you know have a mum and a dad, including our cousins. You first asked me why you don't have a dad before you were three. I was flustered and did my best, but didn’t feel I'd done well. It didn't take long for you to ask again, and I did a little better. Now I've had 5 or 6 goes, and I never come away feeling I've really got this under control. It's hard, and it will keep being hard. It was father's day here in Australia this month. This was our biggest test so far. I was grateful for the sensitivity of the wonderful women at your childcare. The kids made cards and yours meant so much to you that it came to bed with us every night that week. When the day came, you had the afternoon with Grandpa all to yourself. And he had you all to himself too. Not By Accident is made by me, Sophie Harper, supported by 152 generous donors through the Australian Cultural Fund. Thanks to my family, my friends and my daughter for allowing me to record, and for the practical and moral support. Please subscribe, rate and review to help the series find more listeners. Go to notbyaccident.net to sign up to my occasional email newsletter, tweet at me @byaccidentnot and if you know anyone who might like to listen, please share! Music by permission from the artist: Sofia by Versus Shade Collapse. Music from freemusicarchive.org - CC NC License: Opus 4 by Dexter Britain; Red Danube by Lee Rosevere; Note Drop by Broke For Free.
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Go to www.notbyaccident.net to find out more about the series or to get in touch.
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