A s my health improves and I feel more secure with my baby care skills, we begin to venture out. We meet my sister Charlotte, who looks so relaxed and confident out here in public.
I can't even imagine feeling that way again, but I try to let it rub off on me. We sit and I breastfeed to settle you. Thankfully, you attach easily, barely allowing a glimpse, restoring my modesty with your little head, looking like you're sleeping in my arms.I can block out the world and find my centre again.
Charlotte is in her last weeks of maternity leave. The thought of being away from you actually hurts and I'm grateful that I won’t have to face this for a long time. I haven't decided if I'll return to Denmark when my year is up . I don’t know what will be best for us. The decisions I'll have to make will be both practical and emotional.
You already know we did go back. When you were 10 months old, the two of us moved back to Denmark, to full time work for me and full time childcare for you. In my mind it is an 18 month commitment. I don't want you to be away from your family for any longer than this. When things are good it’s workable, but if you get sick I have no options. I have to stay home and then my students have no teacher. Even when we are both well, I can't put in the hours I did before. I feel I'm not being the teacher or the mother I want to be. I'm always letting somebody down. I don't want to live like this.
As we left Denmark a year ago, I could see three paths: to find another ambitious job in Australia, to study again, or to stop searching for outside options and commit. To put paid work and institutional security on hold for creative work. This is the financially irresponsible option. For me, the bravest and riskiest option.
It's also the one that allows flexibility so I can be available for you when you needed me, guilt free. This is what I want to try, but I have to fight hard against my instinct to seek security, structure, and the validation that comes with working for a great institution. I start the podcast. The pressure of responsibility has a way of keeping me focused. I'm getting traction. We are on TV, we're on the radio, in print, at home and abroad. It's not always good, but mostly people receive what I'm doing in the spirit in which I'm doing it. There are no geographical boundaries, which is exactly what I'd hoped. People are listening, it's resonating, they're donating money to help me continue. Audio makers reach out, and I'm welcomed in. A network, Wondery! I’m not alone anymore. I'm part of something bigger! And with that, sponsorship! An income! It's modest, but it's an income! I'll be able to service my car, go to the dentist, buy new pants to replace the ones that suddenly only reach the top of your socks. Throw out my maternity bras! I'm on the way to making a living again, but this time working for me.
"This is the financially irresponsible option. For me, the bravest and riskiest option."
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, my daughter, and to Dan Lizette, Lea Thau, Jon Cohen, Michelle Webster, Cathy Gray, Kate Montague, Koren Helbig, Hernan Lopez, and to listeners and friends who believe in what I'm doing and have encouraged and supported me to keep doing it. My new network Wondery would like to know more about you, so it would be great if you could fill in a quick survey at wondery.com/survey. Thank you for the iTunes reviews and for the messages, and donations! I feel very blessed. Granny's (Diana Lampe's) poppy seed cake recipe for Astrid: http://www.goodfood.com.au/recipes/pearfect-20130408-2hgtd Clips: ABC Double J with Myf Warhurst and Ian Walker; The Podcast Digest (episode 95) with Dan Lizette; SRSLY podcast, New Statesman #43 with Caroline Crampton and Anna Leszkiewicz; Strangers with Lea Thau (Not By Accident episode); SBS TV The Feed: Sperm Tourism. Music by permission from the artist: I'm Going to Die by Versus Shade Collapse. Music from freemusicarchive.org - CC NC License: Candlepower by Chris Zabriskie; Happy Together by Dexter Britain; A Year and The Great by Broke For Free. Ad music from freemusicarchive.org - CC Commercial License: Drop of Water in the Ocean by Broke For Free. Support the series by going to http://www.hellofresh.com and enter the promo code 'noaccident' to save $35! (US only) I'll be back in two weeks to tell you about the gentle and happy routines of early motherhood.