Goals for the Time in Between {Thoughts on Babies, Breastfeeding, and Biking}

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As of last week, I am not pregnant and not breastfeeding for the first time in over FOUR years. Gil stopped nursing, and therefore I am not feeding, supporting, or nurturing anything with my body on a daily basis.

I have my body all to myself!

It happened sort of unexpectedly. Gil had only been nursing once a day (before bed at night) for months and months now, and I kept dawdling about weaning him. We were about to move, and then we were moving, and then we were traveling, and then we were settling. The time was imminent, but not yet. And then last Saturday night he was so tired that he threw a tantrum, and I couldn’t get him to calm down or even nurse. I finally just put him in bed. He was asleep within seconds. And the next day he didn’t want to nurse, and I thought, “Can it really be this easy?”

And it was. Some aches for me and some distractions for him, but that’s it. No more Mama’s milk for my little boy.

Before I get all sappy about how that makes me feel, let’s focus on the fact that for the first time in three years (three years!!!) I have a completely “baby free” body. This is cause for celebration! What have I been waiting to do for three years that I’ve put off because I’ve been pregnant or breastfeeding? What have I said I would do “one day when my babies don’t need me every few hours”?

Now is the time to do it!

And so here are a few things I’ve been thinking about:

  • Run a 5K. I used to do this. I used to run a lot in college, and once — very foolishly — I even ran the Charlottesville 10 Miler. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done (even worse than birthing babies) because I am not a naturally strong runner and I hadn’t trained well at all. But 5Ks I did and I can do, and I’d really like to get to the point where I’m running regularly enough that a 5K is feasible and even fun.
  • Make a habit of rising early to read God’s Word. I mentioned here that I’ve started doing this — albeit sporadically as of yet — and it has been delightful and refreshing. I’ve wanted to do this but always had babies who slept with me or seemed finely attuned to wake up whenever I did. Now Gil really does sleep till 7:30 even if I get up. It’s finally time.
  • Bike around our town with my kids in tow. Shortly after moving here, Elliott and I found a great deal on a double bike trailer on Craigslist, and then we found an amazing blue vintage bicycle from the 1960s for me. All that was left to do was hook one to the other and take ’em out for a spin, and this weekend we did! The kids loved it, and so did we. But, I realized, this is my chance to use the trailer and the bike: before Lena wants to ride her own bike and before we have another baby (because babies cannot ride in bike trailers or bike seats until they are at least 12 months old). Let’s take this window of time and pedal everywhere!
  • Tone my six-pack abs.ย Juuuuuuuust kidding. This one might be the hardest to make happen, actually. Starts with a confession: I cannot do a sit-up. A traditional, lying-on-the-floor-to-sitting-up sit up. I also have soft, stretch-marked skin on my stomach that I hide from everyone, even the doctor. When I’ve confessed that I think my bikini-wearing days are over (not that I even want to wear one, I just want the option of wearing one), a couple good friends have suggested I try to tone my stomach muscles. See what happens. Maybe all that extra skin will tighten up over tighter muscles. What do you think?
  • Go on a big trip with Elliott. Just the two of us. Somewhere for more than one night. We’ve gone on a couple of getaways in Sicily and one in Paris, but they were always 24 hours or less. My dream (a lifelong dream of dreams!) is to go to Machu Picchu and the Galapagos. With my outdoorsy, animal-loving veterinarian husband, I can’t think of a lovelier vacation. But I would be also love to go to San Francisco or Portland or even somewhere in Mexico (which is just 15 miles away!). Do you have any suggestions?

Did you ever set goals for yourself during a season of in between, like “before I get married I want to…” or “before we have our first baby we want to…”? It’s motivating for the time between, I think.

Or even if those things never happen — because being blessed with another baby is not a given, just like anything in life — there is joy in making the most of the here and now. And of thanking God for today and carpe diem-ing it like there’s no tomorrow.

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24 Responses to Goals for the Time in Between {Thoughts on Babies, Breastfeeding, and Biking}

  1. Meg October 9, 2014 at 5:27 pm #

    You are so good at goals! And…goals that are accomplishable. May you have the blessing of accomplishment!

    • Becca October 11, 2014 at 10:56 pm #

      Thank you, Mom!

  2. Katie October 9, 2014 at 6:45 pm #

    I haven’t birthed babies and from what I understand the changes to the body are profound and can take years to adjust to. BUT, any body is a bikini body if you put a bikini on it. Whether you can do sit ups or not. :)

    You’re an inspiring woman and mama. Congratulations on having your body back to yourself– it sounds like you’ve got a lot to look forward to with your more-independent kids!

    • Becca October 11, 2014 at 10:56 pm #

      Thanks for the encouragement, Katie. :) And I love what you said about a bikini body being whatever you put into a bikini. That IS so true.

  3. Emily October 9, 2014 at 9:52 pm #

    I have wanted to be a “morning person” since I first knew what one was, and I never have had success–that is, until the last few months (although I’ve been slipping the past week or so!). What shifted my attitude was that sort of “now or never” thinking. A blogger spoke about how much more time she had to herself before having a baby, and, while I knew that reality before, something about the way she framed it just clicked with me. When else will I have the time to set aside part of my morning to care for only myself?

    • Becca October 11, 2014 at 10:59 pm #

      So true, Emily. But I will say that I don’t think you need or crave that alone time as much pre-kids because a lot of the rest of your day can be peaceful, focused on caring for yourself, and spent alone. When kids enter your life — especially a newborn — you no longer have lunch breaks, evenings, 11pm pre-bed quiet, or weekends to yourself.

      So (thinking of what I would tell my pre-baby self) don’t push yourself to get up early and care MORE for yourself now… maybe think about training yourself for your baby days by spending more time caring for others and spending time giving yourself away!

  4. Genny October 9, 2014 at 11:40 pm #

    It would be a great time to visit nearby wine country! Julian and Temecula are beautiful and only a couple hours away. You could stay at a bed & breakfast, see the fall colors, and do some wine tasting. There’s even a camel dairy out in Julian that does occasional tours.

    • Becca October 11, 2014 at 11:00 pm #

      This is such great advice, Genny! Just read this comment out loud to Elliott. He loves the idea of the camel dairy! We’ve been dreaming a little more now of a getaway while my sister-in-law is staying with us; she’s hear for the next 5 weeks. Perfect time for a little trip!

  5. Anne October 10, 2014 at 1:29 am #

    Congrats on having your body all to yourself, and for breastfeeding for so long, it’s truly an accomplishment. If you feel like you have the time to train for a race, DO IT! I trained for a marathon after my first, before my second baby and now with three I feel like it is so hard to find time. Thanks for sharing your goals and dreams, it’s inspirational! Oh by the way, your kids are adorable :-)

    • Becca October 11, 2014 at 11:01 pm #

      Ugh, a marathon… I will save that for MAYBE after all my kids are at least a few years old. Really, though, I can’t imagine all the time and dedication training for a marathon would take! Way to go. I’ll start small and DO IT. :)

  6. Alica October 10, 2014 at 2:08 am #

    Oh, the possibilities! I think you should go to Cannon Beach OR if you get the chance. I admire the way you think…you seem so disciplined and deliberate in everything you do. Well, at least the things that you share on your blog! :) That’s a great bike, by the way.

    • Becca October 11, 2014 at 11:02 pm #

      Thank you, Alica, I love the bike too. We’d absolutely love to go to Oregeon; we’ve both never been but have heard only rave reviews about every part of it (Portland, beaches, national parks, etc.). We have friends in Oregon that we’d love to visit as well, but they have little kids too, so maybe we’ll do it as a family sometime!

  7. Christie October 10, 2014 at 3:25 am #

    Congratulations! I experienced that non-pregnancy, non-breastfeeding stage for about a year after our fourth turned one. It was wonderful! Unlike you, I didn’t realize it enough to set goals; I just wondered why it seemed easier to do dishes and laundry and to pick up and go places. = ) Now I’m nursing our fifth and I think it’s even sweeter the “second” time around. = )

    Thanks for being bold about sharing the desire to read God’s Word! It’s a constant struggle for us young moms, so it’s nice to hear about others who are trying as well.

    Abs? Forget about it. Just kidding, I’m working on that, too. I want my back to be stronger to serve and play with my kids.

    Love your posts!

    • Becca October 11, 2014 at 11:03 pm #

      Thanks for the encouragement and the camaraderie, Christie. :)

  8. Joy October 10, 2014 at 5:38 am #

    Wow!! Big time for you!! Those sound like great goals! I would love to take a little getaway with my husband, too, but I’d be happy for just a couple nights. We took a little getaway a few years ago when I was pregnant with Wyatt. It was just one night and we went to Yosemite, but it was great. Definitely need to do that more!

    I’m not sure I’m in an “in-between time”, but I guess right now I’m working on my writing a little more. I’m also trying to simplify my life and figure out what “enough” is. I’d like to become someone who opens her house more to guests (having dinner parties, game nights, etc.). Are those goals??? I don’t know… ;-)

    • Becca October 11, 2014 at 11:03 pm #

      Actually, we were just talking today about going to Yosemite together while my SIL is here. It would be so beautiful, and it’s only about 6 hours away!

      And YES, those are goals and great ones. You and your guests will benefit and enjoy it so much!

  9. Maria P. October 10, 2014 at 4:13 pm #

    I’m an avid runner and ab-burner, but now that I’m pregnant that’s slowed way down! I hate traditional crunches, but I loooove planks – you could give them a try! It’s fun to set timed goals (start with ten or twenty seconds and work your way up). It’s hard not to get discouraged that I’m already not able to do nearly as much as I used to, but I’m looking forward to slowly working back up to goals once our baby arrives in April.

    • Becca October 11, 2014 at 11:04 pm #

      This is so funny because my SIL was just telling me yesterday that planks were really the way to start. They’re great at getting your ab muscles to come back together, she said, and she’s an L&D nurse, so I guess she knows, haha. I’m working on them… did about 20 seconds today and it was tough!

  10. Sarah Boschung October 21, 2014 at 2:43 am #

    Great goals!!! I like the 5K one–it would be fun to find a race and run together! And if you need a babysitter for your trip… ;) ;) ;) XOXO

    • Becca October 28, 2014 at 6:52 am #

      We’d love that! And you are SO MUCH BETTER of a runner than me now, Sarah. You took up the running challenge and have left me far behind. So proud of you with the NYC marathon coming up again so soon!

  11. Melissa January 24, 2015 at 12:01 pm #

    Becca, I’m excited to have found your blog! After years in DC, we just moved to Rome with two littles. There has definitely been some culture shock, but we are having fun on our adventure.

    This post really resonates with me. My youngest is almost 9 months so we are still breastfeeding, but whenever he is done, I will be in the 4 years pregnant or breastfeeding camp. There are many things I’m looking forward to doing–like reclaiming my mornings and running–when he is done. And I know this will happen in the next few months which feels soon and also incredibly far away. Part of me looks forward to being done, but I keep trying to remind myself to enjoy this season while it lasts.

    • Becca January 28, 2015 at 10:05 pm #

      I’m so glad you enjoyed this post, Melissa, and welcome to Italy! We had so much fun there, and I loved Rome. Although I wish you good luck with running there! It’s not for the faint of heart with so few sidewalks. :)

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