*Reposted from Olive Tree Birthing's Blog
For the last several months, I've been planning my bicycle adventure to Oregon. I did a practice ride last fall, and I have spent many hours looking over my maps, googling the camping options and local sites.
Preparing to leave in six weeks brings me back to the time when I was excitedly anticipating the births of each of my children, though this time I know exactly when I'm flying out to Virginia to begin my ride. I can't say I had the promise of such an exact time when I was eager to meet my babies!
When I say, I have six weeks left, I think about how I feel when I know I have a limited amount of time before I embark on this adventure. This is much like when I knew I had a finite amount of time before my family welcomed a new baby; there was so much to do! I was so ready! I needed more time! Why hadn't I taken advantage of the many months prior to this 6-weeks-left mark?!
I also am grappling with the idea that I've publicly shared my lofty goal to bicycle across America, though there is nothing that is guaranteeing me a certain experience or outcome. When I was expecting my children, I don't remember if I shared my preference for a certain birth or experience. But for many women, it can feel daunting to confidently proclaim she WILL HAVE her desired birth without deviating from her plan. And as a birth doula, I encourage the families with whom I work to learn about and understand why interventions may be suggested or perhaps preferable. Because, we never know how birth will unfold, even for the woman that has done "everything" she could to have a certain experience.
So, here I am, soon to be flying out to Virginia to begin my bicycle ride. I could tell myself that I will most definitely meet my goals and expectations. I could give myself some space to stop before I reach Oregon, knowing that I "may not be able to do it." But honestly, right now, I'm at a place where I am visualizing riding on that first day, away from the Atlantic Ocean and headed towards the Pacific. I am imagining days where I'm just so exhausted, wondering why I even schemed up this ride. I can picture crying myself to sleep, as I think about my children and husband. And the best thoughts include cycling into camp at the end of the day, feeling proud of my body and my perseverance.
Much like birth, I thought about how it would feel to hold my baby at the end of labor. I imagined looking down at my child's face, seeing this new person for the first time. I dreamt about how wonderful it would feel to welcome this sweet soul into our family. With cycling, I think about the end goal, whether it be the end of a day, a week's worth of riding, or the end of my 10-week (?) adventure.
With six weeks left, I know that I have a lifetime before I leave as well as a blink of an eye. This time is sacred and I'm so grateful to even be in this position to dream about sunsets over mountain passes and the smell of the ocean air as I ride into my final destination.
Interested in following my ride? I am keeping a blog at amybikes.com, and I would love to share with you my joys and challenges. Want to mail me a letter or a care package? Email me and I'll be sure to send you my mail drop information.