Why is it so Bloody Hard to be Kind to Ourselves?

So much for posting every Monday...going to go for posting once a week day may change dependent on my mood, what children are doing, time etc. This week I was chomping at the bit to get writing but - with all children being sick to varying degrees and my energy being ridiculously low due to sleepless nights caused by the glamour of non stop itching, thanks pregnancy for another delight - it didn't happen until now and the dishes are staying unwashed until tomorrow so I can. 
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This week included International Kindness Day which got me thinking about why it's so bloody hard to be kind to ourselves. It's a big part of The Joy Project - which I should probably write a bit more about for those of you who are new to my blogs, will I wait till another week? No I'll explain it as speedily as possible now...

In 2014 after obsessively training for two years -and I mean obsessively even ringing my coach to ask if I could eat fries on a rare night out, when he said no (jokingly) I didn't order them - in order to compete as a bikini competitor in a bodybuilding competition I had a breakdown. Consumed with body loathing, depression and anxiety and not knowing where to turn one night I had a rock bottom/crossroads moment and from that created a six month experiment based on positive mindset rules that I followed daily. One of the ten rules was to smile at my reflection in the mirror each day along with kindness to others and kindness to myself.
It was a success and helped me immensely in recovering from an eating disorder and that is how the Joy Project was born a sort of concentrated version of my experiment taking from it what worked (I'll share the joy triggers in my next post) and sharing it with others, and now thanks to this pregnancy I'm trying to follow it which is how The Bundle of Joy Project was born. An unexpected change to my plans but one that feels right...because being a Mum is hard and being a Mum who is kind to yourself is really hard.

Struggling with it big time lately and one thing this pregnancy has shown me is that I'm not quite as good as it as I thought and that it's something you have to keep working on. I think like so many women I set the standards for myself way higher than I'd ever set for anyone else and put far too much emphasis on the way I look being a matter of importance. As I mentioned briefly in my last post when I made the decision to postpone the new online run club due to simply being too ill, almost instantly a wave of depression descended and lasted for about three weeks during which time I began to convince myself that people including my family and this new baby would be better off without me. In moments of clarity I knew this meant my self worth was way too wrapped up in how hard I perceived myself to be working and providing to the pot financially, in not doing so I felt a failure and why didn't I praise myself for being a Mum?

Physically I've always known that my body shape has a direct relationship with how I feel about myself, I was twelve when I first began dieting which led to seriously unhealthy behaviour that I do know I've left behind forever (bingeing/purging/extreme restriction), I know rationally that my external appearance isn't anything to do with what really matters about me as a person but this pregnancy oh my god I've found myself turning away from the mirror again like I used to and feel like I'm in the wrong body.

Yesterday a midwife told me she admired my honesty when asked how I was doing my answer was "OK considering I hate and really struggle with all the changes that come with being pregnant"

It's a sentence that comes loaded with guilt because I know that there are millions of women desperate to conceive and wishing for what I have but I'm honest about it because in a world where pregnancy is associated with words like joy, glowing, beautiful, amazing, miracle I feel it's important to know that it's ok and your not abnormal if you don't feel that way.

I'm beyond grateful for this baby, and yes I get that what the body does is ridiculously amazing - there is a human growing inside me right now - but almost from conception pregnancy seems to take away my identity. The sickness means I can't eat let alone work or train, once I can eat again my body which is used to a fairly regimented routine suddenly doesn't follow any kind of plan other than get bigger and bigger, my style is gone because I can't fit into any of my clothes, my underwear is now leaving grooves in my skin, or afford to go on shopping sprees. I simply don't feel like me. And the only way to make what seems an almost unbearable situation at times bearable or even enjoyable is to stop being so bloody hard on myself.

So I'm trying. Trying to smile at myself a little more and although self care is about much more than pampering to be as an added extra I this evening slapped on some self tan (though in hindsight not sure it will help with the itch) and ordered a new bra from Littlewoods. Hallelujah for Littlewoods!

It isn't only pregnancy either, no one has the perfect life (no not even the ones that look as if they do on social media), no one avoids feeling frustrated and overwhelmed with their children. The perfect house, car, career, bank balance none of these things have anything to do with your value as a human being on this earth.

Part of The Joy Project/Bundle of Joy Project is the Positive Exchange and one of the exchanges is to switch Self- Criticism for Self -Kindness so maybe you might join me in at least being aware of how you think about yourself and if possible, where you can being a bit nicer.

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 or Facebook https://www.facebook.com/hannahlillyjoyproject/
 where I also post most days.

On an unrelated note but gave me a laugh this happened yesterday - 
Went to my midwife appointment ...turned out I needed to see a consultant too...lovely if slightly eccentric & hard to understand possibly French man who gave me an unexpected scan and I think maybe told me it's a boy, but I'm not sure couldn't quite get what he was saying or if it was a joke and drenched in sweat & slightly frazzled from wrestling Charlie into pushchair I didn't clarify! Went something like this...
Him - "You keeping it a surprise...no?"
Me- "Well, I don't know can you tell?" (Meant to be finding out as a family in Dec never found out before)
Him, jiggling the scanner about "open legs leetle baby!"
"See between the legs? I think I see something. Look!"
I hadn't a clue what I was looking at...
Him - "Is like feeshing in murky water...Maybe not a girl." 

What on earth just happened???


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