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this is prompted by a few comments on another post (link below), that i felt deserved a proper response and may be of interest to others.

the initial comment in the discussion was:

"What would it be like to turn all of that nurturing energy onto yourself, without guilt? You’re a human too."

well, my question is how? we have feminine socialisation that makes this so difficult to contemplate, let alone do.

it was also pointed out that we don't want to let this socialisation impact future generations. how can we achieve that?

eta: also wanted to mention something that might be related. nurturing others is a source of pride for me, i have cats and i do everything i can to give them the best life possibly, that makes me feel proud. when i think about doing the same for myself, i feel shame (internalised misogyny). has anybody else found this and did you find ways to take pride in giving yourself the same care you give others?

this is the link to the comments, thank you very much to the posters who raised these thought provoking points:

this is prompted by a few comments on another post (link below), that i felt deserved a proper response and may be of interest to others. the initial comment in the discussion was: "What would it be like to turn all of that nurturing energy onto yourself, without guilt? You’re a human too." well, my question is how? we have feminine socialisation that makes this so difficult to contemplate, let alone do. it was also pointed out that we don't want to let this socialisation impact future generations. how can we achieve that? eta: also wanted to mention something that might be related. nurturing others is a source of pride for me, i have cats and i do everything i can to give them the best life possibly, that makes me feel proud. when i think about doing the same for myself, i feel shame (internalised misogyny). has anybody else found this and did you find ways to take pride in giving yourself the same care you give others? [this](https://ovarit.com/o/WomensLiberation/156489/mothers-are-not-privileged/abe1a2c0-ddb1-47e7-8c69-0521e8d7004a#comment-abe1a2c0-ddb1-47e7-8c69-0521e8d7004a) is the link to the comments, thank you very much to the posters who raised these thought provoking points:

19 comments

[–] SecondSkin 9 points Edited

For me, despite years of therapy (for csa) the thing that made it click for me that I deserved that nurturing was becoming a mother.

Because children learn by modelling. And nothing I could do to teach my daughters they deserved self nurturing and prioritising would be effective, if I didn’t model that behaviour in myself.

That won’t be a popular answer with the anti mothering crowd, and I’m not suggesting it’s a feminist answer or that this happens for other women in this way. But for me, after extreme csa and a decade of therapy, appearing to function well on the surface (good relationship, friendships, career etc) I didn’t feel like I learned that skill at all. Until I had daughters. And I had to nurture myself to be able to have the energy and sanity to nurture them. And during the early days when their life depends on that dynamic, it clicked somehow that I wanted them to always been free to prioritise themselves, that I wanted them to know being selfish was a positive thing. If I didn’t have them when I did, maybe more therapy or something else would have made it click for me anyways, but for me this is what made it sink in.

*I don’t know how that could be of help in your situation, but just that it is possible to be free to self nurture. Even if I ended up there in a way some so called feminists wouldn’t go yay about.

thank you for sharing your experience and i'm sorry about what you went through. i didn't suffer csa but have had sa including a period of over a year and the first incidents occuring when i was 15 (i'm sure you know untreated ptsd makes you vulnerable to revictimisation). i think part of what makes it hard to nurture myself is that i've been made to feel by those men and the police that it was ok to hurt me. it turned me into a complete pushover because i'd never been made to feel like it was wrong to walk all over me and worse. therapy has helped me stand up for myself better but its a work in progress.

it completely makes sense that realising you are going to model behaviour for a child clarified things for you. its especially important for daughters. in my attempts to have children i've focused so much on how, if i had a son, i'd avoid taking out my extreme anger at men on them, that i'd not thought much about what would happen if i had a daughter.

While I totally get what you are saying, some of us had mothers who had no trouble prioritizing themselves and it wasn't a pretty picture, at least in my experience.

this is very true. i think there is a distinction here between narcisstic mothers and ones who look after themselves in a healthy way.

i had the opposite, my mum was brought up with very victorian views of women's roles and cannot advocate for herself at all. its also not pretty because she had so much pent up anger and resentment and she would get really depressed when i was young which children don't understand. she still can't say what she wants to do unless you actively ask her and prod for an answer.

as with everything its the middle way.

[–] SecondSkin 8 points Edited

Don’t doubt it, I had one who only cared about herself. But i do care about my girls and I can’t care for my girls if I don’t take care of myself. The air plane analogy about mothers needing to put their mask on first brought it home to me when they were teeny. If I didn’t eat and sleep and ask for help when I needed it, I wouldn’t be safe to care for and nurture them.

And when they were older, I wanted them to see that I didn’t just exist for them, that I have my own needs that matter too. I do think that’s easier to do when there’s a decent supportive father or step parent around though.

Yeah, getting your own mask on is essential. Getting the pedicure may not be. I think this is advice best tailored to women struggling at the mask level.

Thanks for posing this question, I'll be really interested to see what others suggest. I reckon we all struggle with this to one extent or another.

I'll preface by saying I am not an expert by any means; in fact, since having a kid I have usually fallen off the bottom of my own to-do list most days. I am, however, very much aware of it and also aware that it's not doing me any good, so I am working on it at the moment!

I would say start small and basic. Are you eating well and at consistent times that work for you? Are you sleeping enough? Do you get enough fresh air and sunlight? I know that's absolutely rock-bottom basic but so often we don't even give ourselves that.

I had really shit periods before pregnancy and got really into menstruality/menstrual cycle awareness as a way of dealing with the shitty symptoms (extreme mood swings, cramps that knocked me on my arse for 2 days, migraines mid-cycle and pre-menstrually). I found it really, really helped to give myself time to rest premenstrually and the first couple of days of bleeding; it sounds like nothing but honestly it helped a lot. From there I was able to build up structuring life where possible around those rest times. What clicked for me was the understanding that without that rest time, I would pay in much worse migraines and/or cramps, so I essentially had the choice of going to bed a bit early a few nights in a row, or being forced to call in sick to work because I couldn't stand up. If it hadn't been so severe I don't know what would have made sense to me; and in fact now I don't get either the migraines or the cramps (touch wood), I find it easier to brush off and just keep going.

starting small is definitely the way. especially when its quite alien. i've had times when i found it hard to let myself have hand cream. now i will have nice smelly hand cream so that's an improvement and its sad to think back.

but its definitely something to build on. if you can't apply hand cream, you aren't going to be feeling up to standing up to a shitty boss or whatever.

listening to your body and being able to nourish it is also a great idea. i lost years in anorexia and hard drug problems so i lost all connection to my body. i was completely numb. its still something very difficult for me. tbh i've never even tried to track my cycle symptoms, mines a bit weird cos i had amenorrhea for over a decade. i have a tracker cos i'm trying for a baby and you can put loads in there but i just didn't see the point. i have quite unstable moods so it would be interesting to see whether they correspond to any points in my cycle and might help me cope with them better.

And you know, once you've got the basics down, and your attitude is, you know what, no, I won't compromise on eating lunch when I'm hungry because if I skip lunch I can't think straight, or no, I need my evening walk to stay sane, then you can build on that and go to, well, ok, what do I need to nourish my mind? To nourish my heart? What boundaries do I need to start putting in place to protect myself?

If you want to read more about menstrual cycle awareness I'd recommend Alexandra Pope's books The Wild Genie and Wild Power - one or the other, not necessarily both.

Seconding tracking PMS symptoms. It went crazy good for me, being able to separate what’s a big deal vs. what’s hormonal, and after a couple years, I’m able to just “feel” when it’s PMS. I don’t think we listen, really listen, to our bodies nearly enough.

I don’t think we listen, really listen, to our bodies nearly enough.

Just highlighting this because it is SO TRUE. It's so hard, when we're bombarded with information on all sides, surrounded by noise, by things that need doing, people who want something, did I feed the cat, did I lock the front door, did I turn the cooker off, all the things we field on a daily basis and most of it is cerebral (idk how to say it otherwise, but it requires conscious thought), and to then tune into a different frequency, that is, what the body is saying... it's hard. But so, so important.

I’ve been trying to solve this one for years! I think it’s fundamental. And even though I’m resourceful, I am explicitly aware of the problem, I’m really into this kind of shit, I have a supportive partner who explicitly wants me to prioritise myself, I’ve been trying for years, and I think it’s important… it’s still really hard lol. I started from a baseline of pathological over-empathy and sensitivity and I still feel like my energy kind of “leaks” out of me from the sensitivity. I’m convinced that if I could truly prioritise myself in the deepest levels of my unconscious, I’d be much physically healthier and I’d have so much more energy and I’d get so much more done. It’s so much easier to do things for other people than for myself!

Things that work, somewhat, are practicing self-compassion, various Taoist practices including working with sexuality (I never feel like I’m giving sexual energy away any more; I think that sexuality is a very fundamental part of how women get brainwashed into deprioritising ourselves and unfortunately the propaganda around this keeps getting more extreme) , meditation and qigong.

I’m glad you asked the question, just here for other women’s answers.