Friday, 7 February 2014

Pretending

by Bex

Although I am aware that sometimes I might be a bit depressing and I have started to worry that it seems like I'm going on about IVF and so pretending might be a good option for the sake of a happier (although less honest) blog.  But I've been trying to fool myself into being happy and positive and thought that behaving as if I am happy and positive might make it be.  I want to be the inspirational person who faces something difficult and deals with it well.  The person who writes quotes such as these...

http://www.pinterest.com/pin/250794272973129306/

The truth is, I am not coping.  I tried to be that person and I failed.  I am not happy.  I am not feeling positive and I have no courage.  My hope is gone.

Even just a few months ago, around the time of our second round of IVF, when I really didn't know if fertilisation would fail again, if that would be it, duff eggs, no embryos for us, I was still hopeful.  You can ask Roz, I was having crazy ideas of us announcing pregnancies on the blog together, thinking of how amazing maternity leave would be, being able to spend it with one of my best friends.  Having each other to rely on for advice during sleepless nights and general 'what do I do?' support.

For the last couple of weeks I've been struggling and this last week (which I'm really hoping is mainly down to hormones) I have been really very sad.  I'm crying as I write this and I had to come home early from work today (Wed) as I kept getting tearful, not very professional and I am just exhausted at the moment.  I've been relying on books lately to keep me occupied and see me through the latest bout of waiting.  But now even that is difficult.  I can't seem to stop the thoughts.  All the time.

Even the other things I use for distraction aren't working at the moment.  'THE THOUGHTS' are triggered by so many things.  Twitter - bad idea.  I really didn't want this to be an issue.  I don't want to avoid others' happy news but SO many of my friends are now pregnant and have babies, there's no getting away from it, sometimes it seems like that's all their lives are about and it's all they have time for which I'm sure I would feel like if I was lucky enough to be in that position but it just adds to the feeling I have of being left behind.  It just reminds me of what I'm missing and will probably never get to be a part of.  As much as I want to be the cool, fun aunt to these babies and not the jealous person I seem to have become, I just can't help it.  But that's the thing about life - try as you might, you can't control it.  And I'm having a hard time controlling how I deal with that.  My plan of letting go isn't working.

http://www.pinterest.com/pin/250794272973035099/

'The thoughts' at the moment mostly revolve around never.  All the things I am convinced I will never get to do, to experience and I'm having trouble coming to terms with that.  The thing for me is that when things are going wrong, I cope by thinking about what to do next, about the plan.  Now it's come to this and I don't know what to do next.  I have no plan.  I can't see where we go from here.

TV is another distraction which is backfiring - the other day it was The Simpsons that set me off.  Maggie had a baby book.  I still love looking through my own baby book that my mother filled in.  I remember buying one for the first close friend of mine who became pregnant.  I couldn't wait to be able to make one of my own and now I fear I never will.  The Johnson's baby advert which is on at the moment, all about how amazing having a baby is, the start of new life - it had me in tears.

I know you might try to tell me that it isn't over yet, that I am giving up prematurely.  The thing is, I just don't believe it will happen for us anymore.  There have been so many apparently rare things discovered about us along the way, I really think it's just not meant to be.  Even this last one was supposed to be easily fixed by a simple op and even that couldn't happen.  I'm still waiting on the results of my MRI but Nik is convinced that they are just looking to figure out why it didn't work rather than to see if they can try again, he doesn't see what they can do any differently.  I won't find out for another two weeks for definite but I feel like this is the end.  I feel like I'm just waiting for the inevitable.

I try to think about the positives - we won't have to worry about sleepless nights or nappies or vomit all over us or the worry and illnesses, time off work and all the stuff you need to spend money on.  But really, I mainly think about the stuff we'll be missing out on.  The good stuff I've read and heard so much about.  The love, being a proper little family, making people grandparents and uncles, sharing happy news with our world and having things to look forward to for the rest of our lives.  People talking about how our child looks like us.  The photos.  Oh, the photos.  If you know me at all, you know how important photographs are to me.  After our wedding, some of you know I was a bit disappointed with quite a few of our photos.  I swore then and even said to Nik, that when I got pregnant I was going to pay for a really good bump photoshoot.  We may not have one amazing wedding photo of us to have on the wall but we would damn well make sure we got a good one of us starting our family and showing off the happiest moment since our wedding.  There are dozens more, all sorts of little and big moments I have imagined that are now just the 'nevers' going round my mind.  It makes it hard to see what good things might ever happen.

http://www.pinterest.com/pin/250794272968884597/

I'm not ready to let go yet.  I can't.  I guess that's my biggest problem at the moment.  Fear of the future.  All I feel at the moment is what's the point?  I currently have nothing to look forward to.  Nothing.  I have no idea what kind of life is waiting for us.  We're supposed to be going to Bristol next week yet it still isn't booked as Nik can't confirm that weekend off for his interview.  It would be a nice break but it's mainly to check out the place as it's on the list of jobs starting later this year.  I try to hope that moving will be a good thing but without knowing even where it will be it's hard to look forward.  We have no idea which placement we'll be given and without a baby or the potential for one, I am again fearful of what life will be like wherever we go.  Being a Mum was supposed to be my life at the moment.  And that life is gone.  I know we never had it to start with but I still feel like I'm grieving.  So what is my life now?  That is where the sadness comes from.  What is the point?

I've been thinking about this for a couple of days now, I'm still not sure if I'm even going to publish this post.  I know it's depressing and just having written it feels a bit of a relief.  I just want people to understand why I'm retreating again.  I can't face work at the moment, I feel terribly guilty as I know people are relying on me being there but this morning, the thought of going in and having to face members of the public and maintain my professional persona is just too much to bear.  I don't have the kind of job where I can just go in and hide and get on with work.  I woke up this morning and instantly felt sick thinking about it and I called Nik (who was finishing up his night shift) and burst into tears.  I think I might now be dealing with anxiety as well.  Most of my colleagues are very supportive and sympathetic.  I've already called my doctor about possibly getting referred for counselling.  I think I need to talk to a professional about everything I'm feeling and hopefully they can give me some guidance on how to move on.

I'm currently trying to work through all these emotions and just concentrate on things that might make me happy.  Yesterday on my day off I slept all morning (I haven't been sleeping well at night - the thoughts usually attack then!) and then spent all afternoon planning an outfit, getting ready and painting my nails.  I was invited to a menu launch and knew some friends were going and thought it might do me some good.  I had a nice time but then I got home to our empty flat and again, the thoughts came.  I didn't get to sleep until very late.

This is not what I thought life would be like.  A future without any chance of a baby is not what I thought I'd have to deal with in my life.  We have been thinking more about adoption lately and I started writing more about that here but I've decided I need to learn to cope with how I'm feeling at the moment before I start discussing that.  Amy's also pointed out to me this morning (I texted her as she's always been open about anxiety and how she deals with it) that I need to stop pinning inspirational quotes because actually, rather than being inspiring, they seem to be making me feel inadequate.  A good point and I never really thought of it like that.  I'm sure I can't be the only one feeling like this and I can only hope writing about it helps others feel like they're not alone having these thoughts.  It's not going to change anything but if it can make this experience any less lonely that can only be a good thing.

I was looking back through my instagram pictures the other day looking for a pub golf picture and I found this one and got upset.  I look so happy in it, despite the blurry bad picture, you can see my full on big grin showing too much gum, my eyes sparkling and I remember exactly how I felt then.  I had lost weight, was on a hen do with lovely friends and making new ones.  I was ovulating that weekend, it was an exciting time, back when I was still excited that each month we might make a baby and convinced it would happen soon after a year of trying.  That was August 2012, 18 months ago.  Not long before we went to the doctor and soon after, the heartbreak began.  I don't think I've felt that happy since.  I have lost myself.

22 comments:

Anonymous said...

This is truly heartbreaking, but I have to ask - why don't you adopt?

Bringing up a child is being a mother - I know I was adopted and I feel the same way about my mum as if she'd given birth to me. It is just as rewarding. Family is what is important.

P.s Sorry for the annoymous comment, but I wanted to say that there are others out there who are going through their own miscarriages, so you are not alone.

Amanda said...

Oh Bex, It will be fine. I know saying that is going to make you want to punch things, maybe kick me. Just hang in there.Do not be hard on yourself. It is OK to grieve, to cry, to feel down, for a day or two or a few months.
When you are not able of hoping, we will do it for you.
Whatever happens you will make peace with the choices you make, but to do that you must first feel all that you need to, you can not hide this or run away from it, so just shed those tears, it will feel better. And yes, take care of yourself, avoid twitter, facebook, blogs...all that you need. And hold on to Nik and to those friends who love and understand you. Do not listen to the noise.
It sucks not having control of the things we want most dearly, there is no other way of putting it. Yet, you have to go on. And you have not lost yourself, I promise, behind the tears, happy, cheerful, joyful Bex is still there. I know.
We are there with you, and miracles really do happen.
Hugs, and hugs. Let me know if there is anything I can do

Bex said...

Hi Anonymous, perhaps you didn't read the entire post. I do mention that we have, of course, thought about adoption and although I did start writing about it in this post, it's not something I am ready to do yet. I am also aware of the low chance of us being able to adopt a baby in the UK (it would probably be an older child) and although, yes I may indeed get the same fulfilment as a mother to an adopted child, there are still going to be things I will miss out on and that is what I am trying to cope with at the moment. I need to grieve for the child and experience as a mother that I always thought I would have before I can think about going through the adoption process of proving ourselves worthy, never mind whether I am strong enough to provide what an adopted child needs. Either way, it's not going to be the same experience as being pregnant and giving birth and bringing home a baby. I don't mean to imply that adoption wouldn't be as good but I am sad about missing out on those things and associated feelings. I also feel guilty for how selfish that sounds.

It's not just a case of, oh well that didn't work let's just adopt. Perhaps I shouldn't have published this post. I just don't know if people can understand how I'm feeling at the moment and comments like that just make me feel like I should be able to pull myself together and get on with it but that is proving to be very difficult. I'm sure you didn't mean it that way but I'm finding this whole thing very hard to deal with.

Sara said...

Hi Bex,
I am an avid reader of the blog but must admit to never commenting before. I feel compelled to comment now though, more than ever. I wanted to let you know that there are people like me who don't 'know' you away from these olive pages who are rooting for you and Nik and hoping against hope that you get your miracle. I'm very much like you- I plan my life in my head and find myself constantly disappointed when things don't go right. I'm trying to learn to 'go with the flow' but it doesn't come naturally to some people and you shouldn't feel guilty about that.
I have a 1 year old son. I can say that honestly, hand on heart, I wouldn't feel any differently about him if I hadn't carried him, if I hadnt felt him kick, if I hadn't given birth to him. But I can say that can't I? It's easy for me, because I never had to worry about an alternative future. Mothers all over the world (your own included, I'm sure) will tell you that being a Mother isn't about a pregnancy it's about a lifetime of love and a family unit that you create out of the hand of cards you are dealt. But when faced with a future you cannot plan I suppose it can all seem a bit vast and empty wihtout that 'next thing' to focus on. It's ok for everyone else to philosophise and tell you that things will be ok but I know that at the moment you probably don't want to hear it. Take some time away, clear your head. You are not a bad friend for struggling to cope with other people having babies- you're a good person who is struggling to face an unknown path.
Just know that whatever happens, like Amanda says, there are lots of people hoping for you and that you don't have to always be strong. Mourn for the life you might have lost so that you can feel joy at the life you can still have. Lots of love xx

Siobhan said...

Oh Bex I wish there was anything I could do but I am SO glad you are being referred for counselling and support, with the stress you are under right now, and the hormonal turmoil your body must have been in I can totally see why you feel this way. I hope the counselling helps you with the thoughts.

A someone who gets constant thought vortexes though I have no idea what you are going through I know how hard they can be to avoid. One tip I have tried is to not avoid them as such and just accept them as being there but not getting sucked in. It is hard though but hopefully your GP and counsellor can help with that.

I know we've only recently met "in real life" but if there is anything I can ever do let me know.

Lots of love

xx

Ashleigh M said...

Away Bex sounds like you are in a bad place right now. It will pass though and you won't always feel like this whatever the out come.

Some practical things I've learnt to help with my own thought spirals. There are some great meditating apps out there that helped me calm down and sleep, but also helped me notice the thought acknowledge it but not get dragged under by it.

I also find that I am so much more stable when I have slept and although my instinct is to fill my time socially so I don't get down actually what I need is early nights and lie ins.

I very much agree with Amy that the inspirational quotes do more harm than good for me.

Also Bristol is a cool city I think you'll be happy there if that's where you end up

Love & hugs

Ashleigh M said...

Away Bex sounds like you are in a bad place right now. It will pass though and you won't always feel like this whatever the out come.

Some practical things I've learnt to help with my own thought spirals. There are some great meditating apps out there that helped me calm down and sleep, but also helped me notice the thought acknowledge it but not get dragged under by it.

I also find that I am so much more stable when I have slept and although my instinct is to fill my time socially so I don't get down actually what I need is early nights and lie ins.

I very much agree with Amy that the inspirational quotes do more harm than good for me.

Also Bristol is a cool city I think you'll be happy there if that's where you end up

Love & hugs

Crysta said...

Bex, it's ok to not be ok. You don't have to keep pretending to be happy, sometimes that just makes it worse. It doesn't make you weak.

I can't imagine what you feel like, but I can tell you that you are already an inspiration - feeling the way you're feeling doesn't change that. Stepping back from things that makes you unhappy (Twitter etc) doesn't make you a bad person, you're just doing what you need to do to look after yourself. You are still a good friend and person.

I'm glad you've spoken to your doctor about getting counseling. I hope you get referred as soon as possible. It really does help, and you will find yourself again. I'm also glad you decided to post this. I hope it helped, even if it was just a little bit.

We are behind you, every step of the way. Sending hugs and all the love in the world xx

Fee said...

Bex, I wish so much there was something I could do. This post is heartbreaking but your honesty is so brave.

Firstly, I am no doubt one of the people making your 'social media' life harder with my new baby - I am sorry. In the darkest days after we lost Patrick, I found social media unbearable but at the same time didn't want to be 'that person' who became disengaged. I think I was wrong not to, if only for a while - you must do what's best for you.

I think there comes a point when the pretending becomes counter productive. Obviously it's a different situation but I tried, sometimes successfully, for almost a year - through Patrick's funeral, subsequent bad news and struggles but then there came a point when I totally lost it. I don't know if it's part of the stages of grieving, whether it be for a person or a life you so desperately want(ed) but for me giving up on the brave face started the process not of recovery but of acceptance. Obviously we were then very very lucky that things took a turn for the better.

I am wishing with all of my heart that you get a happy ending, whatever that may look like.

Lots of love x

Nita said...

I couldn't read and run Bex. I truly am so sorry that things have been so hard for you. I totally get the feelings of anger and jealousy -when my husband left me/I was getting divorced, I couldn't stand other people announcing engagements or even being happy with their partner. I couldn't understand why they got to have that and I didn't. However now it's nearly 3 years later and I really really love my life. It's different from what I thought it would be, but it's different in a good way, an exciting way.

I am really sorry if this sounds patronising, it isn't meant to. All I'm trying (badly) to say is that somehow, some way, better things will come.

Thinking of you x

Liz said...

Bex, I read this just wanting to give you a hug through it all. I'm not sure that I have commented before but I have been reading your posts over last months and hoping for you. I'm so sorry that you have to go through all of this, I can't even start to understand how hard it must be. I truly hope you find your way through these dark days, and that you get your to have your little family in whatever shape or form it takes.
Xxx

Becca said...

Bex, like anon above, I was adopted and its made ZERO difference to my relationship with my parents....in fact, I'm probably closer than any of my friends and their parents. I was about two months old when I was adopted and my parents didn't carry me, or have that hospital experience or scans or whatnot and so what? We have new memories of the time they had to buy out Mothercare in an afternoon or got the call to say 'come pick up your baby'. You just have DIFFERENT memories but they're still memories of parenthood. I'm also in a situation where I can speak to my Mum and Dad who actually, after adopting me, went on to have a child naturally (my brother...total accident) and got to do the scans and the morning sickness and all that jazz. And you know what? When they remember stories about us....they never ever ever ever talk about the pre birth bit, only the bit where we're at home. And you get that either way....whether its natural birth or adoption. Because that's what's important. Having met my birth mother (long story) I can confirm that DNA means exactly jack shit.

I know you have to mourn for what you thought would be but you can't let it consume you. You'll be THE MOST AMAZING MUM and it doesn't matter if you get to hold that baby at 6 weeks, 6 months or 6 minutes. I also think you'd stand a really good chance of adopting in the UK. My secretary is a single mum and just adopted the most adorable 4 month old baby boy. Alone.

I know that, compared with when I was adopted, birth parents do have more rights to see their children now (which I'm totally against....again...long story) but does it really matter when it's your baby that loves and depends on you as much as any baby you gave birth to? And the only thing you don't have is the carrying of it around for 9 months? You still get to take it home and show it off and have maternity leave and do everything you were looking forward to?

Please don't write it off because its not what you originally envisaged.

Claire said...

Bex, I don't ever want you to think that you can't write here how you are feeling, you don't need to go through this alone and although none of us can ever imagine or feel what you are feeling now we are here for you.
I am pleased that you are looking into counselling, I am a firm believer of using CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) and I use it on myself all the time. I was in a very dark place in my life before we moved to Scotland and using the skills of CBT I managed to get onto a even level and was able to rebuild my life from there. There is a good website based in Scotland called Living Life To The Full which helps teach you some of the skills. It's not full on counselling but it may help tide you over whilst you are waiting and it is an approach that a lot of counsellors and mental health professionals like myself use.

I hope from the bottom of my heart that you find yourself again that you and Nik find that happy place and that you move on with the future whatever that may be knowing that you are an amazing and brave lady.

Here if you ever need to talk.

Claire xx

Anna, Oh yes! I like that. said...

She's in there, that bubbly happy girl. She is.
You are going through a really shitty, shitty thing. it's OK to be honest about that and go through this tidal wave of emotions.
I think Amy makes an excellent point. Those slogans and positive mantras are not where you're at right now. That's OK. You haven't got to feel what a 16 year old girl turned into a Tumblr image.
You are facing your worst fear, that is huge. I hope your GP gets you some counselling sessions quickly to help you through this. It's too big to go through alone.

Without disrespecting the other commenters, I would just shut off the adoption thought process if you can and try to move through this at your own speed. That is a whole other issue and one you will need more strength and clear thinking to consider.

I can't even imagine all the levels of pain and upset you are going through so I don't pretend for a second that I understand. Obviously, I don't but I do know you will get through this. You and Nik love each other very much and you will find a way together. All my love Bex. I think about you all the time. xxxxxx

hungrysquirrels said...

Oh Bex! Am so so sorry that you are going through this. I have a very very small insight into how you are feeling, and know how all-consuming the thoughts can be!
I think referral for counselling is absolutely the right thing to do, as is being honest with how you are feeling (whether to your friends or on the blog). I think you are amazingly strong for writing this post and have nothing but admiration for you.
Thinking of you and Nik!
xxx

Anonymous said...

Hi Bex

I often read your blog and don't usually comment but I felt compelled to tonight. I'm a psychologist and it sounds to me like you've experienced a pretty traumatic time that anyone in your situation would be struggling to cope with and make sense of.

It's totally ok to feel the way you do, your feelings are your feelings and you are completely entitled to them. You are not a bad person for feeling the way you do, most people in your situation would feel similarly. What's not ok though is feeling so stuck and out of control of your emotions, there's very little more frightening than that.

It sounds like right now you are doing the right thing by taking some time out to be kind to yourself. There are so many things bound up with the idea of becoming a mum, I can totally understand how bereft you must feel right now when it all feels so hopeless. And us Brits are terrible with all of our stoic but unhelpful 'move along, give yourself a shake' stuff! Time to grieve and make sense of all of this is important before you'll have the energy to think about what next.

I paid privately for psychotherapy which was worth every penny, if you can stretch to it I would highly recommend it. It helped me make sense of why I was feeling the way I was and how to accept the negative thoughts and reduce my anxiety, rather than just manage it with strategies. It made me less anxious about the future and more able to feel ok with not being in control of everything.

There's a very good reason you're hurting and it sounds like you need some emotional tlc from someone skilled enough, and who had no other agenda, to listen and help you through it.

You are important, be kind to yourself.

Anonymous said...

Yes - I missed that one line, sorry! I don't mean to sound flippant; as well as I'm in the same position. I dreamt of a family but miscarriage after miscarriage has meant that I will never have the mother - child bond in any way. So I do know how you deal right now.

Adoption for me - like the other adopted commentator has been something I cherish. My mum is my mum. She doesn't feel any different about me as a daughter as she missed out on birth. Maybe you won't ever get to this point - but give yourself the hope that you might. You deserve to be a mum.

Anonymous said...

Hi Bex

I came across your blog and post. Whilst I can't relate to everything you are going though and feeling, I can relate to parts. My husband and I knew when we married there was slim chance of us having a baby of our own, after 4 years we fell pregnant only to miscarry 2 months ago.

I am with you on the 'thoughts'. I too turned to TV as a distraction and you're right - there's lots of babies and pregnancies on that box! And if I see that Clear Blue advert one more time I may just throw something at the TV.

I suppose that what I'm trying to say is that it feels a lonely place to be, in a place of sadness where you feel you have to put a brave face on both for those around you and yourself. Please know that there are so many people rooting for your happy ending - whatever that looks like, as someone wisely said earlier - and other people who have felt, if not the exact same thing, the kind of all consuming feelings as you - all of whom will want to help you. Don't bottle them up and share them as you need to, with a counsellor, on here, with your loved ones.

I am also with you on the inspirational quotes which won't help if you're not in an inspirational place right now. However, my friend did send me this one and I hope you don't mind me sharing it as it's no bull, reality check approach helped me more than many others.

'And once the storm is over, you won't remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won't even be sure, in fact, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is for certain. When you come out of the storm, you won't be the person who walked in.'

I really hope that your storm passes soon and until then I'll be thinking of you.

xx

Lottie S said...

I'm glad you are getting a counsellor. You deserve it.

Also, take a break from social media. When I was having fertility treatment I left face book and I have not returned since. I don't ever intend to. I found it depressed me, sapped my happiness and energy and each time I saw a scan photo of someone else's baby, it took my breath away with grief.

Of course, like you say, we should be happy for others. Well, you know what? I wasn't happy for others. I was devastated for myself.

Sometimes in life you can only process that grief of your own. One day you will be happy again. Maybe just embrace the misery, the mental impact, the emotion-this is no small thing you are experiencing and you need to actively recognise that.

You need to see adoption as a potential adventure for the future. For now, it is at least a year or two away. You have to grieve, heal, maybe try again, speak to your counsellor. Adoption is not for you yet. It might be later down the line.

ALl the good wishes in the world-go and cry and let it make you feel a bit better. X



Lottie S said...

I'm glad you are getting a counsellor. You deserve it.

Also, take a break from social media. When I was having fertility treatment I left face book and I have not returned since. I don't ever intend to. I found it depressed me, sapped my happiness and energy and each time I saw a scan photo of someone else's baby, it took my breath away with grief.

Of course, like you say, we should be happy for others. Well, you know what? I wasn't happy for others. I was devastated for myself.

Sometimes in life you can only process that grief of your own. One day you will be happy again. Maybe just embrace the misery, the mental impact, the emotion-this is no small thing you are experiencing and you need to actively recognise that.

You need to see adoption as a potential adventure for the future. For now, it is at least a year or two away. You have to grieve, heal, maybe try again, speak to your counsellor. Adoption is not for you yet. It might be later down the line.

ALl the good wishes in the world-go and cry and let it make you feel a bit better. X



Amanda M said...

Stupid crazy work - I've only just seen this.

So sorry to hear that you are feeling like this but you do not have to put a brave face on it.

I am not going to make any predictions about your future as I do not have a crystal ball and I have no medical qualifications.

And I am not going to offer platitudes because you know what? It IS unfair and it IS shit. There is no avoiding that.

I think seeing a counsellor is a great idea and I'm sure will help you through. But please don't feel you have to put a brave face on it - you're entitled to feel bad and I am sure your friends, both real and virtual, wouldn't want you to suppress your sadness and would want to help.

Katie said...

Sorry for late reply. It sounds utterly hellish. Well done for writing and sharing. Thank you. I think you are wonderful, strong and very brave lady.

My husband and I had a chat about adoption, and we decided we were too selfish. Yes, we know there are lots of lovely children, needing loving homes, but in the UK they tend to be older children and damaged. We wouldn't have the skills for this. It sounds silly but you now have to keep their original names, and have contact with birth family. I'd have hated this.

I admire everyone who has adopted, and all the ones I know have had wonderful experiences.

We decided we had nephews, nieces, our careers, and that we would try to live a fulfilling life without children.

I wish you and Nik all the luck in the world.

xx

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