The Only Things You Need For Your Pregnancy From A Minimalist Mama

The Must Haves For Your Pregnancy

As an affiliate, I may receive a small stipend for any purchases made on links with no additional cost to you. I only recommend items I love and use. Thanks for supporting a work at home mom!

Effective & Healthy Prenatal Vitamin

The prenatal vitamin you use during pregnancy is extremely important. Depending on the vitamins’ contents, it can either promote or hinder your baby’s growth and development. A plant based vitamin is necessary for the best absorbtion. Synthetic versions are much less readily absorbed. It’s also important to use an organic vitamin. Pesticides, used on non-organic food, have been linked to irregular brain development and autism. My favorite plant based vitamin is the Organic Garden of Life.

Comfortable Maternity Clothes

You’ll be pregnant for nine months and for at least four of those, not fit your usual clothes. For both of my pregnancies I’ve been in maternity clothes by three months since my belly pops so early! A few of my Amazon favorites are below and

Kindred Bravely

also has some great options!

Organic Peppermint Tea

Peppermint Tea helps with heartburn, nausea, lowers stress, headaches, sinuses, and energy, so pretty much everything you need help with during pregnancy! I had a cup of peppermint tea almost every morning of my pregnancy and it instantly would soothe any nausea or heartburn I had and gave me a little boost of energy!

Water Filter

A water filter is a necessity because a leading cause of miscarriage is chlorine in tap water (learn more here). I use the Berkey filter which is one of the most effective filter systems you can get and also offers an optional fluoride filter. 

Pregnancy Journal

A pregnancy journal is great to remember your pregnancy as well as to stay engaged in your baby’s growth. I love this reflective and guided journal, Sacred Pregnancy A Loving Guide and Journal for Expecting Mothers, for a more connected and spiritual pregnancy or this simple pregnancy journal just to record memories.

Pregnancy & Birth Books

See my favorite books to read during pregnancy here.

Are there any other necessities you’d add to the list?

A Quick Guide On What To Read For An Empowered and Informed Birth

The Best Books To Read During Pregnancy

Modern birth has become scary, medical, and often, an experience mamas fear. However, it doesn’t have to be this way. There are many resources available to get educated and take power of your birth. After planning my last homebirth, and beginning to plan my second (see my birth plan here), I have found endless amazing resources to learn how to take charge of pregnancy and birth and get the experience you want.

As an Amazon affiliate, I may receive a small stipend for any purchases made with no additional cost to you. Thanks for supporting a work at home mom!

The Positive Birth Book: A New Approach to Pregnancy, Birth, and The Early Weeks

This book will help you understand all your options in pregnancy and birth and decipher what the best plan is for you. It’s full of facts and information and is not judgemental, regardless of what kind of birth you want. It even gives information on how to have a woman-centered and empowered C-section. I also recommend this book because it pulls on experiences from many different women quoting then on their personal birth experiences.

Natural Childbirth The Bradley Way

A straight forward guide to succeed in natural child birth. The book goes into depth on how to prepare your body for a healthy labor, what labor will entail, how to involve your birth partner, and how to get the information you need to make informed decision for your birth and avoid induction and surgery.

Like a Mother: A Feminist Journey Through the Science and Culture of Pregnancy

A funny and personal reflection and assessment of the modern culture around pregnancy and birth as well as the science of pregnancy and birth. A great guide to understand the basics from miscarriage, pregnancy, and labor, to postpartum and breastfeeding.

Sacred Pregnancy A Loving Guide and Journal for Expecting Mothers

A spiritual guide to pregnancy. This is one of my favorites for pregnancy because it provides resources and ideas to connect to your pregnancy experience and your baby. This also doubles as a pregnancy journal with weekly journal prompts to ensure you are feeling positive and connected to your pregnancy process.

Ina May’s Guide To Childbirth

This book focuses on women’s natural abilities to birth and empowering them to believe in their bodies abilities with science backed information. It’s a great guide to understanding how to optimize your chances of a natural birth, naturally lower pain during labor and even learn about orgasmic birth.

Mindful Birthing

A helpful guide on making pregnancy, birth, and postpartum a positive and calm experience that pulls research from the neuroscience and mind/body medical field. The book provides effective methods to reduce stress and pain while improving confidence and connection.

Hypnobirthing Home Study Course Manual: Step-by-Step Guide To an Easy, Natural, and Pain Free Birth

A great guide to learn hypnobirthing and avoid other forms of pain management. This book boasts “Over 85 percent of Hypnobirthing Home Study Course mothers birthed naturally and easily, with most saying they were entirely comfortable throughout the birth and didn’t even think of asking for pain medication.” The book focuses on teaching you to control your thoughts and gain control of your experience.

I hope with all of these empowering resources you will be able to kick the great of pregnancy and birth and gain control over your experience.

Also read The Best Resources for Planning Your Ideal Birth and My Natural Birth Plan for my information and inspiration!

Shop Marama Naturals Plant Based Pregnancy & Baby Care at Ecocentric Mom!

Books for natural pregnancy and birth


Book to read for an empowered natural birth

5 Quick Steps To Improve Your Parenting This New Year

1. Make a Detailed List Of The Parent You Want To Be

Include at least 10 characteristics of what an ideal parent is to you. For example, you could say you want to be calm, kind, and affectionate. There is a free handout to help at the bottom of this article!

2. Write 3 Things You Want To Change About Your Parenting

Get specific and write out all the details. I would even suggest writing a story down of an example of the parenting characteristics or actions you want to change. This will help you clarify the issues and pinpoint what you want to change and how you may be able to do so.

3. Make An Action Plan

Write a detailed plan for the new behaviors you are going to use to replace your old unwanted behaviors. GET SPECIFIC. For example, instead of telling when my kids aren’t listening I will calmly give them two choices. Write yourself an example to make it real: “You can get your shoes on by yourself or I can help you.”

4. Make a List of 3 Ways You Will Bond With Your Child(ren)

Choose specific activities that you will both enjoy and can do regularly. Also try to choose activities that allow you to chat and focus on each other. For example, if your child is sporty, instead of playing laser tag or something with a lot of distractions, try put put golf so there’s lots of time to chat. Some ideas for bonding with younger children is art activities, going on a walk, or some of these easy activities. Whatever you choose, schedule it in at least twice monthly. Get a calendar or planner, write it down, and stick to it. The consistency of your efforts will mean the world to your child (whether their old enough to express it or not).

5. Reflect and Improve

Although reflection requires a lot of effort, it will by far make the biggest difference in your parenting. Take time at least weekly to check in on your parenting goals and see if you’re meeting them. If not, where can you make little adjustments to make the goals more obtainable. What new examples can you write down to help remember and put into action the way you want to parent? With each reflection, you’ll be able to better embody your parenting goals.

Free parenting goals handout!

You may also find How To Be A Better Parent and The Secret To Being A Calm Mom helpful!

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The Best Resources For Planning Your Ideal Birth

My Favorite Resources To Visualize A Positive Birth

Having the birth experience you want requires planning, education, and understanding. It’s important to know all the whys behind different approaches to birth and navigate what will be best for you and your baby. If you approach birth without knowledge, your birth experience will be whatever your medical professional would like it to be rather than your own preferred experience because unless you give direction, others will take the lead. There are endless resources to understanding and learning all about birth. In order to align with the birth you want, it’s important to dive into that experience. Here are a few of my favorite resources to help learn more about birth and decipher your own ideal birth.

As an Amazon affiliate, I may receive a small stipend for any purchases made. Thanks for supporting a work at home mom!

The Birth Hour Podcast

The Birth Hour Podcast is one of my favorite and one of the most accessible resources. I listen on Spotify, but it’s available on a myriad of platforms. It’s important to be aware though that it shares ALL types of stories, including the more negative or more medical focused experiences, but it’s a great place to start in figuring out what you may or may not want. This resource is all about the birth stories and not so much the educational side of things or hearing research behind birth although it does come up occasionally. It’s a great place to start when forming ideas about your ideal birth because you’ll begin forming a vocabulary around birth and hear about all the different things that can come up and the approaches to birth. I think it may be ideal to lay off this resource or be more selective with episodes once you do have a set birth plan to make sure you’re not filling yourself with fear or giving yourself different visions of birth than you would like.

Empowered Birth Project

Instagram Account

EmpoweredBirthProject.com

The Empowered Birth Project was one of the first birth resources I was exposed to outside of my formal education and I was immediately obsessed. I had never seen birth framed as a beautiful and empowering experience before and that’s what the instagram page is all about. This page shares real stories along with, photos, and videos, and emphasizes birth education and awareness. 

Unique, eco-friendly products chosen just for you and your little one!

Pinterest

Ok so this one is probably a no brainer, but I think Pinterest a great resource for planning a birth because you can find stories, research, and inspiration for any birth you may desire. I have a Natural Birth Inspiration board you can check out here. It provides a myriad of resources from research to things like affirmations for birth.

Books

Books can be an amazing resource as they go into depth about topics allowing you to gain more understanding and possibly even more skills to prepare you for the birth you want. This is a quick list of a few of my favorites, but I will probably write a separate article shortly to go into more depth about all of my favorite birth books.

Natural Childbirth The Bradley Way

Ina May’s Guide To Childbirth

The Doula’s Guide To Your Empowering Birth: A Complete Labor and Childbirth Companion For Parents To Be

Mindful Birthing: Training The Mind, Body, and Heart for Childbirth and Beyond

In Your Community

Some of the most important resources you will use are those in your community. I personally suggest using a midwife group or hiring a doula (or both). They’re a great resource for natural and empowered birth options. You can also check into local Le Lethe League meetups which is a great moms’ support group for breastfeeding. I also suggest looking into local birth classes, pregnancy support groups, babywearers clubs, prenatal yoga, chiropractic, and acupuncture. All are amazing resources to ensure your body and mind are healthy and prepared for natural and/or an empowered birth. You’ll also find the transition to motherhood much easier if you already have a like minded mama tribe through different prenatal groups.

You can also reference My Natural Home Birth Plan for more information and ideas!

Learn how to prepare your body for labor naturally here!

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Pregnancy and birth resources
Resources for an Empowered birth

Natural Birth Plan Template!

Vegan and Gluten Free Lemon Blueberry Muffins

Jump to Recipe

As a family who strives to be minimal waste and plant based, as well as gluten free and sugar free thanks to allergies, it can be such a challenge to find tasty snacks! However, this challenge has made me a very creative cook. I’ve learned to make pretty much anything I want from scratch with alternative ingredients to meet my families needs and wanted to share with other families who face similar challenges!

This recipe was stumbled upon when the other day my toddler woke up from her nap and was dead set on having muffins. We decided to get creative a try too make something! We typically use chickpea flour and quinoa flour for baking since we can get it organic and it’s high in protein, so we busted those out! I found a recipe online for lemon blueberry muffins and used it as my inspiration and as an estimate of how much of each thing to add. Of course, I altered the recipe a ton to fit my families needs.

Typically, we use organic almond or cashew milk, but I had extra soy on hand since I need it for a recipe for Thanksgiving, so, in it went! I think it made the muffins a little more creamy tasting but I think cashew milk would have worked great as well.

The recipe is so simple my toddler helped me with all of it. Measure, mix, bake and enjoy! I hope you enjoy these as much as we did!

Gluten Free & Vegan Lemon Blueberry Muffins

Simple, high protein ingredients free of processed sugar. A plant based, delicious snack!
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Course Breakfast, Snack
Servings 9 Muffins

Ingredients
  

  • 1 1/2 Cups Chickpea Flour
  • 1 1/2 Cups Quinoa Flour
  • 2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 8 Tablespoons Maple Syrup
  • 2 1/2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
  • 1 1/4 Cups Soy Milk
  • 1/2 Cup Olive Oil

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Mix all ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Mix well removing any clumps. Add blueberries last for best consistency.
  • Pour into oiled muffin tin. Place in oven.
  • Check after 15 minutes. Poke with toothpick, if it has batter bake longer until you can remove the toothpick clean.
  • Enjoy!
Keyword gluten free, no added sugar, vegan

The Best Modern, Gentle Parenting Books

There is so much “how to” parenting information out there. Unfortunately, it’s focused on controlling children and getting them to behave however is easiest for us as the adults, but not focused on the child’s, parents’, and family’s overall well being. Even though I have a master’s degree in child development and years of experience as an early childhood teacher, I found myself struggling to find my identity as a mother. I knew pretty much all the research, the approaches, and what a child needs for healthy development, but I had no idea how to just be a mother. These books, along with experience and my daughter’s guidance, I am finally feeling at peace with my role as a mother and I hope you too find more peace in your role as a parent.

As an Amazon affiliate, I may receive a small stipend for any purchases made. Thanks for supporting a work at home mom!

Brave Parenting: A Buddhist-Inspired Guide to Raising Emotionally Resilient Children

I really enjoyed this book. Although it’s a little extra on the advice and judgement, I found so much of the content helpful in being a well rounded supportive mother. I changed my approach to big emotions and their expression (hello toddler tantrums) and it’s really lifted a weight off myself and my toddler. I hate to admit it, but the book may have been right about my over-parenting tendencies, but I was able to stop back with this book’s simple approach to both supporting positive behaviors while also allowing the expression of all emotions.

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How to Raise a Wild Child: The Art and Science of Falling in Love with Nature

This book is awesome for any parents hoping to raise a nature-loving human. It really gives you more understanding by digging into the research but also teaches how to be a nature mentor for your family. It pushed me even further to get my toddler outside daily.

1,2,3…The Toddler Years: A Practical Guide for Parents and Caregivers

This book is much more approach focused and I actually read this one in one of my child development classes, so not necessarily about your role as a parent. However, I enjoy the simple, child-focused approach and have used a lot of ideas from this book as guidance in my own parenting. I even was a substitute teacher for this center for a while when I lived in Santa Cruz. I think this is a great book to read if you’re really just trying to figure out how to approach toddlerhood and get some real and good advice on how to parent.

Mommy Burnout: How to Reclaim Your Life and Raise Healthier Children in the Process

This book is a must read for all moms. It’s totally focused on the motherhood experience and the modern problem of mommy burnout. This book truly changed my life and is probably the reason this blog even exists. This book will awaken you to the issues you don’t know exist with your own wellness and start you on your journey to repair.

Unschooled: Raising Curious, Well-Educated Children Outside the Conventional Classroom

I think all my fellow crunchy mamas will know why this is on the list. I love this book. I learned so much about the statistics about learning outside of schooling even though I have a degree in education! This book was the last push for my family to fully jump on board with unschooling.

The Awakened Family

This book made me cry in the first few minutes because it hits hard at the truth of why our kids act up and spoiler alert- it’s us. It dives into the need to disconnect from all the “shoulds” and parent from a deeper place. A truly life changing book.

Must Read Parenting Books
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The Best Modern Parenting Books To Read

What are your favorite alternative parenting books?

Car Seats Are For Cars: How To Not Container Parent

Car seats are extremely important and have saved many little ones lives. It’s important to use a car seat when in a car, however, because they’re intended for the sole purpose of keeping baby safe from an impact, they do absolutely nothing in terms of supporting the baby’s development and actually hinder development. Because they actually impede baby’s development by confining and limiting movement, it’s important for baby’s well being to only be left in the car seat when in the car.

Please note this article is not intended to shame parents but rather to inform and empower them to make the best decision for their family.

Switching from one container to the next reduces the amount of time and ability for a baby to kick, turn their head side-to-side, wiggle and move as a baby is supposed to do in order to develop the needed strength and coordination to learn new skills such as rolling over, sitting up, crawling and walking.

Nation Wide Childrens

Over use of a car seat (along with other container devices such as a baby swing, rockers, strollers, etc.), can result in issues such as delayed development, flathead syndrome (plagiocephaly), maldevelopment of the neck muscles (torticollis), ADHD, and maldevelopment of reflexes.

 Time in containers should be limited to no more than 30 minutes maximum per day

https://azopt.net/container-baby-syndrome
As an Amazon affiliate, I may receive a small stipend for any purchases made. Thanks for supporting a work at home mom!

Earth Mama Organics

Alternatives

Baby Wear

Although a baby carrier is still considered a “baby container,” it is a much better option that leaving baby in a car seat. A carrier allows baby to be close to you, regulating their breathing, heart rate, and . It allows baby to feel safe and also involved with whatever you are doing. Baby can learn by watching and listening to you, while babies are often left out of whatever is going on when left in a car seat. It also prevents head deformation as baby has different positions for head support, if any, when in the carrier. 

Wearing babies allows you to carry them in a position that’s beneficial to their physical health and development. It helps prevent flat head syndrome and can promote digestion (helping with colic and refluxes). Babywearing also increases the amount of time spent doing skin-to-skin with your baby, which research has connected to decreased rates of postpartum depression.

https://www.mother.ly/life/10-benefits-of-babywearing

Lille Baby Carrier

Organic Boba Baby Wrap

Play Mat

In terms of supporting development, a Playmat is your best option. It allows baby to move freely and develop his or her own movements. Although a great option, I know it is not always a realistic option when in public spaces. However, if you’re in a safe environment with baby, always have a Playmat on hand to let them develop their skills!

Organic Explore Playmat

Organic Cotton Round Playmat

Portable Play Yards

A great safe option to let babies play and grow is a portable Play Yard. It keeps baby from any accidents while still being them safe. While it’s best to use a play mat in a safe environment so baby can feel more involved with the surrounding world, play yards are a good option for when that may not be safe or realistic.

Lotus Portable Crib and Play Yard is the safest play yard as it the only playard with non-toxic certification (low voc & no lead, phthalates, pvc, heavy metals, etc).

Holding Baby

Of course there’s always the great option of just holding your baby! 

Having Someone Else Watch or Hold Baby

If you’re engaged in something important or unsafe enlist others to hold or watch your little one. Almost everyone will say yes to holding your baby!

Convertible Car Seat 

A great solution to limiting time in a car seat out of the car is eliminating the option! Get a convertible car seat that will grow with baby that stays in the car. This way if the temptation arises, it’s not an option because you definitely won’t lug around a huge convertible car seat. You’ll happily strap on the baby carrier or grab the play mat and head on your way.

The Maxi Cosi is my favorite because it has great safety ratings, it’s easy to use, and they don’t use toxic flame retardants on their seats.

How to support your baby's development

How do you avoid or limit container parenting? Any tips?

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An Eco-Friendly & Non-Toxic Guide to Gifts for Kids

Unfortunately, a lot of the toys that are in homes today or are largely popular are toxic and leaking BPA, phthalates, and even lead into our children and homes. I won’t even go into the environmental impact because we all know plastic waste = bad for the environment. Thankfully more and more companies are offering safe and eco-friendly options. 

A few favorite companies that you’ll see a lot of below is Haba and PlanToys. Along with these companies, organic cotton toys are always a great sustainable option.

Haba is a fantastic eco-friendly and non-toxic company with high quality toys. The wood is all from sustainable forests and the paint is all water based free of solvents. When any plastic is used, they use the safest plastics, polypropylene or ABS. All of it’s toys are safety certified in Europe which has much higher standards than the U.S.

PlanToys uses sustainable practices and sustainable materials. PlanToys uses non-formaldehyde glue, organic color pigment, water based dyes, soy ink and recycled paper. They even use solar energy in their manufacturing.

As an Amazon affiliate I may receive a small stipend for any purchases made. Thanks for supporting a work at home mom!

Infant & Toddler

Organic Cotton Activity Bear

Organic Cotton Cuddle Bunny

PlanToys Push Car

Haba Color Pyramid

Haba Rattle & Bouncing Toy

Haba Play Gym

PlanToys Push Walker

PlanToys Pull Along Rabbit

Organic Belle Cow

Organic Cotton Tunnel

Toddler & Preschool Age

PlanToys Forest Animal Playset

Cactus Stacker

Haba Garden Peg Stacker

Haba Take Along Farm Play Set

Haba Snug Up Doll

PlanToys Ride On Bike

PlanToys Dinosaur Play Set

PlanToys Kitchen Set

PlanToys My First Doll House

PlanToys Blocks

Five+

Fantasy Block Set

PlanToys Croquet

PlanToys Pinball

PlanToys Trimono Bugs Game and Puzzle

PlanToys Balancing Monkeys

PlanToys Banjolele

You may also find Best Eco Friendly Toddler Products helpful!

Comment below about your favorite ways to stay Eco friendly around gift giving!

Survival Tips For The Work At Home Mom

Plan Everything

Grab the planner, calendar, and sticky notes! If you try to do it all, you realistically just won’t remember it all. Use any tools at your disposal. I fill out a monthly calendar and a weekly calendar hanging for everyone to see. I also use a planer daily to keep track of all the little to-dos that may arise as well as track goals and check off accomplishments.

Minimize

While more organization tools and scheduling is always helpful, doing and having less is always the best route to succeed. Make clear what your goals are and stick to what needs to get done to achieve them. Minimize all the extras that don’t really help you achieve your goal or bring you what you need (note: relationships, happiness, self care, and fulfillment are all needs).

This also applies to belongings. Old toys, clothes, useless extras around the house? Donate them! Or even better, sell them and make a little extra cash. The more things in your space, the more time you will spend trying to manage it all. Clean out anything that does not bring joy, provide a purpose, or is of importance to your family.

Set Clear Boundaries & Expectations

Let everyone know what time will be used to work and focus on working during that time. This may mean agreeing with a partner that you leave the house to work two or three times a week while they’re home or letting children know when a set time is for them to have quiet solo play. For example, I get some work done during nap time, but it is often not enough time, so I take two evenings a week to head to the coffee shop to focus on work.

10 Minute Speed Clean

As a work at home mom, it’s hard to not get caught up in the constant demands of the home. It’s necessary to decide set times to clean so it does not interfere with work time. As soon as my little is down for a nap, I give myself 10 minutes to speed clean and pick up anything that could distract me from my work. This way I’m not overwhelmed with a mess while working, but also not losing valuable work time.

Work While They Sleep

Of course, this a no-brainer if you have a little one who still naps. If they’re really young, you still may need to rest as they nap, but when you’re able to, take the time to get work done because getting work done while littles need your attention is not likely.

Delegate Delegate Delegate

Stop trying to do it all. I learned this the hard way, but it’s true, no one can do it all. You can’t keep the house spotless, work full time from home, and parent while maintaining some sanity. Call on those around you and use what support you can. As I started working more, I asked my husband to take on more of the chores. We keep a chore chart of who does what on what days to keep things fair and organized, which I suggest everyone do. Every family functions differently but make sure to talk to those around you and explain that even though you’re home, you have more than the home to focus on.

Survival Tips for the work at home mom wahm

Any tips you’d share? Drop them in the comments!

Raising A Minimalist: 6 Quick Tips On Teaching Kids Minimalism

We all know consumerism is a huge issue in Western Society. Advertisements and the constant pushes to buy more are everywhere, so it of course effects our children and how they think. From commercials to conversations with friends, acquiring more things is encouraged. For us parents who want our kids to want less and live more, I created a list of tips on teaching our children less is really more.

Limit The Amount of “Stuff” They Can Have

Decide as a family a good number of toys, clothes, and other items such as movies or books that will be a cap for the amount in your home. For example, you can say 5 stuffed animals and 10 other toys then maintain that number by donating anytime you choose to add a toy.

Encourage Experiences

Teach your child to value experiences over stuff. This will mostly be learned through role modeling as well as discussion as they get older. A great way too teach this is to go hiking rather than shopping. Only go shopping when necessary and discuss what you will be getting and why with you child.

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Have A No Presents Rule

Let family and friends know your plans for minimalism! You can tell everyone your happy to accept gifted experiences (season passes to a theme park, state park passes, movie gift cards etc.), but will not be accepting any items.

Read About It

Read books with your child(ren) focused on minimalism and the importance of experiences over stuff.

Here are a few of my favorites:

The Giving Tree

Too Many Toys

The Gift of Nothing

Little Bird

More

Regular Donations

Designate a few times of year to donate anything no longer being used such as outgrown clothes, toys, or books. A great time is before yearly school shopping, holidays, and birthdays. Let children know when donation days are approaching so they can prepare.

Role Model

The best way to really raise a minimalist is to be a minimalist!

 “It is always the simple that produces the marvelous.” —Amelia Barr

How to raise a minimalist kid
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