Lessons from Lockdown

Fifty Shades of Motherhood



  • Lessons from Lockdown

“Even though I have grown during that time…I also hit my lowest” Welcome back to Season 2 of Fifty Shades of Motherhood. Carla is joined by her good friends Sophie Mei Lan and Amy Downes and they have an open and honest discussion about what they have learnt from lockdown. Juggling being a parent whilst navigating work life and the positives they have managed to find during this strange time. 

Here is Amy’s Social Links:




Here are Sophie’s Social Links:




You can purchase Sophies book below:


Carla: [00:00:00] This podcast is sponsored by My Bump 2 Baby family protection and legal directory. To find your nearest advisor or family law, solicitor, head over to www.mybump2baby.com/familyprotectionlegal. 

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[00:01:29] Hello everybody. And welcome to 50 Shades of Motherhood. Now I am smiling ear to ear because this is series 2. I can’t believe we made it to series two. I can’t even believe I’ve survived lockdown, to be honest with you. Um, so this podcast was launched during lockdown and it was at a time in my life where, life started to slow down a little bit.

[00:01:58] So I have my Bump 2 Baby, which is the UK leading pregnancy to preschool directory. And of course, when parents were unable to go out the house things of course quietened down a little bit. So I just thought it was a great time to launch the podcast, the podcast that I’ve been wanting to do for so, so long, but not found the time.

[00:02:22] Anyway, as things have started to return to normal now. Children, as a fist pump the air, are now returning to childcare. George has actually gone to school, which is just amazing. And life is slowly returning to a new kind of normal. A new kind of normal when we’re going in Tesco and we’re looking at people and we’re wondering whether they’re giving us a dirty look or whether they’re smiling, because they’ve got the mask covering their face.

[00:02:51] I mean, it’s a very strange time, but this is our new kind of normal and I really was excited to launch series two of 50 Shades of Motherhood because it’s helped so many people I’ve had so many messages thanking me to talking about different subjects. And thank you so much for those messages, because it’s meant so much to me as well.

[00:03:17] Um, that I’ve been able to raise awareness on subjects that I didn’t know about, or you know, that other people didn’t know about or people are struggling with and they don’t really want to talk to people about, so thank you so much to all of you that have listened to all of you that shared to all of you that have commented. Without doing that we wouldn’t be here today. Hopefully I’d be alive today, but I wouldn’t be sat here recording this podcast. So thank you. Um, so this week’s episode is all about lessons from lockdown and I welcome on two of my friends, Amy Downs from a mum full of dreams. And Sophie Mai Lan from the Mama Mai blog. I’m really looking forward to sharing this episode with you. And covering over how three different mums battled lockdown, um, and how we survived, still can’t believe we survived now. Hope you enjoyed this episode.

[00:04:29] Hello everybody. And welcome to series two 50 Shades of Motherhood. I can’t actually believe I’m saying series two. I never thought I’d get to the end of series one, to be honest, it’s just been a whirlwind. Um, but today we are, um, looking back at lockdown and we’re actually talking about lessons that we’ve learned during lockdown.

[00:04:52] So today I have two of my very special friends, Amy Downes from mum full of dreams. And Sophie Mai Lan from Mama Mai blog, and we’re going to be discussing what we learned during lockdown. So hi girls, how are you? 

 Amy: [00:05:08] Hi, lovely. Congratulations on series two. That is amazing. 

Carla: [00:05:12] I can’t believe it honestly, I was like, yeah, I bet I get like 5 listeners or whatever, but it seems that these podcasts seem to resonate with people, which is great. Um, That’s what I’m wanting from this. So yeah, I’m really, really happy.

Sophie: [00:05:26] You have done amazing. Yeah. It’s great that, um, well this has come out of lockdown as well, so it’s a really big thing to come out and lock down. 

Carla: [00:05:38] Yeah, it has honestly, it has, and I’ve drank a lot of wine while I’ve been doing it as well, which is another thing has come out of lockdown, how much I just love alcohol and how much I use it so much to cope with parenting.

[00:05:53] But yeah, so, so girls, I mean, let’s start and rewind and go back to when Boris Johnson announced that we would not going to be able to carry on with our day to day lives anymore. How did you guys feel? 

Amy: [00:06:08] Well, I was actually, um, at the time I was, uh, in counselling for postnatal anxiety. So, um, I was really conscious of my anxiety levels at the time. And you could see when I had these weekly sessions that my anxiety levels were getting higher and higher as the more like the furthermore, uh, further into March, we got, um, and then my little boy who’s just turned one at the time. He was nine months old no what would have been less than that wouldn’t he. But, um, it was like about seven eight months old, but anyway, he got a temperature and he got like a really bad fever. And so of course we were panicking. And to be honest, I’d reached a point where I was like, I was cross that Boris hadn’t shut schools down. Cause my other halves a teacher, I was cross that we hadn’t already gone into lockdown. When all the advice seemed to be that we should. So I just said to my other half, I think we should just do it. Let’s just go into self isolation, especially as James had the temperature, that was kind of like the thing that gave me the excuse to do it. And as soon as it was done, I felt like a sense of relief because it felt like you got a little bit control back I think. Once you knew, like, it was so hard knowing that you weren’t gonna be able to do all the normal stuff and how he wouldn’t be at nursery, but it was nice getting a bit of control back once locked down had started, at least we knew what was happening then. How about you Soph? 

Sophie: [00:07:24] Yeah. So I found it at first, I hadn’t quite taken it that seriously because I’m actually a journalist by trade, but now I do slow news. So I don’t actually consume a lot of news and I wasn’t sure if it was just being kind of hyped up. Um, and then, so it gave me a bit of a shock, um, but in my Sophie way, I basically went on a shopping spree, which I’m very glad I did because I didn’t realize I’d have to isolate on my own with two kids.

Carla: [00:07:54] Sophie. You weren’t the one stealing all the bloody toilet rolls and the pasta were you, off the shelf?

Sophie: [00:07:59] Oh no. I went for sugar free blooming syrup for my coffee. So I stocked up on my skinny syrups.. 

Carla: [00:08:09] I stocked up on alcohol, to be honest, but that’s about it. 

Sophie: [00:08:14] Um, but yeah, so, but then it was, it was really bizarre because over night, because as well as the blogging and vlogging, I make documentaries and I also dance. So I do a lot of dance, gigs and performances. So every night I lost lots of work, like a lot of money in terms of my gigs and also my documentaries and just basically like the big chunks of work, but normally keeps me going that I could cope with because I’m pretty versatile so I have got, a number of different businesses and income streams.

[00:08:48] But then the thing that really got me was when I turned up at the gym and it was closed and I don’t know what it was. It was just like, I think, cause that was my crutch cause I live on my own and then when I haven’t got the kids, I go to the gym as my kind of therapy. That’s how I like I have to work out to basically  keep sane. And that was like my structure from working from home on my own. And that was my one bit of kind of life. And then when that shut, it sounds bizarre, but that was the thing I’d lost thousands of pounds. That was the thing that like just burst into tears so this poor gym cleaner just watched me kind of crumble. I was like, I’ve lost all my money, but this is the worst thing, that the gyms shut. 

Carla: [00:09:36] I was just thinking to myself then do you know, that’s my happiest moment when I get to the gym and it’s closed and think to myself, I’ve got 15 minutes in my car where I can just sit there. You know, I am trying to get more or into the gym, but that I can understand it though, because a lot of people with their mental health who suffer with the mental health, rely on the gym a lot. Don’t they? And I know I do feel a lot better when I go, but it’s hard dragging myself there in the first place, but I can completely appreciate that’s your safe place isn’t it Soph? 

Sophie: [00:10:07] Yeah, and I think its all those normality like coping mechanisms that we all use. And we don’t always realize like what our kind of crutches are we just, you get into that process in life. That routine don’t you? And I think that was the hardest change. 

Amy: [00:10:28] Yeah, absolutely. I think for me it was the, I’m not, I’m quite good at having time away from my two boys, which probably sounds awful, but I’m quite good at giving myself space and having some time not being mum and all of a sudden it was like, okay, I’ve gotta be mum 24/7. Um, and trying to sort out work at the same time as well with no, with no break, no, you know, no nipping off to the football for the day and getting absolutely hammered. Not having to worry about the kids for the day. It was, it’s just, it was constant and no end in sight as well. I think that was what, the scary thing, when people were predicting how long it was going to last for at the beginning, like September to start so far away, didn’t it?

Carla: [00:11:09] It did. And do you know what? I was so frigging weird. I remember watching the news and I was like, okay. What this is almost, am I dreaming, is this real? I, it was just really bizarre. And I remember just looking, thinking what, and then I was watching about all these people dying and for me, um, I was like, Oh, what, what will this mean? Anyway, I’m addicted to work. And I’ve, I I’ve realised during this time that I use a lot of work to hide a lot of issues that had with dealing with the twins. Um, and then my other miscarriage, but also since being a mum, I think I used my postnatal depression and that post traumatic stress disorder that had with George and launched My Bump 2 Baby. And it was almost like that was my shield, you know, my kind of like time to lose myself. And, um, and for the first time in my life, Well since being a mum, um, I couldn’t do that. And it was, it was really hard. And also with health anxiety, I mean, every time I got, the worst part was it was hay fever season as well wasn’t it? So you can imagine me I was out the garden.  Danny’s  like getting the lawn lawnmower. I’m like, Oh my throat, oh my throat Oh my God, I’m there going in the cupboard sniffing coffee, like, you know, can I still smell it.  Thank God, I can, honestly, I must’ve had Corona virus about 84 times during this time. I mean, Amy, as well for you, you had your wedding booked didn’t you?

Amy: [00:12:37] Yeah. I did. Yeah, it was meant to be on the 25th of July. Um, so when all this started, uh, I was literally getting messages daily. Oh, what are you going to do? Are you okay? I’m so sorry about what’s happening. What’s going on with the wedding? What should I do about the booking? What should I do about my hotel?

[00:12:55] And I was just like, what are you going to do? If you cancel it? What are you going to do? If you don’t cancel it? How many people do you think you’ll be allowed? And I was just, like. I’m worried about this. I don’t need to try and like help other people’s worries about it. And I just said to Luke, I think we need to put it off. And I think we decided that we would make a decision by May half term, which was about six weeks. Um, actually it was about two months before the wedding, so we were leaving it until then. Um, but that was that. You know what it’s like, I’ll, I’ll try not to worry about this for a while. Of course. It’s all you can think about. Um, so it was, that was really hard when we made the decision to cancel. It was because I didn’t, you know, it’s, it’s, it’s something you look forward to since you’re a little girl, isn’t it. And it was so hard to have this day that I’ve been building up to for what, three years ago, I think, is it Luke proposed?

[00:13:45] So it’s like, it was a special, special day, but for me, because it is such a special day, I didn’t want to, like, I didn’t want to have to just do it us two. So I knew that what I wanted in all honesty was the big party. 

Carla: [00:14:03] And the money.

Amy: [00:14:08] It’s a horrible decision. And I know that, um, it was sort of a really good example of everybody having to give up so much, people have lost holidays. People have lost, you know, there are mums, who’ve had to get birth without their partner beside them, which I just cannot imagine. Um, But thankfully for me, there was a, there was a nice end to the story because we were, we were sat down one night talking about it and I said, just out of interest, if we were to move it to next year, what date would it be if it was the first weekend into the summer holidays? And he looked it up and he was like, he sort of grinned at me and I was like, what? And he said, Amy, it would be the 31st of July. Now that’s Harry Potter’s birthday. And it’s going to be a Harry Potter themed wedding. So, Oh my God it just felt like it was meant to be.

[00:14:55] Yeah, exactly. So I suppose that’s yeah. They, you know, the other side of the coin, isn’t it, where there’s been these horrendous things where we’ve had to cancel holidays and stuff like that. But actually on the other side of it, there’s, we’ve had nice family time. And like you say, the three of us have all we’re a really good example of actually how a lot of people have been able to just completely hone in their career and focus on what it is they really want to do.

[00:15:21] A lot of people live like, you know, normally working in office, they’ve got extra time. I know some people have been working more hours because of it, but others have found because they’ve not had to commute. And because they’re working from home, they’re getting more time to focus and they get more work done.

[00:15:35] It’s been like a real sort of revelation in terms of careers. And I reckon we might see more people swapping over now to, you know, going through, going for a job that they really want, or maybe asking for flexible hours and being able to work from home. Or maybe, yeah. Taking the risk and going freelance like we have, and I think we might see a bit of a difference coming out of it, hopefully anyway.

Carla: [00:15:56] Yeah. Yeah. I think so. Definitely. Um, I think it’s, I think for me, um, sorry, I’m like go back to me. But, for me personally, like I never realised, like I was always with friends, I’ve got quite a big group of friends who I absolutely love. But I was always like, yeah, I’ll do that birthday. I’ll do that. I’ll do that. I’ll do that. I’ll do that. And before I know it, in a month, I’ve like had one weekend with George, and then it was just like, and then since lockdown, I’m actually now not afraid to say, actually, I don’t want to do that. No, I’m going to do one thing a month now. And I’m starting to realize actually I do love my family time and I really actually did weirdly, um, enjoy my family time. But at night when, mainly when I’d had a wine, to be honest with you, but in the day it was quite stressful, but I did enjoy having a close unit and almost going back out there, it makes me a bit nervous.

Sophie: [00:16:53] Yeah, I think for me, I realised, it, at the start, it hyper-focused a lot of the issues that I still dealt with because I hadn’t realised there was certain things that I used as crutches. So I have quite an addictive personality and. At first with all the changes I went back to restricting what I ate, overexercise and doing all these things. And then I slowly found the balance again, but a lot, actually I say slowly a lot faster. I think I just had like a few days of a lull. And then I got back on track again, and it actually made me realize how far I’ve come because normally a big hit would just absolutely throw me for months. And it was just kind of a few days and I picked myself back up. I  was like, well, no, we either kind of sink or swim with it. And actually it was quite nice, some of it not to have all the opportunities. 

Carla: [00:17:55] Yeah. Do you know what? It’s quite funny. It’s like almost initially. You lose control don’t you. You’re like told that this is the way you’ve got to live and it’s almost, you have to do in your own way to try and take back control, um, in your own way. So I,  it took me ages, but I knew I had health anxiety which actually weirdly I mentioned in this podcast on the introductory episode, the very first one now I never, in my wildest dreams ever thought I would see a counsellor, not for any particular reason. I just thought, Oh, I can deal with it myself. I didn’t really believe in the whole talking it through kind of thing. I just didn’t really understand it. And then since the lockdown, my health anxiety. Oh my God. I’ve never had, I thought I had panic attacks before, but Jesus Christ. I actually, it was all awful. I think I’ve said it. I don’t know if I said it on a previous podcast, but I actually ended up having the paramedics round one day because my panic attack was that bad. I thought I was dying. And in the end, that was the final straw. I was like, right. That is it. I’m going to see a counsellor for my health  anxiety.

[00:18:57] And I’ve just actually finished my six week course today. And do you know what? I feel absolutely great. Um, every time I get a headache now I’m not thinking, Oh my God, it’s a brain tumour. I’m on my way out. Here’s my funeral. Here’s my will. And all that. It’s more like now I’m like, Oh, it’s just a bit of a headache. I’ve probably not drank much water. So it has massively helped me. So in a way, although it weakened me, it made me stronger, lock down. You guys resonate with that? Or? 

Sophie: [00:19:27] Definitely, I think because it. It’s challenged us all do you get me, it’s challenged, it’s put some of my worst fears like, and it’s made it a reality cause I had the lot of issues in locked down, like personally and with hate mail and all this kind of stuff. But then what actually happened was people counteracted it with love mail and it showed me how much more love that I have around me and community. And they say like, crisis doesn’t create community. It reveals it. And I so believe in that, because whilst again, that really knocked me cause I felt really isolated and on my own. And, but then actually what it did was strengthen the community around me. And, and it’s actually, I think it’s really shown the best in people and also the worst. 

Carla: [00:20:26] Yeah. Do you know what? I thought that when I was going to the shops, like, it’s dead weird? Like you either meet an arsehole or you meet someone overly nice. Like there’s no middle ground anymore. Is there? Like, do you, I don’t know if you guys find that, but like, you know, it’s that, I dunno, people are either really pissed off and angry or the really, really lovely. I can’t really find a middle ground at the moment. 

Sophie: [00:20:49] Yeah. Yes, totally true. 

Carla: [00:20:52] Yeah. 

Amy: [00:20:52] I think it’s made everybody’s. People’s, people have either maybe got, a bit more relaxed because there’s so much going on. Like, I don’t know, life always feels a little bit calmer at the moment. Like we, you were just saying about making less plans. Um, but, or people just like everyone was at the end of their tether constantly. So I know. Um, Soph when you had the, I know you had your hate mail, I had a couple of really bad instances of trolling that because I was struggling with my anxiety at the time, it really sent me into depression basically. And it was really, really hard to handle, but it was because people were just so nasty online. Like they have been  

Carla: [00:21:36] I think people just like they hate that the whole lives. So they choose to be nasty and horrible. 

Sophie: [00:21:41] Yeah. 

Amy: [00:21:42] Well thats it, if you’re in a life, if something’s something’s making you unhappy in your life and then you’re stuck at home. Like we were just saying without the usual releases, then, you know, I can’t, I can’t imagine what it must’ve been like to come home to, you know, maybe a failing relationship or something, something that was going on with the kids or, um, 

Carla: [00:22:03] Kid in general.

Amy: [00:22:05] Yeah exactly, you don’t like in lockdown and just not actually having the nice sides of the job in terms of like socialising things. It’s been. It’s been really testing. I think for me, I feel like I’ve come out of it feeling like I know myself a bit better. 

Carla: [00:22:22] Yes, 

Sophie: [00:22:23] yes. Yeah, 

Carla: [00:22:24] yeah. Totally agree with that. 

Amy: [00:22:27] I understand my anxiety better because I’ve sort of worked out how to deal with it because I’ve had the time and space to learn how to deal with it. I’ve worked through my low moods. I think Luke and I are closer than we’ve ever been since we met five years ago. Right because we’ve been forced into spending 24 seven with each other for so long. And I just feel like it’s, I suppose it’s being alone with your thoughts. I have actually realised I’m not very good at being alone. With just me in my head. Cause I normally just keep really busy to distract myself from whatever’s going on, but actually lock down, forces you to only be with yourself and not go off to the pub with your mates or the gym or go shopping or whatever, you know, whatever the weakness is. And early on, I definitely counteract it that with wine.

Carla: [00:23:13] Oh God, early on. I’m still going here. In fact, you know, Danny got us a bottle tonight and he was like, Oh, I don’t fancy that last glass. So i’ll have it. So apologies if I start slurring shortly, like. I totally get that. Do you know what makes me laugh? I did a post actually on my Facebook page and it really, sometimes I just, I don’t know about you two cause we like writing don’t we us three that’s a bit of our therapy and I just start a post like, Oh, had a good day today. And then all of a sudden I start like really writing and then really getting into it. And I remember like writing a post about how at lock down. I was like, this is it. I’m going to change. I’m going to come out of lock down this size the size of my little finger. I’m going to be thin, we are going to be happy. We’re going to be that. Honestly, we were doing Joe Wickes every day. I was super organised. We’re going to doing the school run and we’re walking around the block, honestly, by week four, I was like, I was just drinking my way through lockdown. Honestly, it was just, honestly, I really started with all good morals and then it kind of hit a lull where I actually realised that parenting is a lot easier when you drink. It’s like George will be like, mummy, do this with me. Mummy. Mummy. I’m like, no, no, I’m busy. I’m busy. I’m making tea. I’m doing that. I’ve had to wine. It’s like, bring it over baby. Bring all your jigsaws over. Mummy will do any jigsaw you like.

Amy: [00:24:37] Absolutely. Cause it helps you relax. Doesn’t it. Whereas when we’re going on our day to day life, like they. I’m sorry, but they are interrupting me. Like Harry comes over and wants me to play on the iPad. No, darling. I put you on the iPad cause I need 10 minutes away from you and you do it when you don’t like, James for some unknown reason. My youngest has turned since he’s hit one. He’s gone from being the world’s smiley as baby to the world’s whiniest baby. And he doesn’t stop. All day its like mum mum mum, all day.  And uh, when you’re, when you haven’t got any way of escaping from that, you haven’t got grandparents to send them to you haven’t got like, um, you know, nursery to send them to, he started nursery next week. Thank, God, it really tests you like the level of patience you need for parenting.

[00:25:31] I think we’re quite good at being able to find a distraction these days, but like our generation we’re quite good at being able to switch over to work or whatever, but we’ve been forced into being a stay at home mum, whether we wanted to or not. Um, and it isn’t even normal stay at home mum, is it? Cause you can’t go anywhere.

Carla: [00:25:50] Exactly. And do you know why he’s made me admire, stay at home parents so, so much more because I just think you must have the patience of a Saint, honestly. 

Amy: [00:26:00] That is a full time job in itself. Isn’t it as being a stay at home? Mom, I’ve always absolutely what I have just said isn’t a disrespect to anyone who decides on that way of life. I think that’s fair play to you, good on you.

Carla: [00:26:13] I wish I could. I sometimes like I put post up on Instagram yesterday and actually meant it. I was like, Sometimes question myself, why doesn’t motherhood  just fulfil me? Like why doesn’t baking cakes and painting rainbows fulfil me like I’m envious of my friends that it does, but then I can’t change myself.

Amy: [00:26:34] Exactly. No,

Sophie: [00:26:38] No I was just going to say it. It’s like made me realize, do you know what I do need in my life, and to be, actually be more selfish. So to actually allow myself to, you know, like, not feel guilty for exercising, cause that helps me to cope and gives me the endorphins to be happier, to even find, actually make time it’s given me time to actually find someone cause I wanted to meet someone as well, being on your own for a while. Um, cause it made you feel really lonely, but then you’re also like. When you’re lonely, I’m really hyper sensitive to people’s vibes. So I’m also, it’s made me really picky because there’s certain people that I’d love to continue social distancing from.

Carla: [00:27:25] Yeah. Just tell them you’re vulnerable. I’m shielding.

Sophie: [00:27:39] And so it gives you that, that reflection on yourself for actually what works for you and what you need in your life. And I think that’s important, especially as mums, we’re all we think about our children and what they need rather than actually, we need to survive this as well. So our kids are as happy as possible. So what do we need to do that? 

Amy: [00:28:02] Definitely. And also what you said earlier about, um, you’re quite adaptable. I’m not, I’m awful for change. It takes me a while to get used to it, but I think this has proven that actually we all are, we’re all ,our kids in particular are very adaptable in terms of getting used to new situations and making the best of them. Just like for me, I just need to give myself 10 minutes to be able to get my head around it. 

Carla: [00:28:26] Yeah. Well, do you know, this is a life changing, like thing that’s happened to all of us. Maybe not life changing hopefully things will go back to normal eventually, but maybe this is the new normal who knows. But I think that is a massive, I mean, this will go down in history as a huge, huge thing, but it’s funny because like kids just get it don’t they? You just tell them like, do you know, with my health anxiety, it’s quite funny. When we went to London this weekend. George was like holding a banister and I’m like George get off that. And then George is like holding the banister and he said, mummy, mummy. Oh, no, I’ve touched the coronavirus. And people started laughing, but that’s their understanding of it. Isn’t it? 

Sophie: [00:29:11] Yeah. 

Amy: [00:29:11] Yeah, absolutely. And they have, um, they have adapted really well. I know when they, when the government boy in the new rule about the mask, the face masks, I was really nervous about having to, I assumed James would be all right, cause he’s only a baby, but I was really nervous about having to like, get Harry to wear one because he’s autistic. So if he doesn’t want to do something, he absolutely will not do it. There’s no way to make him. So thankfully the government said autistic children and obviously anyone under 11 is exempt from it. So that was a real relief. But then I found on holiday, he was telling me. Like why that we need to wear masks to go into shops. And I tried to use it as an excuse to not buy him an ice cream. Cause he said, mummy, mummy, I want an ice cream. I, so I’m really sorry Harry, um, we need a mask to go in the shops, so we can’t go in. And he said, Oh, i’ll wear a mask. I’ll wear a mask. So I can go and get an ice cream. I was like, right. Okay. Well now I haven’t got any way of stopping you. having ice cream have I?. For the whole holiday he would ask for his mask so that he could take me off to go and get an ice cream. And he’s, he’s fine with it. He. He’s happy to do it. And I think that’s because to be fair to the nursery, have spoken to him about it and the reasons why, and they’ve got him washing his hands much better than I managed to do during lock down.

[00:30:24] Um, so I think, you know, our sort of like childcare providers, our teachers are doing a great job of it, but the kids are adapting because this to them is just one of those things. It’s us, as adults are finding it strange because it’s not what we’re used to, but kids have changes all the time. Don’t they?

Carla: [00:30:42] Yeah. So, um, I mean, with, um, with kids, I do think that that’s it, they just adapt. They get told, I think it’s been transparent with children. Isn’t it?  And just saying, listen, there’s a virus out there. Just be careful. But do you know what I found really weird is watching Netflix. Um, and watching programs and people are like cuddling and now I’m starting to think, Oh, you’re not allowed to do that. You’re not allowed to do that. Then I’m forgetting it was filmed like two years ago. In fact, my case I’m addicted to Gossip Girl. And it was filmed like 10 years ago and they’re cuddling I’m like, Oh, she shouldn’t be doing that. She might get coronavirus. It’s mad. It’s like, I’m such a cuddler. I don’t know about you guys, but I just cuddle people. Um, and I know a lot of people don’t like that, I just can’t help it. So it’s been really hard for me. 

Sophie: [00:31:32] Yeah, definitely. I’m normally a tactile person and I find it really bizarre. And I remember feeling like it made me realize I am really tactile, but I am really funny with the wrong people going anywhere near me. And at one point when all I was getting was negativity and you’re like, Oh my gosh, you become hypersensitive to everything and who you want. And it’s actually helped me in my life to literally focus on my goals, um, and cut out the vampires and just, uh, and it’s actually made my support network smaller, but a lot closer.

[00:32:16] And people who genuinely believe in me. And then positive stuff has come out of that. Cause I’ve like managed to write my own book. Well, finish it after three years and managed to find a nice loving relationship finally. And it’s like all these things that are kind of been putting off, putting off and not dealing with I  kind of dealt with it in lock down.

Carla: [00:32:41] So I think locked down, I suppose, for all of us has been a time of growth, really. Um, and realising who we are. 

Amy: [00:32:49] Yeah. 

Sophie: [00:32:50] Yeah, definitely. Yeah. The like warts and all as well. It’s not like we’re all these brilliant gurus.

Carla: [00:32:59] Do you know what? It’s dead weird, because even though I’ve grown during that time, I’ve also hit my lowest. Uh, mental health wise during that time than I’ve ever had. Uh, but it’s weird, because I think you hit that point and then, you know, Oh, it actually frightened me how bad I was getting. That’s why I needed to get help because I actually thought to myself, I could not live like this any longer.

[00:33:23] I mean, it was, it was bad. Um, and I try to ring like my doctor, and mind and Oh mind, we’ve got waiting listed for however long. And I was like, right. Okay. I’ll try and wait. I’ll try and wait. I’ll try and wait. And I just couldn’t anymore. And I just thought, do you know what. I’m not ashamed. I’m going to get help because you know, but it is.

[00:33:44] And you know what I feel great. And I would recommend it to anyone. In fact, I’ve actually asked her if she’ll carry on seeing me on a monthly basis, just so someone will listen to me for more than 40 minutes. 

Sophie: [00:33:55] I think that’s brilliant. It’s that reflection. Okay. I do need there’s areas that I have got weaknesses in, and I think we sometimes become so busy that we don’t. Especially as mums and working mums and  mums in business that we don’t ever reflect on ourselves and where we do need to grow. Um, and. I think that’s, what’s been really good is it’s actually given us the time to think, okay, I’m still obviously struggling in that. And I was actually using different things as plasters.

Carla: [00:34:30] Yeah. Yeah, exactly. Cause you’re not really healing are you? You just kind of almost like masking it until the next time. And then the next time, and what was happening to me is that the episodes were getting closer and closer and closer together to the point that I just felt like I was in one massive kind of mess. Um, really, and now I do feel loads better. So anyone that’s listening to this where, you think you might be struggling, you might benefit from speaking to someone. CBT I did. And I know it’s not for everyone, but it’s massively helped me. So six weeks in and today she was like, right. You’re off on your own. I was like, no, she was like, you’ll be fine. She was like, you’ll be fine. Fine. And you know, I just feel so much better. It was like a year since the twins, uh, two days ago and a few, um, even though I’ve talked about it openly on the podcast and stuff, I’ve not really, I like, I almost talk about it. Like I’m not really the person that went through it. It’s just almost a way to help other people. Um, and, and what I hadn’t dealt with it. And then when that came around the other day, I put that post up. Cause I thought. That’s probably one of the last times I’ll mention them because I feel it’s done. I can’t explain it, but I just feel I’m ready to close that chapter.

[00:35:42] Um, now, which I was meant to do bereavement counselling with, with her and today she was, I honestly don’t think you need it. And I don’t feel like I do now. Um, but I just want to surround myself with positive people and, you know, and just be. You know, say no to things, if you don’t want to do them. I think that’s, that’s the key as well. Something I’ve learned, stop being a people pleaser. 

Sophie: [00:36:06] Yeah. Yeah. 100% because you realize how much that we give out our energy. And like you said, you’ve dealt with it, like. An absolutely can’t even imagine what that issue and that grief and you’ve managed to deal with it whereas maybe if you hadn’t had this time, it would have just been kind of festering 

Carla: [00:36:30] It definitely would have. And do you know what? I mean I’m not comparing it or anything. People deal with things that I went through so well that I actually thought I would be like that I actually am shocked that it’s taken me this long because I didn’t think. It would take me as long, but everyone’s different.

[00:36:47] Um, And it just did take me a long time to actually deal with it. And I couldn’t understand why, why aren’t I dealing with this? I’m talking about it, I’m doing this, I’m doing that. It just did. And then I think it came out in anxiety. And when I was started having God, it sounds I could drink all the time, by the way, I don’t drink every day. But when I do it started to coming out when I had a drink and I thought, Hm there’s something not right here. But when I went to see the counsellor, she said grief actually, if you don’t deal with it, the end. The end bit is when it comes out in anxiety and panic attacks. I think that’s what was happening to me, um, towards the end.

[00:37:25] So, I mean, with mums, I think we. You know, during this lockdown at first, the expectations were right, this is it now I’m going to kind of change my life. I’m going to teach my kid how to spell his name and all that. And it just kind of, you know, after a while, you know, you can’t fundamentally change yourself can you either. And I think in a world nowadays where women are striving to be, um, you know, as successful, if not more successful in some cases, then the men as well, which is a great time to kind of be in a career and launch businesses and stuff like that. I think, although there are a lot of women out there that are like that. So we’re always comparing ourselves aren’t we. It’s like, Oh, they can do that. And they can do that. Oh, maybe I’m missing a trick, you know? 

Amy: [00:38:18] Yeah, absolutely. In fact, that’s something that I think lockdowns is really sort of, um, sort of hit me. Uh, I had a conversation with my mum where I was just like, I feel like I’m surrounded by all these amazingly successful women and I’m 36 and haven’t achieved anything. And my mum was like, Amy, look at you. You’re like, you’re working as a freelancer before maternity leave. I was getting, you know, well, enough money for, to be able to pay my own way. And, um, she’s like, and you’ve got two kids and you’ve got your own home and you’ve got your car. And I was just like, yeah. Okay. You do you get so focused on what other people are doing. You forget to remind yourself that you’re doing a great job of it as well, because you’re absolutely right. I, I wanted to do the couch to 5k. I’m still only on week bloody two.

Carla: [00:39:12] Honestly, I got to week one, exercise one and that was it on the way home. I actually got a bottle of vodka from the Co-op and ran the rest of the way home. That was the last time I was seen on couch t 5k.

Amy: [00:39:24] I went on a jog and came back with a pack of fags. 

Sophie: [00:39:29] At least you’ve got an aim. I literally cause I lost lot of confidence in lockdown and now they have  built a Starbucks at the end of my road. So for me to run out doors. I just aim for the Starbucks. 

Carla: [00:39:44] That’s good, the trouble is I’d aim for a pub. Um, yeah, I actually use couch to 5k. So I’m going to start that just to get out of the house. Anyway. I only lasted one day because honestly, It was just horrendous. I didn’t realize how unfit I actually was. 

Amy: [00:40:04] And we start, we will, you and I were both in the same boat weren’t we were like, I’m definitely going to push up this fitness thing and neither one of us have managed it in six months, but it’s because actually it’s bloody exhausting having kids it’s really and we’re all trying to work at the same time as well. So it’s asking a lot. Soph was bang on you, you’ve learned, you’ve got to be kind to yourself and you’ve got to do what you need. And actually sometimes that’s about telling yourself off for putting so much pressure on and telling yourself not to compare yourself to other people.

Sophie: [00:40:37] Yeah I mean, it’s finding what works for you because I think especially cause I do nowadays, I’m not, people never believe this, but I do fitness at least twice a day. But, for my mental health, not my body and I’m not natural, I never fancy a workout but because it’s become a bit of a crutch for me. I know that I need it. And it’s finding stuff that works for you movement wise. So do you know, literally, I’ll be doing my squat whilst I’m putting on my makeup, or I’ll be doing a stretch whilst I’m on a phone call or whatever. And it’s finding little ways to incorporate things. And I think it’s all about with fitness, with anything it’s just habits. So like literally I’m because I do belly dancing. I shimmy whilst the kettles boiling, it’s just like anything. Do you know? Kind of looking because I’ve reflected a lot on my habits. Cause I have a lot of negative crutches as well, like way too much caffeine. But when I say way too much caffeine, I don’t just mean like the odd. Too many coffees. I mean, I literally plow so much caffeine down my neck from as soon as I wake up to literally, even when I’m going to bed, I’ve got like about five drinks around me currently. And it’s again, I’m just slowly adjust. It’s like doing little changes each week, rather than going. I’m going to totally rid my life of diet Coke and coffee, it’s just going okay. Maybe I’ll just try my best to have that sip water first, and then I’ll have it. I think it’s just little changes, 

Carla: [00:42:21] Small steps actually. Isn’t it? But the thing is, um, for some of us, Soph, and your, your similar to me, once I get addicted to something that is it, it’s like there’s no middle ground. I wasn’t drinking any water at all, but now, Oh, I’m drinking 2.2 litres a day because I’ve got this new drink, this new kind of cup holder that holds 2.2 litres and I’m just addicted to it. So I go from one extreme to another, um, and it’s like, you know, that’s why I struggled with the couch to 5k because I was eating bad and I can’t do both at the same time. It’s like, I’m either Linford Christie, you know, and grazing barely eating any food or I’m like, you know, well I don’t even know who to use as an example really. Um, but you know, I’m just scoffing my face, nearly choking to death with my hands down my throat, but that, you know, there’s no middle ground for me. Um, and that’s what I struggle with. 

Sophie: [00:43:18] I literally spent half of my day in, lockdown. Trying to find a shop that sell diet cream soda. Cause I tried it and it was so nice, but I told myself that I needed this diet cream soda to just be able to live and to do my work and then literally like an addict. I was going to all my local shops and  like diet cream soda. I need diet cream soda. And it was such a ridiculous little crutch.

Carla: [00:43:47] Yeah. 

Sophie: [00:43:47] I mean, it was ridiculous, but it was just like a little, it was like an impulsive thing. Yeah, I do that. So for me, it’s been replacing unhealthy habits with slightly more positive ones.

Carla: [00:44:03] I think that’s what I need to do. Actually now I finished my bottle of wine. I’m ready to start talking about tomorrow. How we’re going to change my life tomorrow. No, I totally agree. It’s just about changing, changing those little things. Isn’t it really?

Sophie: [00:44:23] Well, I noticed like. It is definitely who I surround myself with as well. And like you guys over lockdown, been brilliant to keep me going like positive mindset, lots of laughter being real about life rather than do you know like airy fairy. Everything’s perfect. 

Carla: [00:44:41] It’s just realness and not feeling alone. Not feeling like you. You’re strange because you don’t enjoy every moment.

Amy: [00:44:50] Yeah. 

Sophie: [00:44:50] Yeah, definitely. And it is having like the, like we’ve done it, like having accountability buddies as well. And, and they’re like really like an important, sorry I’ve got kids running around me. And they’re like really important in your life. And I’ve actually found not in a dirty way. Well, in a dirty way as well. 

Carla: [00:45:13] Oh, come on. 

Sophie: [00:45:16] Meeting this guy. And he’s a personal trainer. And because he’s really good at literally going to sleep at night. I’m like the worst person at going to sleep and because he’s going to sleep, I have actually started to go to sleep at a normal time. I was like, gosh, I should have had all these check boxes when I was online dating, because it really influences you, who you are with, whereas if I have been with like a  proper party boy I would have tried to match up to that. 

Carla: [00:45:49] Yeah. I know exactly what you mean, always pleasing and like, you know, but when they’re doing things that you know are good for you as well, that’s great. Um, yeah. 

Sophie: [00:46:00] Well, cause I’m always like, Oh, Oh, we’re going sleep. 

Carla: [00:46:03] You’ve worn him out.

Sophie: [00:46:06] Oh, yes. I like a good old hit session. 

Carla: [00:46:10] Yeah, I bet that’s your morning workout, and your evening workout. Isn’t it? Because you’re in the honeymoon phase at the moment. So you’re getting it left, right. And centre aren’t you. 

Sophie: [00:46:19] Yeah, well, cause he’s a PT, Oh God, I’m going to get killed for this. I call it. So, right. I say, are we having a PT or a PPT, which is like a personal personal trainer.

Carla: [00:46:30] A personal penis session.

Amy: [00:46:35] I love that. 

Carla: [00:46:37] Honestly. Oh dear. No, that is so funny. Well, isn’t it funny because last time we spoke to you Soph you were single and just, you know, enjoying yourself. And now you’re enjoying yourself in a couple and sleeping and getting laid twice a day. 

Sophie: [00:46:55] Well, yeah, it’s  more than that. I’m making up for lost time.  

Carla: [00:47:01] Oh, it’s absolutely brilliant. I bloody love. It always goes back to sex talk. Doesn’t it with us. 

Sophie: [00:47:05] Honestly though, I think that is such a good workout. Forget couch to 5k.

Carla: [00:47:15] Exactly. Depends what position you go in though, isn’t it? You know, if I’m like, Oh, it’s tired, you know, just getting the missionary. 

Sophie: [00:47:25] Do you know if you hold yourself in like a bit of a backwards plank?

Carla: [00:47:30] Oh god I don’t be doing that. Oh yeah, but I imagine its quite a good workout. Where do we go from here? Right. So, um, Sophie, Amy, you two. Positives of lockdown. So tell me your top five positive things that you’ve learned about yourself in lockdown. I think it’s a great way to finish it off and also tell me about where you’re at with your business now. 

Amy: [00:47:56] Um, so I think the number one thing has been my mental health cause like you, I think I’ve been at my lowest points, but. I’ve also learned to recognise when I’m feeling low and what to do to save it, which, which recently has been running off to Scarborough for the day. Cause it’s the place that cheers me up. But, but like I know that getting out of Leeds was what helped me like, going away to Cornwall. Really, I came home like a changed women from there.

[00:48:23] So, um, so we’ve booked something. We’re going to book something for October. So it’s like I’m organising my life a bit better to try and anticipate things that times that I know I’m going to find difficult next one’s going to be trying to work out how I can get out of Christmas. Cause I really hate it. But anyway, um, so definitely sort of be more familiar with my mental health, um, the, the extra time with the boys. Cause I had. Originally planned on sending James to nursery. Well he did. He started nursery in January when he was four months old. Because I wanted to get back to work. He was only there a couple of mornings a week, but it gave me a chance to try and start my work back up again. Um, but, and I’ve ended up having his full first year. Um, of him at home with me. Um, so that’s been nice, and also a bit of extra time with Harry before he starts school. Um, and I suppose the rest of it really is base is definitely based around my business because I was on maternity leave, but I’d stayed in contact with a couple of clients. And when the pandemic hit, they both on the same day, um, how’s that for bad luck emailed me. Um, and. Actually, I think one of them called me, but anyway, they very kindly explained that they were going to have to stop me doing their social. They couldn’t afford to pay for me to do their social media until things were sort of improving again.

[00:49:42] So I, I literally had to start from scratch and what the pandemic allowed me to do was, um, especially with having Luke at home, to help with the kids. I was able to take time every day to sit down. And I remember sitting down on this floor where I am now and getting these massive bits of paper and writing a business plan and a load of loads like free online courses and business gurus.

[00:50:04] And I sat down and I worked out my ideal client, I worked out what I could offer, like in terms of services, like I did a vision board. I, I wrote down like where I was aiming to be. And in my head, I’m a lot clearer on what I want to do what I enjoy doing and how I can help people. So now I’m really focused on making sure that’s what I’m delivering and that I’m helping the people that I feel I can help the most, if that makes sense?

[00:50:31] Um, and one of the things that I’ve started doing a lot better, so I’m a social media manager. I have been for the last, um, three years and I really enjoy it. But one of the things that I’ve gotten really, really good at is content planning. And it dawned on me back in April that I’m really good at doing it for clients, but I’m terrible at doing it for myself. So what it’s turned into over lockdown is that my social media channels are now a lot more organised and I’m sitting down and I’m planning the content for next month. You know, thinking ahead constantly, and that is then bringing in the leads. I’m getting people interested. People are starting to understand actually what it is I do, because it’s a clear message out there.

[00:51:14] And I don’t think I would have had that if I hadn’t literally started from scratch in the beginning of like, back in April, if I hadn’t started from scratch right from the beginning and worked out exactly what it is, you know, I’ve spent three years getting to know the lay of the land as a freelancer and what it is, getting experience of what I can do and now I do know, and I’m able to focus on what I really, really want to do. And that’s why now I’m wanting to focus on my content planning. Um, and actually it was you guys that came up with the idea for the, uh, I’m going to be the content planning wizard, um, which I’m gonna launch around the same time as this podcast should come out. So really excited about that. And, um, the start of it, it’s going to be a free five day challenge, which will be on the 14th of September for helping people plan the social media content for their business. Um, so my goal is to take people through five different tasks. So they come out of it ready to. Um, write and schedule their content for October, November, and December.

[00:52:20] So they’re ready for the rest of the year. They know exactly what they’re going to put up on social media. Cause I would have sort of held their hand through it. And I’m really excited about this. Like, actually I’m really good at this and I know people can help. Like I can help people with this. I know people will benefit from this.

[00:52:35] So it’s really, I can feel myself getting all excited, telling you about it because I feel motivated again. And career wise, I don’t think I’ve felt motivated. Probably since I first came out of like uni you know what I mean? I haven’t felt this excited and confident in myself and I would not have had that if we’d have just been carrying along plodding along, lock down and the extra support with childcare, I’ll  just throw that one in there. Has really really helped with allowing me to focus. And I’m really excited about being able to, to help like other mums in business to get to that point. With the content planning, um, you know, just to give them a bit of time back with their kids. So you’re not constantly having to think about, okay, I need to put something out on Instagram tonight, or I need to go live on Facebook at some point today. Cause you’ve, you’ve arranged it all. You’ve done it all. You know, for the most part, you’ve already got it scheduled on buffer or whatever, and you don’t have to think about social media. You can focus on what it is you really enjoy doing or. As I did last night, I sat in a set and had a bottle of wine while I was watching the comments come in on a nice post on Instagram. So yeah, that, that, that for me has been the big thing for lockdown has been learning who I am personally, and also professionally. 

Carla: [00:53:48] Yeah. I love that. I love that Amy, because I think sometimes that’s it isn’t, it it’s like thinking actually. Who am I? And what do I enjoy? Because you’ve never had that time before to think about it. And you kind of get in this rat race, don’t you where you’re just like, I need to make money. Yeah. I’ll take that. I’ll take that. I’ll take that. And it’s like, hold on a minute. Let’s stand back. Now I’ve got, you know, I’ve got actually no responsibilities because my clients have canceled at the moment. What do I want? Who do I want to be? And I think that’s great, Amy. And what you’ve come up with is just amazing. I can’t wait to do it myself. So looking forward to that. Um, Sophie how about you? 

Sophie: [00:54:29] I think my first one would be to basically I needed to be my own unconditional best friend. Cause I was really lonely at certain points in lockdown and I realised that really the only person who can help me is myself a lot of the time. And practicing like what I preach with self care. So not just people pleasing, actually being more selfish. So taking time to write. And dance and finish my book and do things that make me feel good and help me escape. And are good for my mental health, because really I’m the only one in control of that.

[00:55:10] And it’s also made me realize that how. I’ve always said that I’m not great with change, but I can be adaptable. And it’s given me a lot of confidence because, you know, when you work for yourself or you run businesses, people always like, Oh, you’re a Jack of all trades. And they kind of berate you for having all these different income streams and different hobbies and whatnot. But actually you, it, it actually gives you confidence because you think, well, actually, we’re the most versatile in this. And so that’s given me a lot of confidence. It’s also made me realize just how self-sufficient I am. Um, and just that I can actually run a household on my own and be healthy in mind, body and soul. And yeah, it’s given me a lot of confidence. Um, and then also in terms of business, it’s made me realize that I do want mostly an online business in order to be happy. Um, so yeah, it’s given me that opportunity to focus on that. And then also most of all, I’d say it’s made me kind of emphasise the cheerleaders and cutting out the vampires.

Carla: [00:56:24] Yeah, absolutely. 

Sophie: [00:56:26] What about you Carla?

Carla: [00:56:27] Well, so for me, well, it’s actually, I mean, with My Bump 2 Baby, theres’s just so much to it. And obviously I launched this podcast, which has just exceeded my expectations completely because I love to talk and I like to be open and apparently people like to listen. So that side of things I’m really happy with. We’ve also got the My Bump 2 Baby Expert podcast, where we invite experts on to talk about particular subjects, but also I’ve just actually taken on a business development manager. Who’s going to be helping with me, um, kind of, um, We offer work from home opportunities for parents throughout the whole of the UK. And I think with me, just me on my own, it’s very difficult to manage all of these different areas because we also work with financial advisors and family law solicitors, and obviously have our pregnancy to preschool directory too. Um, there’s so many different areas that it’s just so busy on my own than it’s actually made me realize that I needed help. I needed support and actually put that in place. Um, to grow even more, hopefully. 

Sophie: [00:57:35] Awesome. 

Carla: [00:57:35] And also, you know, I’m really passionate also about helping other people who are wanting to launch their own business, but also wondering how can I monetise this, you know, putting ideas together and working with people. That way too. So there’s a lot going on really. Um, but it’s a very exciting time and, and I think being a mum, um, especially once you’ve had a child, I do think it does change you. And I think, you know, career-wise, I mean, that’s apparently the biggest time for mums to actually change their career. Um, but sometimes you just don’t know what you want to do. Do you? You’ve got that buzz and you’re just not sure what you want to do, and it’s kind of putting it all together. 

Sophie: [00:58:14] Yeah, 100%. 

Carla: [00:58:17] So that covers a look back at lockdown and lessons that we’ve learnt in lockdown. So we would love to hear your opinions as well, um, on what you’ve changed and your stories about what you’ve changed and stuff.

[00:58:31] And, um, hopefully, um, You’ll hear from all of us soon, well, you will do. This is the start of series two. So I’m just thinking to myself, what the hell am I going to talk about next? I don’t know what hit me, hit me. Not literally, by the way, if you see me just hit me with your ideas. So Sophie also, can we just celebrate your successes? You launched your book. Um, which is absolutely fantastic. I cannot wait to read, actually, I think it’s arrived today. I’ve not looked at the post, but something arrived, and it felt like a book. So I’m very excited about that. 

Sophie: [00:59:07] Yeah, so I finished after three years of graft my first published book, from basically how it went from a life of self harm and abuse. To basically well on a journey to a life of self love and through surrounding myself with positive people, a lot of therapy, a lot of fitness, a lot of dancing, but most of all, it’s about women that don’t fit in and strive to succeed. But the fact that actually the real health is wealth. And sorry. Wealth is health, Health is Wealth. God it’s so late now.

Carla: [00:59:49] I have had too much wine to tell you. So 

Sophie: [00:59:52] I know and like the kids have suddenly decided to erupt again. 

Carla: [00:59:57] I’m really looking forward to that Soph. 

Sophie: [01:00:00] Basically that I thought to have it all. I was. So focused on my career at all costs. And then I got up the duff and pregnant and everything changed and it, put my life into perspective and, and actually that really, if I didn’t look after myself then, um, nobody else is going to, um, Actually had such journey, it’s quite graphic and deep in parts. Cause I want to share that no matter how bad things feel that there’s always hope and there’s always recovery. Um, so hopefully that will help other people. 

Carla: [01:00:36] Absolutely. I’m sure it will. I’m sure it will. You’re very  inspirational young lady. So, yeah. So we’ll put the link to that in the show notes. So, Sophie, thank you so much. And Amy, thank you so much for, um, coming on this podcast. It was lovely to have you both as always, and I will catch up with you both soon. 

[01:00:59] Thank you so much for listening to this week’s episode of 50 shades of Motherhood. My aim is ways to support free chat around motherhood’s uncensored, unhinged and  unapologetic mum chats.

[01:01:16] If you like this podcast, please don’t forget to subscribe and tell all your friends about it. The more listeners we get, the more subscribers we get, the more chance we’ve got of getting series three done. So I look forward to speaking to you next time and keep your eyes peeled on our social pages to find out who our next guest is. I’m sure you will love it. 

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