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Everyone has a different experience of parenting and motherhood and there is no right or wrong path. The hotMaMa diaries is a place to read stories from other mothers and even share your own!

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  1. She made an effort.  She got the kids dressed and fed.  She even dressed herself which was no small feat, considering the walls felt like they were closing in on her this morning.  If she had been able to she would have stayed in bed.  But the kids were lively and restless, she knew they needed to get out even if she didn’t feel like it, they needed company even if she didn’t want it.  So she made an effort.

    She thought she would try that toddler group around the corner.  She pushed open the door and tentatively peeked inside.  Playgroup was in full swing, kids screaming with delight tearing around the room, toys flying left to right, parents and carers deep in conversation, sat on a line of chairs encircling this chaos.

    Her son took off straight away loudly tearing around the room with a headless doll in one hand and a plastic saw in the other.  She flinched as she saw a group of mums look at her child, she could almost hear them thinking “Who is this loud crazy child?” The mums and carers looked at her briefly then looked away and carried on talking.

    She swallowed hard as she looked desperately for an empty chair, while dragging her second child along the floor who was wrapped around her leg, stuck to her like a limpet.  She glanced up and felt a few more stares.  She felt a little bit like those strangers in the old western movies who walk into a bar, she almost expected a mum to come up to her with a western drawl and say “Yer not from around these parts are ye?” but at least that would mean someone would actually be talking to her.  She turned her attention to her daughter/limpet and tried to encourage her to pick up some nearby dolls. She glanced up again and then she saw it, a lady was looking at her and smiled!  In the midst of backs of head or quick glances a smile is like a lighthouse shining in the dark, standing out like a beacon.  “How old is she?” the lady kindly asked.  She replied and entered into a very short polite dialogue but a dialogue nevertheless.  Between that and the snacks/songs and home time there were a couple more smiles and the owner of the playgroup who had been previously talking to someone else came over to introduce herself.  All these things made a huge difference between her feeling even more alone than when she was at home, and feeling like this was somewhere she could come again.

    You may not have experienced the example above.  Maybe you have.  I can certainly say you have been in the same room as someone who has experienced the above at some point.   Don’t underestimate the power of a smile, a kind word.  It doesn’t have to be much.  We can all think of a time when a kind smile lifted us but may not always be aware when we need to be the one aware of who needs a smile from us today.

    Amazingly it is absolutely possible to feel alone in a crowd.  To feel isolated in a lively buzzing building filled with noise chatting and laughter.  Connection is more than just being in the same room as other mums and children.  Sometimes you can arrive and leave feeling just the same as if you had never left your sofa.

    Other times loneliness comes from not hearing from other mums in the week.  Feeling like if you never made the effort to contact people you would never hear from them.  Surprisingly though very many people feel like this, it’s not just you, and the people you never hear from they often feel the same way.  More often than not you are the one required to take that first step hard as it may be. How refreshing it is when someone takes that first step for you, and that can be as simple as a smile.

    We have many things in place to help you if you are feeling like this.  To provide a safe space to socialise, where those in charge are trained to be observant and discerning and signpost you to different organisations if you need help.  There are also groups that are set up for PND counselling and countless others.  Wherever you live as you read this article please do search for similar organisations local to you.  Many also have found support within a church that they are comfortable in.

    Nurturing birth and beyond and local NCT groups are active and passionate about empowering mothers and being a friend and providing invaluable information, networking and support.  Pregnancy yoga classes and mother and baby yoga are built on the foundations of peer support in mind, passionately making sure mums don’t feel left out.

    Home Start provides a proactive home visiting programme for families under stress to offer practical support, help and friendship.  This in turn will reduce the family isolation and encourage the building of social networks and many more.  Home Start also run playgroups. Dragonflies meets every Tuesday and Thursday morning.  There is also a dads group, story time and lots more.  Please see their website or Facebook page for updates and more information.

    Bright Beginnings at the edge of Delancey Park and The Kindred Centre at Les Genats offer a welcoming Community Centre where there are varied activities during the week. Their highly trained staff are on hand to help or offer support or signpost you to other helpful organisations.  Please see Facebook pages or websites for more information.

    Breaking free is a course run by Health and Social Services Department for mums suffering with post natal depression.  This eight week course gives support and coping strategies as well as sessions where you can explore relaxation techniques too.  Please ask your Health Visitor or Doctor if you would like a referral.

    The incredible years programme aims to prevent and reduce behavioural and emotional problems in young children whilst supporting and educating parents.  You can contact your Health Visitor or Doctor for more information.

    The above support and more are available locally.  Don’t be afraid to ask.

    We all suffer loneliness at times.  Being a mum can be very isolating it can also be very rewarding.  Let us be aware of those around us who may be needing support, even just a smile is something we can all do.

    If you are feeling lonely to the point of feeling regularly low please do take steps to attend one of these friendly playgroups who are geared up to helping mums in this situation. Do ask your Doctor or Health Visitor for a referral where you can learn coping strategies for day to day life, and benefit from the care and support you will also receive

    **********

    Read more from Jo at https://freshbreadandfaith.wordpress.com/

  2. Social media is awash at the minute with mothers celebrating their post birth body. They are embracing their lumps, bumps and imperfections because their body created amazing little people. They grew humans inside of them and then brought them into the world to breath new life. It’s wonderful to see such an outpouring of love and pride for a realistic image of a woman’s body. It’s left me feeling a bit left out though.

    You see, my body didn’t create my little human. Another woman did that. She grew and nurtured our daughter in her tummy. She felt her first kick and watched her bump grow as our daughter developed in her womb. I can’t begin to imagine how she must have felt when her waters broke. She had already decided then she wasn’t going to be able to look after the baby she was about to bring into the world. She endured a no doubt excruciating labour knowing she wasn’t going to be taking home the little human she’d grown inside her for 9 months.

    For a long time, I fell out of love with my body. Since time began, women have become pregnant and given birth. I felt such a failure that I didn’t and incredibly let down by my body. It was the complete opposite to the way that the social media mums are loving their bodies because they created a life. I was loathing mine because it didn’t. Every month I’d get a punch in the face, as regular as clockwork, reminding me that my body COULD get pregnant, it just wasn’t.

    Infertility is one of those things that unless you’ve experienced it, you really can’t understand how someone who is going through it is feeling. Month after month, I’d be on a rollercoaster of hope at the start of my cycle, followed very quickly with crushing disappointment. Every twinge during the “2 week wait” would be analysed, googled, cherished and then quickly thrown away in despair.

    Why couldn’t I get pregnant? Everyone else seemed to be. I was reasonably fit and healthy, as was my husband. He went along with the endless attempts at new positions / baggy underwear / bath ban / vitamin overkill I forced on him as I desperately clung on to the hope that it would happen. During that time, my best friends had produced 10 kids between them and my sister had 2. There had been crushing miscarriages too, but 12 babies gave me hope that it would happen for us.

    But it didn’t. I felt completely inadequate. A failure as a woman. It wasn’t that I was getting pregnant and then my body rejected it. I just didn’t get pregnant. I have never experienced the thrill of a positive pregnancy test of my own. I’ve seen the line change for someone else which was a feeling I will never forget. It’s never happened to me though.

    If I’m being completely honest with myself, I think I knew that it never would. That thought didn’t help with the hurt and the pain and the all consuming disappointment I felt for a long time. My body had let me down, big time. I felt like I wasn’t a real woman because I couldn’t grow a human inside me. My lumps and bumps weren’t badges of honour. They were stark reminders every single day that my body hadn’t done what it was meant to.

    I was so desperate to become a mum. As the months went by I was terrified it was never going to happen. At times, I didn’t know if I could cope with that. I felt a physical ache as I contemplated a future not being a mum.

    I’m a great believer that things happen for a reason. The reason may not always be as clear as it could be, but it’s there, somewhere. The reason I didn’t get pregnant is because I wasn’t meant to. I wasn’t meant to be a tummy mummy. I was meant to grow my child in my heart. She grew there for a very long time, but once we met her, everything made sense.

    Mother nature decided that my route to motherhood was via adoption. I was always meant to be our daughter’s mum and if I’d got pregnant and had a birth child, that would never have happened. The thought of our daughter not being part of our lives utterly terrifies me.

    We waited such a long time to meet her. I get now though that I had to go through all of the pain, heartache and despair so that I could be her mum. And also so that I could appreciate how hard it must have been for her tummy mummy to walk away.

    So my body didn’t let me down at all. It took me on a journey and kept me going until our daughter was ready for us. My jelly belly may not have been created by our daughter growing inside me. It was created while she grew in my heart.

    ***************

    Read more from Suzy at www.wemadeawish.co.uk 

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  3. 10 weeks post partum and feeling grumpy and frumpy. Time to do something about it so did abit of research and found a class where you can take your baby! Great. Watched videos about the class on YouTube and signed up. Gulp.

    Thought about buying some new snazzy (yes, ‘snazzy’ because I’m THAT cool) active gear but then considered not only the cost but the fact they may not even get worn. I ended up at Tesco buying some Lycra bootcuts for £8. They’ll be comfy when I’m watching telly & feeding the baby at least!

    The morning of the class came. I got there early to psych myself up in the car. Practically sweating already from nerves and I’m not even in the class!

    I pretty much talked myself out of it but then remembered speaking to my 7 year old son, Max, that day while he ate his breakfast. “You got this Mum”. Gulp. Can’t let him down. Or Lily, who was in the car looking up at me expectedly.

    I took her out of the car and into her pram and walked in. Other mums around me were walking in and I judged how I’l thought I’d measure up. Was it too late to turn back?

    Finally I’m inside the studio, 10 yoga mats with weights are laid down in a semi circle with little baby play gyms in the middle for the babies.

    Lily stayed by my side in her car seat, she was the youngest there by a good few months so I wanted her close.

    The instructor welcomes me with a smile. I smile back hiding my fear!

    I can’t bring myself to look in the dance mirror which covers the entire wall so I focus on Lily.

    The beat starts. Not so much music. Beats. This isn’t a nice postnatal aerobics class. It’s HIT. High intensity Training. Bloody hell. 45minutes to go – 45 seconds on and 15 seconds off to breathe. Yes, you’re allowed 15 seconds. A whole 15 seconds to breathe.

    Gordon Bennett.

    I’m about 3 minutes in and we’ve already covered burpees and mountain climbers. Seriously. Google them if you don’t know what they are. Literally by the time it’s taken me to get down on the mat, the other mums are back up and on the next movement.

    7 minutes in and I am seriously considering walking out. But I don’t want to seem rude so I start thinking of other ways to get out asap.

    I could faint dramatically- I used to do drama, I’m sure I could make it believable. No, that’s not fair on Lily – they might call 999. They might call Social Services. I’d probably get arrested for wasting time. No. Can’t do that.

    By the time I’d come up with 3 alternative options I’d actually been in the class 30 minutes. Just do it, Hannah. 15 minutes left.

    And then It was over. I enjoyed the ‘cool down’ which was basically just stretching your arms. Sorted – I had that nailed.

    I made a quick exit after deciding I’m not quite ready for this level of intensity. I won’t be back. I’m proud at least for trying, but for now, I’m certainly more comfortable in a coffee house where my face is a relatively normal shade of pale and I can sit down. With no sweat patches.

    *******

    Read more from Hannah at https://mummyavecamour.wordpress.com/

    Facebook: www.facebook.com/mummyavecamour
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  4. dec 1

    This meme that Clare sent me on Facebook made me laugh so hard, for a few reasons.

    Firstly, because im actually 7 years old and i laugh at very simple things, and secondly because its so true. 

    I find that at this moment in my life with Sofia (Our 2 week old baby girl) im quite lucky, and why you may ask? well the answer is simple, boobs! Clare is breastfeeding Sofia so this means that i dont have to get up during the night and do the dreaded bottle feeding! 

    its not to say that i havent been up once or twice with a bottle of breastmilk, but Sofia just refuses to take the bottle full stop.

    Memes and more sleep aside, this made me sit down and think about breastfeeding in a little more depth. 

    We have flirted with breastfeeding our two boys before but them simply refused and preferred the formula, but this led to reflux, baby vomit, and trapped wind and so on, things that were just awful, and especially when its your first child, can be stressful.

    But this time, its different, its more relaxed, theres no vomit, theres no reflux, theres no standing in the kitchen making bottles at 3am and coating my arm with milk to make sure the temperature is right! 

    Sofia is calm, she lets out one or two small cries to indicate she is hungry, she feeds until she is full and content. She is getting more nutrients than she could ever possibly get from formula AND ITS NATURAL!

    Clare and I talked about breastfeeding all during this pregnancy and i fully support it, but initially, i was feeling weird, its almost like a stigma than some men have! but being fully on board with it, i do envy how close Clare and Sofia have become because of this, an important thing in the early weeks of both of their lives!

    But here in the UK there seems to be an issue surrounding public breastfeeding, and even social experiments have been carried out to highlight the issue! I even seen a facebook video where a lady feeding her baby was subjected to verbal abuse from two men, and another fella stood up for her and physically man handled the two abusers from the train at the next stop, unfortunately they got the guy arrested for assault i believe, but this was subsequently quashed in court.

    In an instance God forbid this happened to Clare i would certainly stand up for her, and if i wasnt there i would certainly hope someone else would step up.

    and ive taken some benefits from the NHS website which i have the link for you to look at:

    https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/benefits-breastfeeding/

    So guys, if your partner is or wants to breastfeed, be supportive, be strong and help her! if she wants to change to formula, be assertive that she is doing a wonderful job, and encourage her to continue without being forceful! 

    Breast is Best!

    dec 2

    Read more from Jamsey at:

  5. I’ve never really opened up about my fears for having 2 children under 2, mainly because no one has asked how I feel about becoming a mum of 2 under 2 and another reason is because I’m the sort of person who keeps things locked away until it fizzles me down and someone eventually asks me, “what’s up” but even then I make the issue as vague as possible to avoid the inevitable pity.

    I’m not sure whether it’s all these extra hormones that are making me fear the birth of baby S more; probably is, but I just wanted to share with you how I feel now so that, if there are any other mummies out there, that are expecting their 2nd baby soon, maybe you can share this post with them so hopefully this can help them and give them a sense of relief knowing they’re not alone when it comes to worrying over the littlest things.

    • Getting out and about with 2 under 2

    This has been a constant fear of mine since I first found out that I was pregnant with my second baby, luckily we have a double pram now thanks to my very generous mum, but what’s worrying me is if I’ll be able to push the tandem pram up the massive hill which we live on, and if I’ll be able to manage to get on and off public transport, since me nor my partner can drive, I know it’s going to be more of a struggle but we’ll just have to persevere until Logan is old enough to be able to walk around without the pushchair, as he currently still has 1 nap a day.

    • Will my toddler’s sleep regress?

    Another fear I have is L’s sleeping, he currently has a great routine, he sleeps through all of the night pretty much and we don’t hear of him until he wakes up at 6/6.30 am and if we’re lucky 7 am. What’s worrying me is if his sleep messes up when baby S arrives, will he start night waking again if/when hears baby crying etc. It’s going to a lot more difficult for me to see to both kiddies especially when it’s just me getting up as rob will be working most mornings (after paternity leave). Please, can someone reassure me that this isn’t the case and he will still sleep through! >.<

    • Small age gap

    An obvious concern I have, as with any age gap i suppose has its pros and cons, but I’ve heard from a lot of people that having  2 children closer together is more hard work than having 2 children who are older in age, but I guess every family is different and I may find that i love having the closer age gap, i mean it was my plan initially anyway, we’re not getting any younger are we.  L will be about 19 months old when baby S arrives, so I’m hoping that he is a bit more understanding by then, because at the moment he doesn’t understand the current situation with mummies growing belly.

    IMG_3528

    Financial Doubts

    Being a young (ish) couple with a toddler is not that expensive really, as long as he’s fed and has new trainers when he needs them and the other expenses like nappies and wet wipes, it’s quite manageable. But the fears come when I start overthinking the whole situation, can we afford to have another baby? Then I remember, i have kept a lot of L’s baby clothes so that’s saved us a heck of a lot of money in the long run. The only things we really need to purchase for baby S is the larger more expensive items like a breast pump and Moses basket/baby bean bag as i really would like one of them for when baby naps during the day, and it’s quite transportable, so if we go to my mums then he can nap on the bean bag instead of lugging around the tandem pram.

    • Coping with having a toddler and a newborn

    Something else that has been playing on my mind is, how will I cope with having a toddler and a newborn? The fear of Rob going back to work after paternity leave is too much to think about right now, and I’m just praying that we get into some sort of routine before he goes back to work because the first day being a solo mum of 2 is going to hit me like a tonne of bricks i can imagine. What do I do when baby S is crying and L wants me at the same time? Will I be able to do anything for myself, e.g. make a brew, or even eat/cook etc.

    • Will my toddler still love me when newborn arrives

    This has been a fear of mine for a while too, not that I’ve read a horror story on the internet or anything. And I’m sure L will love his new baby brother, right? Or am i being too optimistic? I just hope that L doesn’t start getting jealous, or hitting/smacking me or the baby to vent his frustration that he won’t be the only child anymore. I will try to avoid this by getting L involved with baby S as much as possible and trying to play with L while baby naps, and will be a bonus if i get them both to nap at the same time! #parentingwin

    • Breastfeeding fears

    On top of all the above fears, this has to be the one that i’m worried/anxious about the most, because it’s a completely new concept to me as i bottle fed L, so In that respect it’ll be like im a new mummy all over again, and that’s terrifying! I’m scared that I won’t be producing enough milk or the latch is wrong every time, and end up with mastitis. I fear that Logan will need me at night when i’m feeding baby S, is it ok to send daddy in to see to L if he has work next day? I fear that people will judge me and give me dirty looks if i’m feeding out in public, especially the first time, that’s the worst part for me, not knowing what to expect!

    All in all, after all is said, I am more excited about the arrival of our second baby boy. I’m looking forward to the bond that L and S will share (once L has warmed up to the baby ofcourse). I’m excitied for all our future family adventures, days out and the first smiles and giggles, and more importantly i’m excited to become a family of 4 (5 if you count the cat!) lol


    I hope you all enjoyed reading this, and if you are expecting another little bundle soon, i’d love to hear your thoughts, do you share any of the same fears? And if you have recently become a family a mummy/daddy of 2 under 2 how are you finding it? What are you’re greatest struggles so far?

  6. Untitled design
     
    My name is Joanne, and I’d like to share my person experience with sepsis and help raise some awareness about the potentially fatal infection not everyone is familiar with. Sepsis kills a person every 3.5 seconds somewhere in the world. In the United Kingdom we lose around 40,000 people to it per year. The condition is caused by an infection, typically illnesses like pneumonia or urine infections, but even a small cut of the skin can lead to it. That’s what makes it so important we know the signs. Sepsis can happen to anyone, but with all illnesses the young and old are particularly at risk. Sepsis can affect multiple organs or the entire body, even without blood poisoning or septicaemia.
     
    1

    So, what do you look out for?

    In adults you want to keep an eye out for;
    temperatures too high or too low
    rapid heartrate
    fast breathing

    In children, parents need to be aware of;
    feeling cold to touch
    mottled, bluish or pale skin
    breathing fast
    fits of convulsions
    not urinating for longer than 12 hours
    floppy, weak and buging soft spots

    1 in 4 NHS trusts are failing to treat sepsis in time. This is a cause close to my heart, because during the delivery of my daughter I suffered from sepsis, as did my daughter. I was induced on a Monday afternoon and decided to go home and wait for contractions to start. Around 6am Tuesday morning, we went back to the hospital as I was experiencing pains in a pattern and noticed I had slightly wet underwear (TMI). I went to the triage unit where they said I still hadn’t dilated and my waters had not gone, despite my observation. I was put back onto the ward and received observations periodically and the induction process continued. They removed the hormone pessary which was covered in some sort of gross bodily crap…but they said that was normal. Still not contracting ‘enough’ or dilating. Hours pass and during my observations they notice I was tachycardic, but I told them I have a history of anxiety and was nervous so it was likely to be that. Tuesday afternoon a Doctor pays me a visit and does an ECG to see what is going on with my heart rate.  She says she's not concerned about there being anything actually wrong with my heart. Tuesday night was horrendous, I was wiping the crap I mentioned before each time I went to the toilet but as a first time mum just assumed that was what happened. The contractions were becoming unbearable, they were slowly upping the pain killers but it wasn’t even touching the pain. I was starting to panic how I would cope as they said I still wasn’t in established labour, all I could worry about was how bad real labour would be, considering the pain I was already in. They were still concerned about my heart rate and thought I wasn’t drinking enough and may be dehydrated, giving me jugs of water to drink, despite I was drinking enough anyway.

    The night shift was coming to an end and the midwife said to me she didn’t think I would’ve dilated much, offered to examine me but said there wouldn’t be much point. So I agreed and said not to bother. A few hours later, just as we’re getting ready for breakfast a shift leading midwife pops in, the same lady who started the induction. She examines me and says, ‘did you know your waters have gone?’ I replied ‘oh have they?’ as I was told when I thought they had…they hadn’t. The midwife went on to say there’s meconium, and asked if I had noticed, so I explained I had seen it but didn’t think anything of it as the midwife who saw the same, or extremely similar substance wasn’t concerned. She explained that it could be because I was overdue and babies start to become stressed, and that I would be taken down to delivery when there was a bed available.

    Quickly after, she returned and whisked me off to the delivery suite where I met the new midwife who’d be looking after me. I was so happy to finally be in delivery, my first words are ‘can I have the drugs now?. I was so tired, I had been in pain for 24 hours and barely slept, observations every few hours and barely eaten. The midwife administered pethidine and gave me the gas and air. I literally didn’t let go of the gas and air lol. The process is a bit of a blur still, as I was ill…not that I knew this. I opened my eyes to 1 Consultant, 2 doctors and 3 midwives standing around my bed to ‘say hello’. I wasn’t convinced. I knew they had messed up by not listening to me about my waters, and we were past the 24 hour deadline of when things start to get dangerous. They stood there and were bickering about what symptoms should be treated with what and eventually put me on IV fluids and antibiotics. My midwife explained to my birthing partners that if in case of emergency, there was a big reg button by my bed and how to use it. She told us that because of the meconium there would need to be a paediatrician on hand when Ivy was born in case she needed resuscitating.  That in itself was enough to send my blood pressure through the roof (they medicated me for that too). I asked if I was able to eat and the consultant made it very clear I could not eat or drink, and I knew from watching countless episodes of One Born Every Minute that she thought I would need a c-section. They said how I had a certain amount of time to dilate and give birth naturally or I’d have an emergency c-section, this was a while into the process. The oxytocin drip I was on was making Ivy’s heart rate rise so they had to turn that off, so I was relying completely on my body doing its job and dilating itself. I opted for an epidural because I couldn’t cope any more and they said it may slow the labour down, but I didn’t care at this point. It didn’t even work. Still felt everything.

    11 hours after entering delivery I have a sudden urge to poo (tmi..) and told the new consultant I felt like I needed to push. The consultant didn’t seem to think I would be at that point yet, and said ‘I wasn’t going to examine you for another couple hours’ but lo and behold, I was finally 10cm dilated (hooray)! After an hours pushing Ivy-Willow entered the world, covered in poo. Once they could see she didn’t have any trouble breathing I got to hold her for the first time. Then she pooed on me, too. Y’know, inside me wasn’t enough. Tom and my mum went home to get some more bits for our now 3-day-stay at the hospital. There I was, after being in labour for the good part of 36 hours…they’ve shoved a paracetamol up my back side, taken my new baby to the NICU so she could have her treatment for sepsis and I’m just laying there…alone. Can’t move, starving hungry, nobody around waiting for someone to bring me toast, and it was cold.

    Ivy and I had out temperatures checked, IV given and blood pressure checked every few hours for three days. Its crazy to think that if they had listened to me none of it may have ever happened, but I am grateful that they took no time in waiting around before starting anti-biotics. Nobody ever explained to us what the infection was, or why we needed to be watched so closely. I remember Ivy having her blood taken and I just started crying, the baby blues that you usually experience in the comfort of your own home, started after seeing her be poked and prodded time and time again. It wasn’t until I got home and read my hospital notes that it said we were being treated for sepsis.

    The stress didn’t end there though, once we got home we both ended up getting another infection due to the anti-biotics. Sorry to have gone on for so long, but it’s really important you make your voice heard. I wish I had listened to my body more and spoke up, health care professionals are over stretched and do get things wrong. So, take the time and learn about sepsis.

    23Breastfeeding Blog, Sepsis, World Sepsis Day5

    Read more from Jo at: