Happy Holidays!

From those of us at Lactation Matters, we wish you well during this holiday season.  May you find joy and happiness spending time with family and loved ones.  May you find a few quiet moments to spend by yourself, relaxing and decompressing from an often-abundant workload.  May you find the time to reflect on all of the good you do for mothers and babies, throughout the world, as you provide them with the necessary support to continue breastfeeding.

We look forward to continuing to share your stories, provide you with professional support, and nurture your self-confidence as a health-care professional in the field of lactation.

Happy holidays and we will see you in 2012!

Robin Kaplan, M.Ed., IBCLC, Lactation Matters Editor, Owner San Diego Breastfeeding Center

Decalie Brown, RN, CM, CFHN, IBCLC, ILCA Director of Marketing

Keep sending your stories in to LactationMatters@gmail.com and hopefully meet in beautiful Orlando this July at the 2012 ILCA conference. http://youtu.be/yzEeqvRsCRw

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Becoming a FILCA: Part Two

In Becoming a FILCA: Part Two, Joy Heads shares her story.  Don’t miss Kathy Parkes reflecting on her designation as FILCA in Becoming a FILCA: Part One.

Joy Heads RM; CM, MHPEd, IBCLC, FILCA ILCA

BOD Global Outreach 2011-2014

Joy Heads describes being a FILCA as, “It’s important to be a Fellow of ILCA, as  ‘Fellowship’ is defined by the Encarta World English Dictionary (1999) as ‘a member of a learned or scientific society’. Professional organizations created the Fellowship as a formal way of recognizing a colleague’s contribution to their chosen profession. ILCA, as a relatively new professional organization, achieved this developmental goal in 2007, when it established the Fellow of ILCA. This designation would suitably recognize significant professional achievements of the leaders and mentors in the field of lactation consultancy.

Many IBCLCs contribute to their profession, not only by being a member but also by working on the various committees ILCA and its affiliates have. This may be, for example, on an Affiliate Board or part of ILCA’s Conference committee. Mentoring, lecturing, being an ILCA liaison or slogging it out at the coalface are all ways of promoting the profession of IBCLCs and their professional body, ILCA.

I wanted to be a Fellow of ILCA, because being a Fellow of ILCA recognizes proven commitment to ILCA which I am proud to have as my professional organization. The fact that it is self-nominated and self-funded appealed to me. I felt that I would be making an extra contribution to ILCA and in addition, if successful, I would be able to enthusiastically promote ILCA as THE experts in Human Lactation.

Within Australia, as in other countries we ‘compete’ – if that is the right word – with midwives. It is often difficult to present the Lactation Consultant as having an extended role in the mother/baby relationship. You have to remind everyone that midwifery care only covers the postpartum period of about six weeks. (International Confederation of Midwives 2005) where as the IBCLC can care for women for as long as they are breastfeeding – which in many cases is well beyond the second year of life.

Being accepted as a Fellow of your professional association is an amazing honor. You have to meet independently-set criteria that you know is objective. It was a real challenge to fill in the application form. I have been an IBCLC and an ILCA member since 1986 so digging back into my files/my life to document it was very empowering and proved to me that I had made the right choices along the way.

Breastfeeding became my passion when feeding my twins. Involvement in the Australian Breastfeeding Association and the Australia Multiple Birth Association followed. Once back at work and starting university for the first time the choices of teaching topics, electives and assignments revolved around my expertise… breastfeeding. It didn’t take me long to figure out that the lecturers didn’t compare notes – so I could use a breastfeeding angle in every assignment.

My first job as a nurse educator was to teach the “Bottle Feeding Demonstration” to the student midwives….. …that soon was replaced.  Over time, my professional life serendipitously fell into place to enable me to meet the established criteria and achieve my FILCA designation in 2008. Along with my Order of Australia Medal and my Masters being a FILCA is one of the highlights of my professional life.

All eligible ILCA members are encouraged to submit their application to permit this wonderful recognition as a Fellow of ILCA (FILCA).   Any questions, contact the ILCA office info@ilca.org.

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Becoming a FILCA: Part One

Become a Fellow of ILCA! Applications for this year are closing soon!

The deadline for applications for the 2012 Fellow of the International Lactation Consultant Association (FILCA) are about to close on December31, 2011.  This is a self-nominated, self-funded designation recognizing ILCA members who have achieved a high level of commitment to ILCA and to professionalism in the field of lactation consulting.

The application information for 2012 can be found on the FILCA webpage of ILCA’s website.  A “Fellow” of ILCA (FILCA) has achieved a high level of professionalism, demonstrated by meeting independently-set criteria, and will be permitted to attain this universal form of recognition. There is an application form, a fee to pay and once the Fellow of ILCA (FILCA) designation is achieved, membership is maintained by paying a small annual fee.

All eligible ILCA members are encouraged to submit their application to permit this wonderful recognition as a Fellow of ILCA (FILCA).  Any questions, contact the ILCA office info@ilca.org.

We have asked two of our Fellows of ILCA to give us some idea on what FILCA means to them.

Kathy Parkes, BSPsy, RN, IBCLC, RLC, FILCA

ILCA Treasurer, 2011-2014

Firstly, FILCA is an official recognition of your hard work. Have you spent years volunteering in your area affiliate group? Then moved on to work even harder and longer in your state affiliate? Have you mentored other up-and-coming lactation consultants, even though you know you have to put in many extra hours? Have you slaved away at the computer to write a book on lactation? You deserve recognition for all that time, dedication, love, effort, and work you put into your volunteer hours.

Secondly, being a FILCA is networking. You will be in a classification with other top-notch lactation consultants. Those with whom you can discuss situations and case studies, as well as practice guidelines, protocols, and situations about which you might be unsure.

Third, you are being a mentor. You are paving the way for new IBCLCs who will follow after you, in your footsteps, looking to you to share that knowledge with them. You are someone else’s mentor, the one they go to when they need to know how to solve a lactation problem, a hospital policy situation, or a private practice challenge.

And fourth, but certainly not last, being a FILCA is FUN. You can impress your favorite doctor with the new credential. You can meet other FILCAs and find out what they do that is totally outside of the realm of lactation. You get to eat lunch together at the annual ILCA conference.

So join us. Become a FILCA!

In Part Two, find out what being a FILCA means to Joy Heads.

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Nursing is Normal – A Video from the Central District Breastfeeding Coalition

Thank you so much to Betsy Ayers, a lactation consultant at Meridian St. Luke’s hospital in Boise, Idaho, for sending this video to Lactation Matters.  What a beautiful testiment to normalizing breastfeeding, especially in public!

If you have a video or story that you would like to share with our readers, please email us at Lactationmatters@gmail.com

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IBCLCs Around the World – Natalya Razakhatskaya

I was born in Belarus in 1978. While in school, I wanted to be a doctor just like my granny. Later, I entered the linguistic university and became an interpreter. After graduation, I started to work in a French IT company as a translator, but that job didn’t make me happy. I was eager to be useful to people, so when I got pregnant I decided to change my job. As a breastfeeding mother, I had many questions about breastfeeding and care of my first baby. I didn’t receive helpful assistance from my pediatrician. Luckily, I met the first Belarusian lactation consultant at that time, who explained the simplicity of breastfeeding.  Soon, I decided to become a breastfeeding counselor in order to help other mothers feel happy.

The am-am.info website was started in March 2008 as a personal blog, which my husband kindly gave to me as a present on Women’s Day. Gradually the blog was filled with articles about breastfeeding and natural parenting. At the same time, I began to meet with other breastfeeding mothers almost every week and the blog became a good place for communication. The blog became a unique community which, in addition to the forum, included a list of sites for women, Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ), and a photo-gallery and online consultations on various women’s topics. I made educational video clips about breastfeeding, and how to carry your baby in-arms and in a sling. After a few years of work on the blog, I managed to write and publish a book about breastfeeding, called “Breastfeeding: A Guide for Nursing Mothers”.

On average, about 5,000 people visit the am-am.info website every day. The most popular articles are about normal infant weight gain, infant stooling, low milk supply, and how to transition the baby from artificial feedings to full breastfeeding. Each day, I reply to about 10 e-mails, and about the same number of comments to articles, forum posts and telephone calls.  Also, the website supports live chat and Skype. Occasionally, I organize free educational webinars. I continue to meet with forum members in person at family centers around Minsk and organize local breastfeeding support events.

To encourage breastfeeding in public, we have created a special project: www.go.am-am.info. At this website, you can download stickers of the international breastfeeding symbol and distribute them to cafes and other public places which are friendly to breastfeeding mothers.

The project is funded from personal sources. I’ve received voluntary donations from other breastfeeding support group leaders and breastfeeding mothers from the forum who help answer questions of other visitors. I am really amazed to read feedback from many countries and know that my project can help breastfeeding mothers all over the world.

The purpose of the am-am.info project is to provide an informative resource about breastfeeding and natural parenting and to facilitate communication with other parents. I want to open a test center on this website, first for parents who are interested in breastfeeding, and then an educational platform for other breastfeeding specialists.

Natalya Razakhatskaya, IBCLC

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Let’s Share Our Breastfeeding News!

The greatest aspect of a blog is that it can be used as a launching point for conversations.  Blog articles are not traditional stagnant news articles.  Instead, they are living documents that can be added to, modified, and created by its audience and readers. We at Lactation Matters want to know about the wonderful things our readers are doing in their communities to promote and support breastfeeding.

What breastfeeding events or programs are going on in your town?
Do you have photos/videos that you would like to share from a recent
event?
Is someone doing something newsworthy in your town that you would like to
share and celebrate?

We would love to collect your stories and share them with our colleagues and blog readers.

If you have a short story that would fit into the comment section of this article, please submit a comment at the bottom of this article.

If your story belongs as its own blog article, or you have photos and/or videos to share, please submit it/them to lactationmatters@gmail.com and we will contact you in the next
few days.

Thank you so much for your connections and interactions on Lactation Matters, thus far.  We are ecstatic to hear from you!

Robin Kaplan, M.Ed., IBCLC, Co-Editor Lactation Matters

Owner, San Diego Breastfeeding Center

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Video Vignettes – Breastfeeding in Public

In our monthly Video Vignette series, we review the use of the internet to empower moms to meet their breastfeeding goals.  This month, let’s utilize YouTube to assist moms in getting out of the house and finding the confidence to breastfeed in public.

As we all know, today’s new mothers are excited to reconnect with the outside world.  Breastfeeding mothers can take advantage of the simplicity of breastfeeding outside of the home once they get some helpful tips.   During consultations and hospital rounds, suggestions for breastfeeding in public can be provided; a handout or follow-up email listing videos to watch at home can supplement your ‘breastfeeding in public’ message.

Breastfeeding in Public Tips:  Encourage mothers to practice breastfeeding at home until they can put their baby to the breast without fumbling.  Suggest nursing in new places around their own home and while doing new activities (talking on the phone or working at the computer).  Move on to nursing at a friend’s house or in a changing room at a shopping mall or local clothing store.  Once the private locations are mastered and breastfeeding confidence is established, recommend breastfeeding on a park bench, in the shopping mall, or at a quiet restaurant.

Clothing should provide easy access to breasts.  Loose tops with layered buttoning shirts or sweaters provide great cover and will give the mother plenty of ability to maneuver.  Unbuttoning from the bottom up will allow for discrete coverage of the mother’s sides and will keep her shoulders covered and warm.   For additional privacy, a shawl or baby blanket draped across mother’s shoulder can form a tent over baby as she nurses.

Nursing in a sling, carrier, or wrap is also a great recommendation for breastfeeding in pubic.

Lactation Consultants can also mention that nursing openly and proudly reminds people that breasts are for feeding babies.  Nursing in public helps our society become a more welcoming place for mothers and babies.  Encourage the mother to smile proudly as she nurses – she is doing the best for her baby.

As follow-up to verbal tips and advice, we have selected three videos to encourage breastfeeding in public through the use of the internet.

The Australians have it right with this short video.  Mothers will laugh and gain confidence as they see how ridiculous breastfeeding in some setting can be.

Baby Gooroo presents an empowering video including dads discussing their fears about breastfeeding in public and exposure.  Simple, short and multi-cultural.

Lastly, this simple woman-to-woman video presents the legal perspective to breastfeeding in public.  Mothers are encouraged to check out their state laws and provided with tips for confronting individuals who may challenge the woman’s right to breastfeed.

Remember, YouTube is the perfect classroom for the breastfeeding mother.  She can watch at her leisure, in the privacy of her own home, pause, review and watch some more.

These videos are only a beginning – we encourage you to search for additional video

Wendy Wright, MBA, IBCLC, Guess Blogger

Utilizing the web to reach our breastfeeding target market Co-owner Lactation Navigation – Workplace Lactation Consultants, LLC

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Introducing One of Our Newest IBCLCs – Effath Yasmin

What inspired you to become an IBCLC?

Motherhood stirred my life in a direction that only bought more warmth and deep sharing of empathy all along. It has been a dream-come-true for me.

Becoming an IBCLC has been a natural progression similar to a tree growing deeper roots. Challenging breastfeeding experience drew me closer to La Leche League International. Being a Le Leche League Leader connected me with some wonderful people and this is the best thing that happened to me besides my husband. I had the opportunity to interact on a personal level with some of the eminent personalities in the Lactation field such Rachel Myr, Diana West, Gini Baker, Diana Cassar-Uhl, Katheleen Kendall-Tackett, Nikkie Lee, Jane Kershaw, Susan Burger, and Catherine Watson Genna among others. What most struck me about these people was their humility and humanness. I find them profoundly philanthrophical in their ideas and sharing of knowledge.

What were some of the highlights during your journey?

The use of technology which connected me the outside world, from my home, while I cared for my family is perhaps the biggest highlight.

4 years ago, as a mother with breastfeeding challenges and my quest for answers, carved a pathway to becoming a counsellor and an IBCLC. The highlight remains the clarity of thought and answers I finally uncovered about the challenges of my nursing. The road to this realisation hasn’t been easy for me but it strengthens my commitment to help the mothers who are seeking help.

What challenges did you face?

The uncertainty of being a committed La Leche League Leader who enjoyed volunteering my time and knowledge, and moving into a role of a professional lactation consultant. The differential roles, these two credentials, play in supporting a mother. The clarity of thought came during the endless conversations I had on the forum of Health-e-learning with Denise Fisher.

I perceived a possible conflict of interest in holding these two roles may be my biggest challenge as a Le Leche League Leader/Lactation Consultant, however this turned out to be the least of all challenges I have faced.

There were challenges with the IBCLC exam, as it included studying and getting to know about the different cases and familiarising oneself with different breast conditions even though it is quite difficult to practically have experienced all these conditions and scenarios. The other challenge was being the lone candidate from Mumbai and I did long for a partner to study with and a mentor.

What are you most excited about now that you are an IBCLC?

My approach or level of care to the mothers I help has not changed but being an IBCLC has given me a tremendous amount of confidence in the knowledge of clinical management of breastfeeding. This will translate as assurance in mothers I help and increase their trust in my ability to provide them breastfeeding support. I also feel empowered to help influence the belief and opinions around breastfeeding among young mothers for the better and the credential of IBCLC makes it easier to be heard and trusted. This is most true amongst the medical community and health care providers that I have and will be working with than the mothers I care for.

What questions would you like to ask your IBCLC colleagues who have been practicing for a while?

I would like to learn more about scope of practice in a hospital setup and level of follow-up. I would appreciate looking at samples of reports to be shared with clients or communication samples with other health care providers. It will be a big help to know more about managing and gathering funds to attend conferences, which I believe are a great source of learning and networking. Also an insight to involve health insurance for reimbursement for lactation care for clients will be helpful.

Effath Yasmin, MA,HDSE,CLEC(USA),IBCLC, is the founder of Nourish & Nurture Lactation Care & Parenting Solutions, a pursuit to becoming an outreach center for mothers and families who are seeking professional lactation support. She found herself transitioning naturally into a profession that enriches her role of a mother of 4 year old, Zaara. Yasmin naturally saw a calling and a desire to help other mothers in their journey of motherhood. She fervently pursued to become an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant specialising in clinical management of breastfeeding. She works towards providing high quality of care integrating in her plan of care approaches of nutrition, lifestyle and draws outcome from referred treatment therapies such as homeopathy, craniosacral therapy, acupressure, physiotherapy, and hypnotherapy towards solving and managing breastfeeding issues. Yasmin insists in recognising & acknowledging the psychosomatic factors & the impact of birth trauma in breastfeeding issues.

Yasmin is very passionate about her role as an accredited Le Leche League Leader  providing support and counselling to hundreds of mothers over the past years. She is also very enthusiastic about her affiliation with International Baby Food Action Network and applauds the work of IBFAN to promoting better standards of food for infants and young children. Yasmin supports and volunteer a significant amount of her time for the mission of Breastfeeding Promotion Network of India and Birth India for the cause of educating women of their childbirth choices and the direct impact it has on breastfeeding.

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Mama Aroha means ‘mother love’ in Maori – New Zealand

Mama Aroha means ‘mother love’ in Maori. ‘Aroha’ can be interpreted as love, compassion, sympathise, and pity. It is this ‘aroha’ that drives most of us to do what we do. For the beautiful breastfeeding wahine (women) that we all work with, her ‘mother love’ that flows through her breastmilk not only provides nourishment, but also ‘aroha’ (love) for her baby

Imagine if every health worker provided every mother with consistent and accurate breastfeeding information.  Imagine then if that same mother received the same messages each time she came in contact with a different health worker.  Imagine if we provided this mother with all the necessary skills and knowledge she would need to continue to breastfeed her baby.  Imagine if she could then pass this knowledge and skills onto her friends and family.

It has been this vision that has inspired me, and given me the drive, to develop a new resource that makes breastfeeding simple, interesting and accurate for our 21st century mothers. These ‘talk cards’ were launched in August 2011 at the New Zealand Lactation Consultant Association Conference.

Almost two years ago while I was running a breastfeeding drop-in centre in the community,  I would often find myself scribbling diagrams on bits of paper while I was talking my way through the mother’s issues as this was the most effective way to get information across. Traditionally for Maori, we are an oracle culture who can often catch on quickly and easily when the information is explained verbally.  In fact studies have shown that only 10% of all adults retain information by reading it, while 70% learn through participation in a discussion. Yet, while I was working in the Maternity Unit as a midwife I found there was a lack of resources that suited this type of learning. We needed something that could be used while sitting with the mother ‘talking’ about breastfeeding.

Over the past two years I have continued to help breastfeeding mothers in the community, worked as a BFHI coordinator, set up a peer counselling programme, and became a Lactation Consultant (IBCLC). But my biggest qualification in life is being a mother of four young children. I am still breastfeeding my nine month old baby and find most of my inspiration while I am up feeding him in the early hours of the night.

What makes these ‘talk cards’ unique is that they have been developed at a grassroots level, they are New Zealand-owned and have been made with no other intention other than to help breastfeeding mothers of all cultures reclaim ownership of the knowledge and skills that are necessary to breastfeed a baby. The beautiful mothers and babies that are featured in the cards have been very much a part of the process. These cards have come from the women, this is what they want, and this is what works for them. I have seen with my own eyes how much impact they can have on a mother and her family.

It has been a long process with no sponsorship or funding and there have been many times that I have wanted to give up. There has never been any project planning, just inspiration! So I had to finish what I had started. However, it is the vision to help mothers understand breastfeeding that has kept me going, kept me motived. I often ask myself, “Has this been worth it?” When a mother looks at the cards and has a ‘light bulb’ moment, when I hear her passing on what she has learned to her family, when I see her feel empowered by this knowledge…I can say, “Yes, it has all been worth it.”

“I’m a busy mum of four young children which has given me my biggest qualification in life! “ Written by Amy Wray, BM, IBCLC, PCPA

Lactation Matters co-editor, Decalie Brown, adds …..This was Amy’s very first conference she had presented at, as her family championed her in the background. A loud call to her from the back stalls of the room was her baby being minded by her sister. Amy responded with a  nod as she calmly picked her baby.  There was a scurry towards the stage to produce a chair, where she sat and calmly breastfed her baby , completing her presentation to the ‘oh’ of the audience.   It was a truly magical moment, Amy!

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The Essence of Nelson Babies Growing: Part Two

If you missed the first installment of this article, please see The Essence of Nelson Babies Growing: Part One.

A planting area is born:
We approached the local city council for an area that would be appropriate. We also hoped it would be an area of significance in the region so that families would feel more compelled to plant there. We were delighted when they came back to us with the suggestion of the Centre of NZ where they have a conservation planting programme in progress and are looking for groups to contribute to the planting. This indeed was a significant area for Nelsonians!

The Centre of NZ is the geographical centre of New Zealand. It was deemed so by some surveyor in the UK when the early maps of New Zealand were being developed. Every year when I hike to the top of the hill I picture this surveyor as someone with a sense of humour. Of course the centre of NZ was never going to be on the flat fields all around the hill!

Hiking to the Centre of NZ

Since 2008, once a year, the local NZ College of Midwives, local iwi, and Nelson City Council, host a planting session in our newly formed whenua area. Representative of this are two large totara trees, which were planted at the start of the area and will stand over the area… and a third ‘Lyndell’ totara.

When we first started looking into providing a planting area, we did expect to come up against some obstruction, especially around burial of ‘body parts’.  Strangely enough placenta weren’t considered body parts. Or perhaps we can just be thankful to our maori forbearers who paved the way for us!  Checking health regulations, the only restriction was avoiding planting near waterways…easily done on a hill!

The fact that it is a re-vegetation planting area gave us clear guidelines and very little to discuss around ‘rules’ for the area. So we agreed to the council’s following conditions:

  • The area will be available over a number of seasons until the entire area is planted out. It will then be closed to further planting.
  • The site will only be available for this purpose once a year for the NZCOM event. Casual placenta burying or planting at other times of the year is not permitted.
  • Planting programme: this site is part of the council’s wider re-vegetation programme. There is no particular ownership or expectation about the future of the plant that is planted upon an individual’s placenta.
  • Participants also need to acknowledge there is no assurance that any individual plant will grow or be maintained to maturity given the usual rates of mortality from restoration projects and, as with any maturing forest, that a number of these plants will be replaced by other species as the restorations process continues. To this end we have selected an appropriate planting time to best ensure survival of the plants.
  • Council needs to ensure that appropriate native plants are planted from seeds/cuttings that have been collected from the correct areas (eco-sourced). To best achieve this, only NCC supplied plants can be used for the plantings.
  • As this site is a natural restoration area, no markings of any plant locations are permitted.

During the first year of planting, we had no idea how many families would take up the opportunity of this planting area. In this region there are around 1000 births per year. So it was a pleasant surprise to come over the brow of the hill and see the families who had made the trek.

First year of planting

The land is blessed ….

A song and a prayer…..

And the planting begins…..

In 2010, the Nelson Soroptmist club provided a hand crafted seat for rest and reflection alongside the whenua planting area.  Maia Hegglun, local carver, builder and father, designed the seat from a cultural perspective, to compliment the Whenua Planting Project. The seat is designed as a sculpture telling the story of the seen and unseen aspects of two different cultures coming together and as a functional enduring seat to be used by families (whanau) and the public.

The area has not been without some interesting discussion. It has led some Maori to express some unease about the area. We left the idea with local iwi for some months for them to have a final say and we would have respected any unease they had, but this wasn’t to be the case.  Some Pakeha (European), especially of the mature generation, have also expressed an unease, (or more a queasiness!) about walking past an area where placenta are buried. We hope in time their queasiness will settle.  The dogs that walk with them seem relaxed and we haven’t had a single plant lost to dogs digging them up. The plants from the past three years are flourishing!

Families who have planted their whenua in the area use the walk as regular family time to check on the progress of ‘their’ plant.  They describe the area as ‘special’ and ‘peaceful’.

Indeed a special place to sit and reflect …Nelson babies growing the area, with flourishing plants representing how life moves on and along…

Suzi Hume, Anounska Myer, and Andrea Vincent

Andrea Vincent, Case-loading Midwife, Nelson, NZ via Seo Companies

Toitu he kianga; whatungarongaro he tangata
People are transient things but the land endures

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