What do you, if anything, tell your friends? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 41 Old 10-21-2008, 04:03 AM - Thread Starter
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I live in a pretty rural, dare I say yuppy area of Ontario... and ALL of my friends who are either pregnant or have kids/babies are so mainstream! I never meant to be so crunchy... I don't know how it happened... I think it all started with the babywearing LOL

Anyways, FF to the birth of my DS and we have decided not to vax at all. I have mentioned it to a couple of my close friends who are too polite to say anything but I'm sure have a field day in their heads! I've also mentioned it to pg SIL who practically called me a child abuser! I sort of feel icky "hiding" it... and I certainly don't MENTION it... but when I hear "Baby went for his 2 month needles and he cried and cried, did Your Baby cry at his?" I am really wishing I could just pretend I didn't hear and move on. I am not embarrassed or ashamed of my decision, which is why I don't LIE, but I'm sick of the 30 minute defence I have to mount every time it "comes up"

Just wondering if anyone actually LIES ... I'm beginning to think it's easier than the circus - even though I 100% believe in my decision not to vax. I guess I'm torn between the morals behind lying about it, and the time and conflict that arises by NOT lying about it.
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#2 of 41 Old 10-21-2008, 04:43 AM
 
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i do lie sometimes b/c i don't want dd to pay the price of being ostracized. also, we have a lot of drs in our social circle, and i don't want CPS called on us.

other times, i tell the truth. i try to be aware of what "anti-vax" argument ppl would be receptive to and just say 1 thing. i just tell about 1 shot that we skipped and why.
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#3 of 41 Old 10-21-2008, 04:47 AM
 
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I rarely discuss our vaccination choices with ANYONE. EVER. I have in the past- made the mistake and WAS very upset I did. We got excluded from a play group!!!! I was asked in my home wasn't I worried my DS WOULD DIE!

I am very gentle when I do discuss it- using words like- We chose, and it was a hard well researched decision, it works for us but a VERY personal decision.
Sadly- Many people do not even know it is a decision for them to make....

It gets easier now that the kids are older and I have two and they are NOT dying of chicken pox and I feel more confident in our choice- .... but no- I do not reccomend having your kid become the NON VAX kid in the hood.
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#4 of 41 Old 10-21-2008, 04:48 AM
 
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I don't lie.

But I don't share, either.

If someone told me that their baby cried and cried, and if my baby did, I would take it completely elsewhere. I would tell them that crying like that could be a vaccine reaction, and that the head honchos in charge of vaccines want to know about reactions so they can see if they are actually safe, so to be SURE to mention it to their doctor. But since the doctors don't always understand vaccine reactions, that if the doctor didn't say they would report it, I would show her the reaction-reporting link on the NVIC site.

She might know by the end of all of this that I wasn't vaxing, but I don't answer that sort of stuff. I have a friend who works for the WA state health insurance program and is fully into vaccines, and she nearly started screaming at me on the train going up to BC for my bachelorette (stagette!) weekend b/c of my stand on vaxes. It was a crazy moment and I don't want to re-live it. She made a decision about her first son that I hated, then made it again with her second son b/c she didn't want to treat them differently, and I have NEVER said anything about it to her after the decision was made (she ASKED me for my opinion before her first was born), so I don't understand why she gets to berate me, but that's also not a question I want to ask!
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#5 of 41 Old 10-21-2008, 09:01 AM
 
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I had moments where people have been talking about their child's reactions to their shots. They pause . . . for my imput. I change the subject to another topic or comment on their child "seems to be doing better." MIL is the only one I told, family or friend, that we haven't vaxed DS 2. She is very open to things like that. FIL too. They both have a distrust of medical professionals from their personal experiences. So that helps.

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#6 of 41 Old 10-21-2008, 09:42 AM
 
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If they ask, I tell them the truth. Sometimes the truth sucks, sometimes it hurts, and sometimes its a challenge to muster up the guts to say it, but I do. It helps that I've never lost a debate about it, but in the end it is your decision and none of their business. That is a private medical matter.

If they ask "did your baby cry this much"

say "no, but then again I didn't inject them with questionable substances"
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#7 of 41 Old 10-21-2008, 12:24 PM
 
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I don't talk about it unless I know the person is questioning the issue. DH brings it up sometimes, and then I'm stuck in heated conversation for who-knows-how-long. but DH thinks that I need to be more confident discussing it (I am VERY confident with our decision, but sometimes have a hard time articulating it when I'm confronted about it), so I think he does it on purpose...

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#8 of 41 Old 10-21-2008, 12:43 PM
 
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Originally Posted by fascha View Post
I am really wishing I could just pretend I didn't hear and move on. I am not embarrassed or ashamed of my decision, which is why I don't LIE, but I'm sick of the 30 minute defence I have to mount every time it "comes up"

Just wondering if anyone actually LIES ... I'm beginning to think it's easier than the circus - even though I 100% believe in my decision not to vax. I guess I'm torn between the morals behind lying about it, and the time and conflict that arises by NOT lying about it.
Sure, I'd lie. It is private medical information, but if you say that people make the assumption that you don't vax and that is none of their business.

What you could do is make "business" cards with some vaccine resources on it, hand it to the person horrified that you don't vax, and say "get back to me AFTER you have read these; I don't have the time to spend educating you/it's not worth discussing with someone who hasn't done the same level of research."

"It should be a rule in all prophylactic work that no harm should ever be unnecessarily inflicted on a healthy person (Sir Graham Wilson, The Hazards of Immunization, 1967)."
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#9 of 41 Old 10-21-2008, 12:47 PM
 
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I don't talk about it unless I know the person is questioning the issue. DH brings it up sometimes, and then I'm stuck in heated conversation for who-knows-how-long. but DH thinks that I need to be more confident discussing it (I am VERY confident with our decision, but sometimes have a hard time articulating it when I'm confronted about it), so I think he does it on purpose...
I couldn't discuss it with my husband because I cannot debate well. Finally I told him that my inability to debate him did not mean I was wrong and to research it himself.

"It should be a rule in all prophylactic work that no harm should ever be unnecessarily inflicted on a healthy person (Sir Graham Wilson, The Hazards of Immunization, 1967)."
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#10 of 41 Old 10-21-2008, 01:04 PM
 
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I have mentioned it in the past, in our early days of not vaxing, but nowadays I just don't say anything. Friends and family know where we stand, and if they bring it up and want to discuss it, then fine. But strangers or acquaintances at playgroup etc., no way. It's not worth the bother.

And as for what to say when someone talks about how their baby cried after the shots, I just bite my tongue and change the subject...same as with circing. I had to listen to a mom at a playgroup talk about all the problems with her DS since his circ, but I didn't want to get into anything with her, so I just kept quiet and switched the topic.

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#11 of 41 Old 10-21-2008, 07:21 PM
 
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I understand why it's much easier to just keep quiet, especially since most people in general are very pro-vax and cannot even imagine not vaxing. i belong to a pretty "crunchy" group of women who meet to talk about natural birth and young children - most people gave birth at home or had a natural hospital birth, breastfeed for an extended time, use cloth diapers, don't circ, etc. so i was really shocked when the issue of vaccines came up recently and about 1/2 the people there were adamantly pro-vax, and the ones who didn't vax mostly kept quiet or gave a humble defense.

however, i didn't even realize vaccinating was a choice or that it was controversial until i started reading some posts on another board. it prompted me to do research and I am SOOOO glad i have found this information before i had kids - we will most likely decline all vaxes for our kids.

our baby is not born yet and i've never had to defend my decision to anyone, but i also wonder if it's good to speak up to educate people and to maybe protect some children from vaccine damage. knowing what i know now, i would have been very grateful to anyone who had opened my eyes to this issue. but then again, i've not had to defend my position yet and i'm personally not even sure i want my family to know about our stance on vaccines because i don't think they'll react well.

what do you think...do you feel any obligation to educate other parents or to try to protect other children from possible vaccine damage?

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#12 of 41 Old 10-21-2008, 07:53 PM
 
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What you could do is make "business" cards with some vaccine resources on it, hand it to the person horrified that you don't vax, and say "get back to me AFTER you have read these; I don't have the time to spend educating you/it's not worth discussing with someone who hasn't done the same level of research."
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I couldn't discuss it with my husband because I cannot debate well. Finally I told him that my inability to debate him did not mean I was wrong and to research it himself.
You are brilliant. I love the business card idea (vistprint here I come) and I can't debate either, but people who CAN always make being flustered seem like you're just wrong.

Thank you!
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#13 of 41 Old 10-21-2008, 11:12 PM
 
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I don't lie but its never really come up. I'd never tell my MIL or FIL they'd just lose it. But I guess I'd use the same reply I use for unschooling: "we're doing what we think is best for our children and we've done a great deal of research. We will only debate with you if you too have done your research and your opinions are based on more than just 'its not what we did with our kids'".

I already had huge trouble with 75% of the family over not circ'ing my boys. "We did it with our sons and they're fine." blah blah blah.

I do know that many people especially in Ontario don't know there is a choice for vaccines. I didn't until my attention was brought to it thru MDC or CPO (can't remember which). My first son is done until the 18 mth shots (I so regret... I think its why his immune system is not the best) and my second was only done up to 2 mnths. The nurse at the doctors office actually referred to the vax as "mandatory"

As to educating people, that's a tough decision for me not just for vax but for so many things. Do you stick your neck out and try to help someone get less than main stream information to make an informed choice? Or are you just going to get slammed for "judging" ??

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#14 of 41 Old 10-22-2008, 01:23 AM
 
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what do you think...do you feel any obligation to educate other parents or to try to protect other children from possible vaccine damage?
I used to, not anymore. Once word got out that we had a VPD, I had parents refusing to allow their children around mine for a long time after, they were vaxing families mostly, but some unvaxed as well. I no longer share any info, and at times lie.

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#15 of 41 Old 10-22-2008, 02:44 AM
 
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I don't say a word. I don't go around asking people their personal medical info, why should I share my ds's?

I don't feel an obligation to enlighten other's about vaccines. I feel it's my responsibility first and foremost to keep my son happy and healthy. And he's happiest when he's playing with his friends. If I tell my friends and they're horrified and treat my ds like a leper and don't let us in the playgroup anymore, how does that effect my son?

So I just keep my mouth shut. I don't want my ds to be hurt (and if he had no other kids to play with, he would be very, very hurt. He's such a social boy.) so as his mother, I'm protecting him first.

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#16 of 41 Old 10-22-2008, 12:09 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the responses. I sort of wish I hadn't mentioned it to the people I have mentioned it to now...

Oh well, I can go from here! I appreciate all of your thoughtful responses.
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#17 of 41 Old 10-28-2008, 02:05 AM
 
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our close friends know
my family knows
i don't discuss things with my inlaws so i don't know if they know
if a friend asks, i tell, and explain why. several of my long-time friends (ones that i've known at least 12years) have also chosen not to vaccinate, although none of us live in the same city anymore.

if it's an acquaintance, i don't discuss unless i have an idea of what the intention is behind asking about it.
otherwise it's none of their business really.

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#18 of 41 Old 10-28-2008, 02:29 PM
 
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I rarely discuss our vaccination choices with ANYONE. EVER. I have in the past- made the mistake and WAS very upset I did.
:

i learned friends have no idea its a choice.
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#19 of 41 Old 11-02-2008, 08:54 AM
 
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If it comes up, I tell the truth. My family, dh's family, most of my mom friends, and most recently my neighbor, all know. Family-I told them because they asked. I won't lie to them. Some of them have actually learned something. A few think we are crazy, but most respect our decision. Friends- most of my friends understand my choice, some even agree with it. Dh's family- They think I'm a wacky hippy for nursing my kids past 6 months, so whatever...And the neighbor...well, we have kids who were born 2 days apart. Every time it comes time for a well baby visit, she asks "how were ds's shots". So, for a year while I got to know her I would just say "no shots today" and leave it at that. Now we are friends. Our kids are friends. Our dh's are close. It seemed like I was lying to her. So, last time she asked, I told her. She didn't seem to care, although I wonder if it will come up again. We are both health care providers, so we'll see...

Anyways, I'd opt for protecting my family first, if I thought it was an issue. If not, I like to let people know that it's an option not to vaccinate and that people they know choose this option.

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#20 of 41 Old 11-02-2008, 02:37 PM
 
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DH and I have already decided that we'll be very choosy about letting people know. I don't mind telling certain people who seem genuinely interested and would be open to discussing the subject rationally, but if someone's just looking for a fight they can look somewhere else.

My son's medical history is no one's business but his and his primary caretakers' (us). Why would I discuss it with strangers whose intentions I can't accurately gauge? It's not my job or place to try to educate the willfully ignorant, and life's too short to spend it fruitlessly defending every non-mainstream decision I make, KWIM?

Some subjects simply aren't open for discussion with most people. These include our choice not to vaccinate or circumcise, cloth diapering, extended breastfeeding, etc.

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#21 of 41 Old 11-02-2008, 05:08 PM
 
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In the beginning, I was very general with family because of how the info out there is 1 sided. No one looks at the other side of any story regardless of it being about vaccines these days. Only 1 of my friends (childless and younger) knows about our decision. She is from Cuba and said herself that she only got 1 shot when she was little and her mom confirmed. She thinks like I do so I fed her my side of the story. Other than that, NO outside family member knows. Our family was skeptical at first but as things started surfacing and people did their research, they agreed with our stance. My parents took the longest to come around but they are now onboard too. With my parents, the only thing that made them a believer is the fact my DS has never been sick- ever- no each infection, no cough, no runny nose, no nothing. I'm sure he he was an ill child, they would have been up my you know what regardless of vaccines or not.
BTW, we have my DH's medical charts and vax reactions are documented in there but without using the word vaccine reaction! It was worded to say other things like it was magic he reacted along with each vaccine.
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#22 of 41 Old 11-02-2008, 05:31 PM
 
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I typically am straight-forward about my choice but all my friends are very alternative (even the one who does vax) and I never have to "defend" myself.

I suggest you say something like this "You know I would love to share my experience with you sometime but it's one of those things you have to research for yourself. How about I send you some articles to read and then we can talk about it later?"

If the conversation involves some obligation on their part and you expect them to do some work I suspect most of them with drop it with a vague "yeah, sure" and never bring it up again. You can still give them the articles and be open to questions but it puts the burden of investigation on them.

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#23 of 41 Old 11-02-2008, 08:25 PM
 
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My children are grown. I never told anyone unless they asked and seemed open to the option. Other than that, I avoided the subject. I am not vaccinated either, and I am old enough to have classmates with polio.

It is no one's business, anyway.

I have lied in the ER because it was the 1980s and I stood to lose my children to a CPS circus day in court for child abuse and neglect.

I am in the U.S.

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#24 of 41 Old 11-03-2008, 05:30 PM
 
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I don't go out with a "my kids are not vaxed" stamp on my forhead but I also don't hide the fact that they aren't vaxed. All our family knows, our friends know. In fact, I think we are on the verge of losing some long time friends because of our less than mainstream views. Funny thing...I think it is THEM who are not tolerant of us! But, it's been a long time coming. And yes, I am sure they think we are completely bonkers to not vaccinate. And they are so PRO vax that I don't think they would second guess their decision even if literally killed them.

I also run a home daycare and every....single...child...is vaxed. And yes, it makes me cringe (quite literally) when I hear the parents tell me that they are off to get their "shots". Ugh.:

Most of the dcparents also know I don't vax. When it comes up in the initial interview my answer is typically, " I don't really care if your child or the other children in care are vaccinated or not. That is your business. I will however, tell you that my children are not vaccinated and if that is a problem for you then this is not the right place for your children as our decision is not going to change". Then I leave it at that.

Yes, most people you encounter, sadly, do not even realize they have/had a choice in the matter. Unfortunately we are so mainstream indoctrinated to think that the holier-than-art-thou medical establishment always has our best interest in mind and would never do us harm that we don't bother to research options and alternatives.

OP....I understand your question. I guess in the end you have to do what makes you feel comfortable. If you don't like to defend or debate then just keep it to yourself.

Or, if you are like me then feel free to bring it up when others start the conversation.

To each their own. But whatever you decide don't ever allow another to make you feel small or "abusive" or any other or the myriad of words they will call you. You did what was right for YOU and YOUR family.

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#25 of 41 Old 11-03-2008, 11:53 PM
 
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I have told some people, but like any "alternative" parenting choice I think that if you don't want a debate or argument, it's not worth talking about, IMO. It's the same with all those choices, you get the "I did such-and-such, and my kids are fine!!" It becomes less about me and my choices and more about other ppl defending their choices and I am not even attacking their choices, I'm never clear on how my choices for my kid become me judging them for what they do (even though I do ) I realized this when I had my dd by midwife, oh the arguments we got, DH's friend started screaming in a public place about how the midwife would kill me and the baby! Then I got to hear every story about how great epidurals are and why I would "do that" to myself! And on and on with every parenting decision we have made in keeping with our non-mainstream beliefs. In the end, we have to realize it's not about us, it's about other people's need to justify their choices and their being offended that you dared to question the status quo. 99% of the time, I would rather not argue. I have never lied, it's easy to change the subject, most people don't expect you to say something crazy like "I don't vaccinate mu child"

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#26 of 41 Old 11-06-2008, 02:42 AM
 
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someone mentioned cps.....can they really call cps on you for not vaxing?
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#27 of 41 Old 11-06-2008, 04:37 AM
 
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i do alot of smiling and nodding. i don't lie, but i would if i felt like the person was not on my page. i also don't proffer information about my kids vax status. if the other person brings it up and i know without a doubt they are ok with non-vaxing, i may say so then, but otherwise, it's nobody's business.

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#28 of 41 Old 11-06-2008, 08:06 PM
 
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I take it as it comes. If I'm with friends and someone asks 'Did your baby do such and such after her shots?' I might say 'She hasn't had any' or 'She hasn't had any yet', depending on how good of friends they are! I often get out of it by adding the 'yet'. Even though there will never be a time when 'yet' comes, people seem to accept the idea that we're just waiting a little longer! It might be a lie, but it's a tiny one, and who knows, maybe *one day* there *might* be a vaccine that we decide is useful to get and 'yet' will happen then....

But if I'm around people I don't know that well, I just sort of shrug and don't answer. Or change the subject. Or suddenly have to run after my daughter to help her do something. I don't share with people I don't know well because I don't want my children being ostracized. Only a small handful of people know we are NOT vaccinating at all. And very few of them are comfortable with it, so I imagine the random mothers I see day in day out at playgroups, etc would be REALLY not cool with it.

I think you have to decide for yourself what you are comfortable with. Some people I think I maybe should've said nothing to, but in the end, we live and learn. So far, no one has cast me out of their sight (that I know of...)
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#29 of 41 Old 12-02-2008, 11:12 PM
 
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Originally Posted by ocean_mama View Post
someone mentioned cps.....can they really call cps on you for not vaxing?
In the past it was very common.

Now, even social workers are aware of the fact that conscientious parents question the safety and necessity of routine children's vaccinations. HOwever, that has always been the case as far as I know.

Check this out and add to that list co-sleeping...http://www.mothering.com/discussions...2#post12727182
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#30 of 41 Old 12-02-2008, 11:43 PM
 
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I don't discuss it unless someone asks me directly.
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