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Normal

 
Posts: 23
Location: South Dakota
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Okay maybe there isn't a such thing as normal, but there is average...I've struggled a lot with feeling un-average.

Lately, as a mom of a toddler and pregnant at 28, I have struggled with feeling so alone.

My mom just died last fall. Never had a relationship with my deceased dad. No siblings. I have a big family but estranged due to my drug use as a kid and then getting into alternative things like permaculture.

I live in eastern South Dakota which is  my hometown/place. But not very progressive, and most people here have their cliques already.

I'm married. My husband has one brother. Two gay parents who adopted them but dont give any emotional or daily type of support. The rest of his family is like mine.

I have a couple friends, but none that I would call close. The closest lives in Colorado and is less emotionally mature than I am and has had a lot of struggles lately so I can't go to her. She usually just says "you're being so strong! Or something like that.

I'm afraid to try to get counseling again. I've tried a couple times as an adult and it ends up that I spend like 6 sessions trying to explain my tumultuous life and don't get any actual relief. I would need that many sessions again plus the money to actually pay for it....plus lucking out and getting a therapist who isn't also just like "oh you're so self aware" and "oh you're being so strong"

So.....is my problem that I'm just a duck out of water? A duck who needs to accept the mediocrity and lack of support?

We plan to move....after finishing a house build and saving up money. We currently live in a fancy box, a house with nothing more than studs and the electric roughed in. Hoping we will have enough money to keep going.

I'm two months from birth and feeling very alone and floundering.

Baby woke up, guess this is it for now.

 
steward & bricolagier
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You aren't a duck, you are a swan.
Don't let the ducks tell you otherwise :D

Feeling out of place is normal around here. That's a lot of why we hang out here, people actually understand us, and care when we say things like "Whoa! I saw an Indigo Bunting for the first time since I moved here!!" or "Hey cool, look at these mushrooms I found!"

Home is where you understand the others
Welcome home :D
 
Bridget Vandel
Posts: 23
Location: South Dakota
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Thank you for the outreach of support Pearl. It's a nice but tough reminder that yes, I am not the same. I just have to remember that that's OK.

I see in your bio that you have never been described as normal

I'm feeling better having vented.

Coincidentally, my face-book account logged me out last night, and I don't remember my password and the account recovery options disappeared....so perhaps this is part of a transition, and is meant to be.

Maybe there's a forum here for moms. Or parents. Or people in a similar season of life. I'll go look around now I suppose.



 
master steward
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Did you find this forum? https://permies.com/f/235/parenting
You'll be able to read it, but to post you need to either buy PIE (cheap per month and it supports the site) or write some awesome posts about something you know about or have done, and someone might just give you a piece.

Bridget wrote:

Coincidentally, my face-book account logged me out last night, and I don't remember my password and the account recovery options disappeared....so perhaps this is part of a transition, and is meant to be.

I would totally consider that a sign that you've found a better place - one that values "nicenest" and "thinking differently" over keeping up with the Joneses.  (I don't have a F...book account, but if I really need to know something related to it, I can ask my "normal" friends to check their accounts.)

That said, "post-partum depression" is a real thing. People telling you "you're so strong" when you feel you're lost and struggling aren't giving you permission to feel what you're feeling - aren't acknowledging that your feelings are real and you have every right to feel exactly what you feel because that's what feelings are. So please keep checking in, and maybe also read some of the herbal remedy threads ( https://permies.com/f/9/medicinal-herbs ) and don't feel like you don't have the right to give yourself something to help calm the extremes that pregnancy and being responsible for tiny humans can bring out. (magnesium at bedtime works wonders for me... but my youngest "baby" is 29 and taller than me now... Mind you, that doesn't count all my duck, chicken and geese babies. )

Welcome home!
 
pollinator
Posts: 149
Location: Oh-Hi-Oh to New Mexico (soon)
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A favorite quote "The only normal people are the ones you don't know very well."

Go easy on yourself and maybe there are some other groups of young mothers you could reach out to for socialization.
You are not alone.
 
gardener
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Welcome Bridget. I've been there as well, contemplating all the things i didn't have in my life before having my kids..... not uplifting, to be sure.

I hear you on the "you're so strong" thing. We're strong because we had to be. it doesn't mean we don't wish sometimes that we had more support. I got the hell out of dodge as young as possible, had my kids with my partner, we built a small village with friends, but then moved countries and started again. The people come and go, sometimes I envy those who have a whole village they've always been part of, but it's not my life, never has been. It is what it is, I guess.
I think it's important to validate you might want to talk to someone, and maybe there are some better options- the best therapy i ever had was with a social worker, who was able to skip all the "oh you're so resilient" crap and acknowledge that maybe that resilience covered some other stuff that wasn't so pretty. I've heard people talking positively about online therapy options that are more accessible and definitely finding your people online can be super helpful.

I'm also sorry for your loss. Whether you're close to your parents or not, it can be really hard, even more so when there are few people in your life and you lose one who was so important. We get better at dealing with it. Hang in there and be kind to yourself.
 
gardener
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as much as i’ve never really wanted to be ‘normal,’ i definitely understand the pull to not always feel so different! i think what a lot of us forget is that ‘normal’ is frequently a seen-from-the-outside thing. our culture seems to discourage admitting our struggles, so a lot of the time the ‘normal’ ones are just those who are best at hiding them…
 
master gardener
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I'm not going to preach too much but wanted to offer both my sympathy to the situation and send some positivity your way.

I have grown up struggling to learn emotional intelligence and understand my own feelings as they occur into my current 30s. I take antidepressants that help blunt the severity of my emotions but allow me to feel/process as I experience them. I feel lucky that as a man, my hormones remain relatively stable so I do not have that influencing factor disrupting my 'flow.'

You need to give yourself a little grace, in my opinion, to yourself and where you are at. Post-partem is a very real thing and you might be experiencing some effects of that. Feelings of isolation or loneliness are very real. It is not easy making friends, but it is possible.

I won't tell you what to do, for it is not my place, but I always like to take a moment and live slow appreciating what I have in front of me because time doesn't wait for any of us. That becomes more and more apparent every day! We are in control, we just need the courage to reach out and makes those connections.
 
Posts: 103
Location: North Georgia
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If you’re in sync with everyone else, you’re just a cog in the machine. No one will remember your name.

Go make history, woman <3
 
Pearl Sutton
steward & bricolagier
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bridget vandel wrote: So.....is my problem that I'm just a duck out of water? A duck who needs to accept the mediocrity and lack of support?

We plan to move....after finishing a house build and saving up money. We currently live in a fancy box, a house with nothing more than studs and the electric roughed in. Hoping we will have enough money to keep going.



Do you need to accept the mediocrity? No. You do not. There ARE better people out there, there ARE ways you can change and better your life, there IS more than the "normal" world of watching TV, eating microwaved food, and never growing and changing.

Why do you plan to move if you have a new built house? Why did you build then? I'm curious. Personally, if it were me doing that and planning to move, I'd be putting a lot of work into learning all of the skills required to do the build (always learn ANY skill you can!!) studying house design and learning what else is out there besides boring boxes (because boring boxes are boring boxes, a HOME is designed for your family and the life you want to live) and doing things like putting in flowerbeds. Even if you sell the house and move on, you'll have increased the curb appeal of the house, possibly upping the amount you get from the sale, and you'll learn a lot about what plants want, how to improve the soil, and you will have gotten some sanity time in the soil, a LOT of us here will tell you the best time of the day is whenever we are in the dirt. Then the next place you go, you'll have some skills for gardening under your belt, and can learn where and how to put in a garden to feed your family real food, and raise your kids away from the "normal" world.

And a LOT of that info is on permies. We talk about house design, about construction, about gardens, about building community, about raising healthy sane children, and also about learning to find joy in things like flowers and bees and watching your happy kids playing with a puppy and teaching them how to pick ripe cherry tomatoes.  

So no. You do NOT need to accept the mediocre world that is being offered, you can build your own. In a way, being already unstabilized (and being locked out of facebook!) gives you a serious head start on most people your age. A lot of people never realize the "normal" life is not all it's advertised to be until they are way older and have a harder time changing, as they are financially and emotionally invested in that lifestyle. You have the chance now to change before you get that entangled.

The parenting forum is worth reading, and we have a lot of young mothers on permies, I'm hoping some of them will send you a PM saying hi!  :D Because feeling alone with it all, especially with little kids, is hard. Humans are community animals, and feeling like you have no community makes you feel rootless. We have to build our own community, as the current culture doesn't offer one ready made for those who don't fit into the "acceptable" boxes.

As far as me, I have never been normal, and if I ever even saw the boxes that I was supposed to be stuffed in, I either turned them over, filled them with dirt and planted things in them, or painted them pretty colors and built a castle out of them! Build your own dreams, there is WAY more out there in the world than the boxes the "normal" world thinks is a great idea.

Click the button at the bottom of the row of brown buttons on the left side "all forums" (or if you don't see that button, click this link All Forums view ) What in there sounds interesting? Click random links, see what's here. You may be surprised at some of the things you'll learn! And with every link you click, and every thing you learn, your control over your own life increases.

:D
 
gardener
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Hi Bridget,
I think alot of people (if not everyone) feels alone, out of touch, constantly behind, and all sorts of negative things at some points. So don't feel like you are the only one.

First, make sure that your husband is aware of how you are feeling. I have never met a good husband who did not care about what his wife was going through. But I know a lot of us who may not recognize how big of a deal it is without a little communication. We don't pickup on those things naturally, and it is very important for him to support you during this.

It has been mentioned, but I do want to point it out that anxiety, depression (post-partum or otherwise), and other mental health issues are rampant in this country. I personally think a lot of it has to do with the food, but that is another discussion. One thing I would do first is to get evaluated by someone who can tell you if you have some deficiencies that might be effecting how you feel. It is surprising how being low on certain vitamins or minerals or if hormones get out of balance, how quickly it can make us feel horrible. And being pregnant causes those sorts of things often. So check for physiological things that could be adding to this.

Second, you mentioned living in South Dakota... last I looked that is not heavily populated, so you will have a more limited pool of people to have friends. Some people thrive on rural living with few people... others hate it and need more people around. The two most common places to get support and friendship in the past was family and religion. You had your family and you went to church, and generally those people had similar beliefs as yours. From what you have posted, it seems like your family is not really going to cut it right now, but you could try a church or some other social organization in your area. I know some hospitals in our area run pregnant mother and mother/newborn type groups for support and socialization. There are gardening clubs around, book clubs, and I'm sure others. Probably everything won't be available, but some things will.

I will also encourage you to try a group even if they don't believe exactly the same. It used to be that people could disagree and still be friends, but these days people go to such extremes where they will not even talk to people who think chocolate covered pretzels should have sprinkles... because everyone knows, chocolate covered pretzels are fine as is. :) I'm being facetious, but you know what I mean. I don't think we should accept everything, but I do think people are taking things to the extreme and maybe we can find some middle ground.

Good luck during this time. Life is not easy, but it sure is worth it. Especially with a family to share it with.

**Edit - Just correcting a typo
 
pollinator
Posts: 186
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Dear Bridget, I am sending you hugs from the UK. You will find so many of us on here who are not "normal" whatever that is. I think it is overrated. We are all individuals with our own experiences, preferences and likes and dislikes. Please do not try to make yourself something you aren't or get upset because you do not conform to what "society " expects.

It is hard when your children are at the baby and toddler stage - it used to take me ages to get out of the front door some days but they grow up. (Mine are adults now, supposedly, and no longer live at home.) Are there any mums and tots groups near you? It took a few trials before I found one I liked but I persevered until I got there and made several friends.

Remember to work a treat or two for yourself into your day as well as looking after other people. I mean things like a nice warm bubble bath if that's your thing. Mind you even this can get funny as the children grow! I once decided to have 15 minutes to myself in the bath one evening. First son number 2 came for a chat, then my husband also came upstairs. I said, "Well, son number one might as well come and join us" and my husband replied "Oh, he's following me upstairs." I laugh about it now that my "treat" ended up with the whole family in the smallest room in the house but I think I did manage 5 minutes to myself. I can tell you other funny things my kids did as youngsters if you need cheering up.

More hugs and best wishes to you and your family.
 
Bridget Vandel
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Pearl Sutton/ wrote:
Why do you plan to move if you have a new built house? Why did you build then? I'm curious. Personally, if it were me doing that and planning to move, I'd be putting a lot of work into learning all of the skills required to do the build (always learn ANY skill you can!!) studying house design and learning what else is out there besides boring boxes (because boring boxes are boring boxes, a HOME is designed for your family and the life you want to live) and doing things like putting in flowerbeds. Even if you sell the house and move on, you'll have increased the curb appeal of the house, possibly upping the amount you get from the sale, and you'll learn a lot about what plants want, how to improve the soil, and you will have gotten some sanity time in the soil, a LOT of us here will tell you the best time of the day is whenever we are in the dirt. Then the next place you go, you'll have some skills for gardening under your belt, and can learn where and how to put in a garden to feed your family real food, and raise your kids away from the "normal" world.



We began building this house after learning that the previous one on the property/homestead had severe mold issues which made me and my husband pretty ilI. We also built it with my mother in mind--planning for her to move back (this was her/our home) and built a MIL room off the main floor bath.

Then she suddenly passed away from an aneurysm about three months into the build process.


The reasons for moving are fairly simple--
Our neighbor owns all the land around us. He is my cousin and the land used to be my grandparent's farm. He doesn't like us due to my unsavory history as a drug using teen, then because my mom refused to sell this property to him back in 2018. He bullied her about it, under-valued the property, built a fence across the old driveway because there wasn't an actual easement which caused her to have to walk through the woods until she got a new driveway cleared. Just a real big pout and a-hole. Bleh, what a mess. I'm really beginning to get over it now, but it still stings.

Also, we have 5.5 acres which is a good amount of land, but nearly half is a woodlot of overgrown wild plum with black rot and invasive Siberian Elm which limits our abilities/activities. The rest abuts a conventional field so nearly every year we get damage from herbicide spray drift. Thankfully the new renter is more cautious and considerate but it still happens. There is no legal recourse unless we start keeping track of our crop yield which I haven't had the bandwidth to do.


Anyways.....that's all the bad news. The GOOD news is that I felt swept up by all the awesome and friendly responses to my post. I honestly felt overwhelmed by it all and didn't reply asap. I did check out the parenting forums and am definitely all over the building forums. I love building and feel so grateful to have the opportunity to do it. Our house is mostly conventional building techniques but we have done energy and material-efficient methods, salvaged materials, passive solar, etc. Maybe I should start a thread. We've done nearly all the work ourselves which has saved us a lot of money and taught us a lot. My body and mind are tired though, and I'll be happy to be done. Definitely also contributes to my negative and heavy feelings. I will do my best to find and remember the balance.
 
Bridget Vandel
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Ara Murray wrote:

I can tell you other funny things my kids did as youngsters if you need cheering up.

More hugs and best wishes to you and your family.



Do tell!

I used to love reading the book "kids say the darndest things" and now I live it.

I do thoroughly enjoy being a mom and I try to relish the days, as I realize my boy will never stay or be small as he is today.

To think I used to be anti-kid for many years... many reasons for that change. I'm glad I'm where I'm at, despite the current difficulties.
 
Bridget Vandel
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Matt, I agree, even though my family is a small unit, I am so grateful to have them--my husband is very supportive.

I agree with connecting with others even if your values differ. I reconnected with a woman who ran the local church youth group that i attended as an agnostic occasionally atheist teen. Lol. Had supper with her and her husband. It was surprising to hear what we have in common--you never know until you open the door to the possibility.

I also have donemy best with nutrition. We eat well, and I take some specific vitamins. I have some hunches about health issues but can't do testing for them until I give birth. So will just have to hang on there.
 
Bridget Vandel
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Jay Angler wrote:Did you find this forum? https://permies.com/f/235/parenting
You'll be able to read it, but to post you need to either buy PIE (cheap per month and it supports the site) or write some awesome posts about something you know about or have done, and someone might just give you a piece.



Thank you for the link--I went and checked it out! Some great threads to read! I hope to get some pie so I can input on it too. There are some childrearing methods that are pretty permie which I follow (loosely) that I would love to see discussed here. Permaculture really is more than just a way to farm.

I appreciate all of your advice and outreach.
 
Ara Murray
pollinator
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Here is another "funny things kids do". Son no. 1 was 2 years old and his brother was a baby. One morning I went upstairs to the toilet but, surprisingly, I wasn't followed by a small human. I could hear a strange rustling which seemed to come from the dining room. I thought this a bit odd as I couldn't think of anything in the dining room that would rustle. All was revealed when I came back downstairs. Youngster had gone into the kitchen and taken the instant oat cereal packet from under the sink (I had swapped the cereals and the cleaning fluids to keep the latter out of reach of small hands.) The rustling sound was him emprying the almost full packet onto the floor. I had to laugh even though I kept finding stray bits of oatmeal for days. My mother informed me that it was the universe's way of getting back at me because apparently I had done the same thing in her friend's house with washing powder when I was of a similar age.
 
Pearl Sutton
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That reminds me of something I saw at dawn on a Sunday, I learned why the chickens crossed the road!
Because the 2 or 3 year old across the street, in her jammies, had a whole box of Cheerios outside and was feeding it to them!

Could have been worse, she could have lured them into the house with the Cheerios...

(and you know you are a permie when you recognized the flock that she was feeding!)
 
Jay Angler
master steward
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Pearl Sutton wrote:Because the 2 or 3 year old across the street, in her jammies, had a whole box of Cheerios outside and was feeding it to them!


Ahhhh!!! Junk food... And she feeding it to chickens!  

You *know* you're a permie when you don't just avoid junk food yourself, but you don't let your animals eat it either! I have a friend who has a bad habit of feeding bread to my Muscovies, even though she *knows* I don't approve... They line up in front of her in a semi-circle and she hands them bits one at a time! Not soooo... bad if it's a heel of my home-made bread, but commercial bread is not good for chickens or ducks... or humans...
 
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If you don't want to spend time in therapy, then you have to help yourself. I read a good book last year called "The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck"
By Mark Manson.
It's been around a while, is pretty cheap and in most Libraries. It's A counterintuitive approach to living a good life. I think it would help you.
 
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It sounds like a set up for post partum depression,  back to back pregnancies (?), building a new house, mother dying and less than supportive family in your own back yard.  Wow!  Don't be afraid to ask for help.  There are many things you can do to help, exercise, like the aerobic kind, 20 min 3-5 times per week really helps restore the brain chemistry.  Especially in your neck of the world, seasonal affective disorder really contributes to depression, and real life studies show 10,000 lumen lights 30 minutes daily in the AM really help with SADD.  I know sleep is a rare and precious commodity when your the mother of young children so you won't be able to fix that right away.  

When I had clinical depression, the best thing a therapist told me was to find some time for myself and having a supportive husband will really help with this.  Pick something that reminds you of who you are or who you want to be, whether its exercise, yoga, bubble baths, an online course, whatever.  Try to do it weekly but even once a month is s place to start.  Next month, twice in one month.  Woo-hoo!  Try to maintain a sense of humor.  

If are look at the world through shit colored glasses all the time, or you don't have the energy to fight your way out of a paper bag, or your walking through a valley so deep that you can't see the sun or climb up the sides of the valley because you can't even see the top, then GET HELP.  Don't be afraid of medications for treatment while you restore your life and the hormones get out of your system and your children grow up enough to mostly sleep through the night.  Your children end up getting irreversibly hurt by not taking care of postpartum depression, especially in the first year of life.  Ask me how I know.
 
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Hi Bridget!

I also live in South Dakota, but way on the other side of the state, just outside of Sturgis. I do happen to know some people around the Sioux Falls area who are very permaculture friendly and engaging. There are also a couple good groups on your side of the state who get together and talking about growing food and kids and all of the good things. I would be happy to send you some names and info if you want to reach out to me. My husband and I have an organic farm called Bear Butte Gardens and you can check out our website or social media pages.
 
pioneer
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I'm sorry you're dealing with all of that. Motherhood is hard enough without everything else. And not having social support makes things super challenging. This whole country is kind of a mess right now. I remind myself that growing pains are indeed painful, individually and collectively, and we deserve to have someone hear that pain. I'm grateful that you shared and have helped normalize sharing. It's brave of you, and we need more of that.

If you want practical things, I can say this from my personal experience:

I haven't had a job or access to medical care for the past 4 years, so I had to kinda start figuring stuff out for myself without a lot of resources. Nutrition, like Matt said, was definitely a huge part of my own mental health issues (realized this after seeing a TED Talk about nutritional psychiatry.) I didn't have any way to get my levels tested, so started tracking my food intake with Cronometer at the suggestion of someone here in the community. Once I saw what nutrients I wasn't getting on a regular basis I was able to adjust my diet to fix the issues I was having there... no bloodwork or doctor's visits necessary (even if that would have been faster and easier.) Obviously, tracking your food intake takes a lot of mental labor that you might not be able to invest as a busy mom, but it's an idea if resources are tight.

And just like you said, I haven't had the resources to waste on cycling through one ill-fitting therapist after another. And there are just more people that need therapy than there are qualified therapists. It is a lot more mental labor than going to a professional, but what helped me was starting to listen to podcasts and watching videos with licensed therapists. There's one I especially liked when I was first starting my healing journey that shares live sessions that are "not technically or legally therapy" but which are functionally like sitting in on someone else's therapy session. It's not personalized, like therapy would be, but I was able to find people with similar issues and use those sessions as a jumping off point for my own work. And it's reassuring to see that other people are dealing with the same things, even people we would never expect. It really helped me feel more connected with other people. Obviously this is not the easy way to do things, but I personally think it was better for me to start with self-guided work rather than trying to find a therapist that would work for me. But self-guided work can at least give you an idea of what kinds of therapies will work if and when you're ready to find someone.


I'm happy to share resources that worked for me, if you want them, but I understand if you just have too much on your plate to start looking into that kind of thing. Perfectly fine if you just need a place to vent.
 
pollinator
Posts: 466
Location: Clackamas Oregon, USA zone 8b
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I think given the information you shared about the current build, that moving once its finished could be really good for you.  I think perhaps moving to an area with lots of other young families would be good for you, new friends for you and husband, and friends for your children.  I love that you have started your own lovely family and that you have a lot of good qualities and skills, you seem like a cool person and its a matter of finding a place that will work for your family and where your past doesn't feel like its following you around.  I also agree re. post-pardum, it happens a lot and often its manageable and eventually it will likely go away, but you shouldn't have to suffer in the meantime.
 
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