Saturday, April 11, 2020

To Be Or Not To Be – The Dilemma #100LessonsOfLife 4

Happy to be carried around..the smile
says it all
There are no special children, but only special parents. Children are born as innocent babies who do not have to make choices, at least in the earlier years of their life. It is the parents who will have to change, make choices and adjust their life to the special needs of their child. Believe me, it is not as easy as it looks like, especially when you have become the decision maker of the situation where your child’s future is at stake.
It was hard on me as a mother to realize that my baby girl was not going to be able to walk normally. Most of the doctors had given up hope and told me that it is better to put her on wheel chair, especially after I went through cancer and had to undergo radical mastectomy on my left breast when Farheena was an 11 month old baby. It was a tough choice for me. I was finding it difficult to carry her (she was a heavy baby) after my surgery as it was painful on my hand and also on the part of chest where the breast had been removed and the surgical wound had not completely healed; but at the same time I realized that if I put her on wheel chair now, then she would never walk again. The comfort would make us both give up on the effort of making her walk, which was not easy. I did not want to give up without giving it my best.
After giving it a lot of thought, I decided that I am not going to put Farheena on wheelchair. The question everyone asked me was, ‘Who is going to carry her? It is OK when she is a baby, what when she grows up?’  I knew that I had no control over the future, so I decided to do what I had to today. I would carry her and make her walk alternatively as long as it was possible for me. When my strength would fail, I would decide what to do with her. Until then, wheelchair could wait.
Just regular .. 
15 days after my mastectomy, I carried Farheena all the way to BCH&RC (Bangalore Children’s Hospital and Research Center – which unfortunately is no more) for her physiotherapy. We were in a remote place and did not have autos around. Another challenge was the managing finances and affording auto was a luxury that I had to give up for some time.  She was not yet a year old back then, yet I had to stop at five places and take rest before continuing to the hospital. I knew I needed time to do this, so I went ahead and bought a pram for her. For time being, I realized that carrying her was not possible for me. We starting going out for walks, hospitals and shopping by tagging Farheena along with us on her pram.

The Pram era

Soon I recovered from my surgery and Farheena outgrew the pram we had bought for her. As she did not have a wheelchair, she had started walking with support by the age of 3 years. I started to carry her and make her walk a little everywhere after that. It was quite tough, but I knew I was doing the right thing. Someday my girl would be able to walk with a little support. The hope and dream gave me the strength to carry my girl until she was 8 years old or more. Not my husband, brother, father or sister could carry her even for short distance, but I could manage her for nearly a mile. I am not sure about that guy they talk about, but practice sure makes a parent perfect.
Standing and walking with support
Holding her in my arms became quite effortless for me, but later doctor warned me that it may slowly affect my back which could possibly render me immobile. The girl was growing up fast and was now above my shoulder. One fine day, I decided not to carry her anymore. I explained to Farheena that now she was a big girl and I could not carry her. We will have to walk and take rest and walk again. Farheena has always been a sensible girl, so she agreed. Not once did she ask me to carry her after the decision was made.
Though Farheena has a gait and she needs help to walk on rough roads, she has been able to manage independently in her vocational centre and home now. With a little help she can walk nearly 1 km which is something no one expected from her back then. I take great pride when she walks inside my school, her vocational centre, in malls, parks and climbs stairs with her bag without asking for help from me.  When we go out, Rayyan is a great help in managing her, helping her cross roads, walk the rough footpaths and help her climb the steps. I have slowly backed off from supporting her, because I know someday she has to manage her life without me and I feel she is going to be all right. Fortunately, lot of strangers rush in to lend a helping hand when I am struggling to manage her all alone which gives me confidence that she will be safe and taken care of when I am not around.
I carried her for two more years
I heard lot of myths from people that I am going to end up with hanging uterus, crippled back and many other maladies because of carrying her, as women are not supposed to carry weight. Nothing has happened so far, other than a bit of lower back pain which could be due to my own weight gain. X-ray show that my spine has taken a mild form of letter ‘S’ but it is not bothering me much.
I made my decision and stood by it, though at times things were so difficult that I was on brink of giving up. One of those times was when I was carrying Farheena to the hospital before my cancer era and stumbled upon a stone I couldn’t see and fell down. A lorry just brushed past us as we lay sprawled on the road. I got up and rushed to the hospital with a lot of guilt since Farheena was crying and she had some bruises on her hands and legs on the left side. Her orthopaedic specialist was available and we were going to consult him. He checked her out and assured me she was completely OK and the bruises were minor which would heal in 3-4 days without any medication. Next moment he exclaimed in shock looking at my feet. Only then I realized I had it on fire and it was aching like hell. “That is for sure a fracture. Get the X-ray immediately” said Dr. Gautam Kodikal. I was embarrassed, since I had carried limited cash for Farheena’s therapy and did not have anything extra. I think he understood my dilemma, went to the reception, paid for the X-ray, for the plaster and medicines and got everything without another word and did not give me a chance to open my mouth. He was right. There was chip in two metatarsal bones, though it was not completely fractured. I could manage to walk but couldn’t carry back Farheena. The doctor also asked the hospital vehicle to drop me back home. He never allowed me to pay him back when I visited him next. I know he did not shoot this episode nor does he remember he did this. I still visit him for our orthopaedic problems, and he never brought up that matter even once. Some people instil faith in you more than the holy things. I couldn’t walk much for two months. But then I healed and was back to where I left.  

Every time I felt like giving up, I remembered the words of Walt Disney who said ‘The difference in winning and losing is most often… not quitting.’ Today I feel we have won the battle…

With passing time, carrying Farheena around became effortless for me


  1. Hats off to both you and Farheena, Farida! And 'not quitting' is the essence of courage as well.

  2. You are a brave woman. Surviving all through your medical issues as well as making your daughter the way she is today is all because of your strength!
    Farheena no doubt is very sensible and more mature than children of her age. Love to Farheena & Respect to you...
    I am sure she will be manage her life very well.. God bless her.

  3. Did I ever tell you what an amazing woman you are? I am so proud to be your friend.


  4. You are a strong woman and your life story is a huge inspiration. And I congratulate you and Farheena for winning this battle :) My best wishes to your lovely daughter.

  5. You are one brave lady & an inspiration for sure!!!

  6. Wow! You amaze me. You are such an inspiration. I LOVE YOU!

  7. an inspiration not just for the perseverance but also the wisdom and foresight on what is good for your girl! Hats off or bags off, lady! Bowing to the Mother in you!

  8. you passed on your resolution and grit to Farheena...that's why she could walk. You are an inspiration to many mothers of kids with special needs. The rest? We would not know the difference.

  9. You are such a wonderful, inspirational mom, Farida!! So glad you never gave up on her!!

  10. I can't take my eyes off the last pic. You both are so gorgeous. I am glad you stuck by your decision :)

  11. Your story is truely inspiring.. Hats off to you and your lovely daughter.. ,!

  12. Thanks for sharing Farheena and your inspiring story Farida. It gives me courage to not quit :)

  13. You are an iron lady Farida. And so is your daughter. Wish you both good health for many years to come :-)

  14. The life you have had, the hardship you faced and the choice you made - is inspiring.

    Our troubles mould us (what we become) and while they test our faith they also strengthen it somehow.

  15. You are such a wonderful, inspirational mom. Thanks for sharing.

  16. Mam, you continue to be an inspiration :) hats ofF!!!!! ur stories and posts give me inspiration to look at life differently


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