Tuesday, January 13, 2015

The Secret of My Energy

All Indians know the secret of Sachin’s energy through the famous Ad which had children, even those who did not love milk, gulping it down in a jiffy.

When I came across the video   #KhudKoKarBuland I wondered why no one is interested in knowing the secret of amazing strength, patience and selflessness that comes with special parenting. Does it not require some superpower to give a dignified and happy life to a child who enters your life with a challenge? Not many are interested in knowing the secret of my energy because, I haven't scored runs or brought in medals for everyone to sit up and notice me. What I have done is just hold on to hope and pursue my own goal with deadly perseverance. “What great goal was that?” you may ask. Let me share it with you.

When my pretty princess was born, everyone in the family was overjoyed. She was a chubby, happy, sleepy baby who stole our hearts with her mere presence. Doctors declared her a perfect baby with normal growth and health. There were celebrations all around. As days passed by, I noticed there was something different about my baby, especially the way she looked around. It looked as though she was interested in things kept above. She never looked at the floor. It became obvious to me that she was not making eye contact even when I tried hard when breast feeding her. I remembered my first born making eye contact with me at the age of 6 weeks. I waited 2 more weeks before getting in touch with her pediatrician regarding this issue. In a moment all the happiness was turned into chaos as doctors found out that my lovely baby had no vision.
It was confusions and chaos in torrents after that. Initially, we it was said she was blind, but later it was found that her eyes were intact but the optic nerves were not functioning. Some more tests revealed she had hydrocephalus (a condition that causes fluid to accumulate in the brain) which required a surgery. Later that idea was dropped down as well. Finally it was said that Farheena had atrophy in her brain. There was no predicting what her development would be. I was told that she may never gain her vision, may not be able to walk or talk but not to give up hope.
I think our children (especially those with challenge) are a great source of strength and energy for us. From a nervous broken woman, I transformed into a warrior who would fight with the world to give the best for my daughter. At this stage I was diagnosed with breast cancer (stage III). Another hurdle, another setback but I was not going to give up. My daughter gave me enough strength, motivation and power to kick the cancer butt so hard, that I have remained NED (No Evidence of Disease) for 19 years now.
The challenges in bringing up my daughter trickled in one after another.
She had to be trained to pull her tongue inside her mouth.
The shoulder retraction had to be reduced.
She was stimulated to different textures and consistencies.
She needed to show how to sit, roll over and lift her head up.
The list would keep growing with every visit I made to the hospital. Early intervention and proper planning helped me bring out the best in Farheena. Everything that I had taken for granted when bringing up my son was staring at me as a new challenge every day. I had made up my mind that I was not going to give up on anything, including trying to make a doctor out my daughter. I also promised myself, that I am not going to force my baby or get frustrated when things did not work. There were times when our effort brought in results and also times when every effort when down the drain. I remained calm and kept trying.
The biggest challenge came when my daughter reached the age of 3, but could not walk. Some people and experts advised me to put her on a wheelchair. With my mastectomy, it was not easy for me to carry her around. But, I was hesitant to give up so soon. Hence, I decided to carry her around and make her walk with support whenever she could. Once she was put on a wheelchair, I knew that the comfort would lure her from taking steps and also I would not struggle as much. Slowly Farheena started taking a few steps.
She also started speaking few words, writing her name, brushing her teeth, combing her hair and taking care of me as well. Every single achievement from Farheena brought us so much of joy. 
With time I could carry her around effortlessly. Simultaneously, with passing time, the few steps increased in number and Farheena could walk quite some distance with little support. At home she started moving around independently.
I did not keep her away from any activity. She would wash the utensils, sweep and mop the home, paint with us, write in the books (even if it was just scribbling), enjoy the beach and live her life to the fullest. Farheena grew up a happy child who could win everyone’s hearts. She spread happiness around her, wherever she went.
At the age of 18, Farheena finished her special education and became a part of vocational center YST. Yesterday when she walked in with her earning of Rs. 370/- , the chaos, confusions and struggle finally seemed to settle down.
Finally it is time for me to wake up and realize that I cannot be there for her always. Now is the time to give her security, so that she can continue to live her life to the fullest even without me.
Farheena has taught me a lesson that there is no need to panic or become desperate; no matter what great challenge you face. You can always make yourself strong enough to overcome hurdles thrown in your path.
Allama Iqbal was right when he said,
“Khudi ko kar buland itna ke har taqder se pehle Khuda bande se khud pooche bata teri raza kya hai.”

As Life Unfolded For Farheena

Sharing a Happy Moment with Sandy.. her friend from across the globe
 It was a proud moment for Maa when Farheena could stand erect beside me........................

Proudly holding the prize she won at Kalangana

Enjoying Music

Imitating Grandma 
Enjoying evening walks with brother

Sharing happy moment with grandma
Washing Bike


  1. No words, Farida. Just hugs. I have met you and Farheena and as a parent I salute you for how you've brought up both your children. You are an inspiration, and I don't say those words lightly. Lots of love.

  2. You have every reason to be proud of Farheena. You are one hell of a woman who is an inspiration to others. We can understand (try to) what you have gone through. Hugs.

    1. Friends like you have made my job of keeping Farheena happy so easy! Thank you Janaki

  3. I love this post! Farheena has greatly exceeded all expections. I can see how peaceful and smart she is. You're a wonderful mother. I'm happy that your love for her, and even the cancer, made you more energetic and driven.

  4. Love reading your words! Farheena is an amazing young lady today because of you! I am blessed to call you my friend!
    ~Sandy O~

  5. You did what had to be done....never give up and keep gently prompting. Farheena was surrounded by your love and grew up to reflect the confidence that security gives. Lynn (Ladybirds)


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