Meet Farida Rizwan who has battled several obstacles including a life threatening ailment at an advanced stage to the continuous journey of raising a special child. She also runs a preschool and daycare called My Giggle Garden where inclusivity of special needs children is a norm. She is also a counselor, psychotherapist and working on bringing in inclusion in preschool level for all children.
Sharing her story with Mums and Stories, Farida shares, “ I grew up in Kadugodi, near Whitefield in Bangalore. If I have to share one of my best childhood memories, I would say that it would be on coming second in local inter- school running race despite having clubfoot. It gave me immense confidence and belief in my ability.”
When asked on how she has been a fighter all along, Farida shares, “Fighter may not be the right word because I don’t fight. The truth is I do not surrender to whatever tries to pull me down that includes III stage breast cancer, which I was diagnosed with 24 years ago.
Circumstances earlier made me a single parent as my husband has lived in gulf 90 percent of the time. Somehow I feel when I look back on my life journey that troubles or more appropriately challenges take a liking to me. I deal with it first by acceptance and later by tackling it head-on. Without accepting you have a problem, you never find solution to it.”
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On her children including a son and a daughter, Farida says, “ We all are nervous about uncertainty and I cannot be an exception. Though even regular children are unpredictable, most of the parents believe in a dream of what their child can be. They may dream of a school, college, job, and even marriage of their children. Off course not all those dreams come true, but the right to dream takes away their insecurities.
But with a special child, you cannot have those regular dreams which creates uncertainty and that causes nervousness in most of the people.
I was nervous as well. But slowly I gained knowledge about life and our mortality.
If not for my daughter and my resolve to stand for her, I wouldn’t be the strong person I turned out to be. I owe it to her that I am independent woman today, making my own decisions, granting me permissions and taking my risks with abandon.
Friends and family help with their support, but there are times when you have to face all alone. That is when I realized my own potential and also started respecting myself.
Children give you the motivation to live. They did not change me, but they made me get in touch with who I really am. It was through them today I realize who I really am without all those doctrines, pressures and labels given to me. They inspired me to fight cancer with all my might. Without my children, I sometimes feel I may have ended as a person who tries to please people by doing chores around home.
The day I accepted my daughter has special needs by giving up denial which lasted few days. It hurt but I healed soon after that.”
Talking about Cancer, Farida shares with Mums and Stories, “ Cancer for me has been as a passing phase of life that changed me emotionally, physically, and intellectually forever. There is no freedom from cancer, because doctors say ‘NED’ (no evidence disease) rather than saying cured. But, today doesn’t mean you have to take it seriously and live in fear. I have lived much better life post cancer because I realized the value of life and how I can lose it anytime.
Things happen in our life for reason. We have to find the reason that suits our positivity. Children are a part of us, yet they are independent individuals. We should not nurture dreams for them, but allow them to have their own dreams and nurture it for them. “
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