This mother’s inspiring story is not about her broken dreams, but about her unbreakable soul and spirit. Every time when life got Farida down on her knees, she came back with the unbeatable courage and strength.
Farida Rizwan, a 52-year-old woman from Bengaluru, faced multiple lows and difficulties in her life. Rather than being broken by the pressure of those hardships, she challenged every problem that came her way and emerged as the winner.
Whether it is fighting against breast cancer or being a single mom or raising a special kid in a society like ours, Rizwan has shown what a strong-willed mother can do for her kids!
If you are looking for motivation, strength and hope to fight against life challenges, then you can’t miss Farida’s inspiring story.
Farida was a 29-year-old mother when she was diagnosed with breast cancer.
While recalling her trauma with The Indian Express, she shared how she felt a lump in her breast while breastfeeding her daughter.
“Initially, I thought perhaps the milk had hardened. Over the week, I realised the lump was something different, which is when I decided to take a doctor’s opinion.
I was diagnosed with third stage invasive ductal carcinoma in April 1996, which makes it nearly 22 years of survival for me now. My lymph nodes were also affected.
Considering my age, the doctors suggested mastectomy for me. My son was four and my daughter was only 11 months old. I had to undergo total mastectomy, after which I went through chemotherapy.”
As per studies. it is said that for every 12 months of breastfeeding, the risk of breast cancer decreased by 4.3 percent. But, Farida breastfed both her son and daughter for a long time and hence, the news of breast cancer came to her as a shock.
“I had breastfed my first child for two years and I had planned to breastfeed my second child too for that duration. And that’s why a lot of people were surprised since it is usually said that breastfeeding prevents breast cancer.”
What made her struggle even more painful was the fact that around the same time, her sister was also suffering from cancer.
“My sister was battling last stage cancer. My family members were in a chaotic state, unable to understand how to handle the situation. And I don’t blame my parents, for whom it was very difficult to deal with the tragedy, given their age. I had to take care of my family, myself and my children as well.”
Fighting breast cancer could be tough, but if your husband refuses to support you – financially as well as emotionally, then you have no other choice but to become your own hero.
And, that’s what Farida did!
Instead of losing heart and giving up, Farida began ways to build a better and beautiful life for herself and her children.
“I finished college, got married and depended on my husband to provide for me. But I was never an idle person. I did some odd jobs but did not earn enough. My family was going through a financial crisis already because of my sister’s treatment. Meanwhile, my husband went to Dubai and was not available on phone or through letters. He did not keep in touch after shifting to the country. There was zero support from my husband’s family too, who did not live in Bengaluru.
Explaining cancer to your kids can be difficult. And, it becomes really tough when you need to explain it to a four-year-old and an 11-month old.
While recalling what her kids went through, Farida shared her heart-breaking moments,
“It was a very confusing situation for a four-year-old. Finally, I had to explain to him that there’s something wrong in my breast and that it had to be removed to heal myself, in very simple terms. I also told him that I may lose my hair because I didn’t want him to go through the shock of having to look at it.”
She further added:
“…when I finally underwent mastectomy, he was emotionally disturbed. He felt there was something terribly wrong with his mother.”
As far as her 11-month old daughter was concerned, she became very cranky as Farida stopped breastfeeding her all of sudden. While recalling her heartbreaking moments, she shared:
“Breastfeeding was her staple diet then and I didn’t get time to wean her off. The doctor warned me that my medication could impact the child’s health and had to stop breastfeeding immediately. Obviously, you cannot explain things to your 11-month-old child.”
But it wasn’t only the breast cancer that was testing this mom’s patience and strength. It was our society too!
As a mother to a special child, Farida remembered the hardest part of raising a special needs child:
“The hardest part for me was dealing with the society’s (non)acceptance of a special needs child. There were a lot of negative comments coming from people, which were hard to deal with. Initially, I had some difficulty accepting that my daughter was one with special needs. Gradually, however, I came to terms with it and tried to figure out what needed to be done. Gradually, life started getting easy with her.
But, Farida firmly believed that kids like her daughter need a fair shot at life; they deserved to be treated fairly by society. Hence, she chose not to wait for a changemaker to bring change, she became one.
When I started sending my daughter to a special school, I realised how these children never get a chance to mingle with regular children. Again, regular children also do not really know how to deal with special children.
It is precisely the lack of knowledge and interaction with special needs children that boosts prejudice. Why couldn’t children, special and regular, study together, at least in their early years? That’s how Giggle Gardens was conceived, as a school that promotes inclusive education,”
Despite all her struggles, Farida chose to stand tall and become stronger with every hurdle. Her life story is definitely an inspiration to many of us, who are battling our own fights! We can either choose to wallow in self-pity or choose to follow the path of strength and courage that Farida showed us!