2017-03-24 – Friday Whisper –  I thought I got it all…

I thought I got it all…. I lived my life, achieved what I wanted, lived abroad, experienced many facades of life, entertained myself, made lots of friends, enjoyed my time with family…and when the time came, I met the love of my life, got married and settled down with a great man and lovely children. They gave me the chance to experience what it is like to have kids, teenagers, adults, boys and girls, with all the joy and challenges that come with it. I thought it couldn’t be better…but then I became pregnant, just like that, naturally…. and that was the cherry on top of the cake.  I thought that this will be the child who will seal this circle of love… she will be the link that will connect us all and forever.

On 3rd of July 2016, Mila joined my life… at the hospital the nurse brought her to me for couple of minutes and then took her away. Once they brought me to my room, a doctor came and told us that Mila was a bit weak, so they had to move her to the Newborn Intensive Care Unit… I knew later on that she needed to be on oxygen support, that she had hypotonia, that she was born with a hip dysplasia plus a jaundice and a blood infection! A bundle of unpleasant things, that to say!

Once I was able to walk, I went to the NICU to see her…she was in this cubicle, attached to tubes and machines… so tiny with 2.4 kg of weight, so peaceful…

It took four days before I could hold her into my arms but when I did, it felt so good, so whole… After few days, I had to leave the hospital without her as she had to stay for few more days before her oxygen problem and blood infection were solved.  Doctors also took blood samples from her to do some chromosome tests.

When I left without Mila, I felt down…it was supposed to be different…I was supposed to leave the hospital with her… for my sleepless nights to start…I was supposed to nurse her every couple of hours and shush her siblings when she was sleeping…Mom was supposed to teach me how to bathe her… Sami was supposed to take care of her while I take a nap after a long night… instead the only proof of her existence at home was the milk pump I was using and my hospital visits…

When we finally brought her home, unlike Sami, I couldn’t rejoice fully as I was still worried about the chromosome test results…

As I was waiting for the results day by day, I felt something was wrong… that she might have some kind of syndrome… I started grieving the child I was expecting and all the dreams I had for her… the school I wanted her to attend, the university I wanted her to join, the places I wanted her to travel to, her going out with her friends, driving her car, learning to play music, learning new languages, reading all those books on the shelf, excelling in her career, making friends with neighbors, playing with her cousins… And I thought of her life if the test results came back positive…how dependent she will be? Will she be excluded from society? Would people look at her with pity and tell themselves thank God they don’t have to deal with such case? Would her friends spend time with her but when they plan for an outing they won’t call her to join them? Would she be deprived from higher education? And I sobbed…even before I got the results… I sobbed…

Finally after a month, the results came confirming my worries… Mila has Down syndrome…

For the next weeks I would daydream about going back to that delivery day…to that very moment when Mila was born and undo the fate… having her in full health… her joining me after delivery…us leaving hospital together few days later… then carry on with life just like everybody else…just like that…as simple as it can be…

However, reality was different… the reality was that all of a sudden I felt as if someone dropped me in the middle of the ocean, I didn’t know where I am nor which direction to take…

It took few months for me to figure things out, to google stuff, to ask experienced people around, to visit concerned centers till I knew exactly where I am and what I have to do… so the early intervention journey started there with the help of our families and friends, and above all my Mom and my rock, Sami… It found out that the presence of Down syndrome persons in a home can bring peace and serenity to the whole family.  With proper preparation, I learned that she can lead a great life, she can have friends, she can reach college, she can learn whichever music and language she wants, she can earn her own living and be on her own.  Of course, she will have challenges but this can be overcome with professional help. Her limitations will be the ones that society and we will put on her. With the right intervention, she might be able to be and do whatever she wants….

Mila introduced us to a world I didn’t know existed…no matter how much you think you understand the world of people with special needs, you won’t know it until you walk into that world…

I realized how we excluded them from our lives…how they and their needs were invisible to us…and how we are so absorbed in our own world that we don’t know they exist…how we put a stigma on them because they don’t fit into our “normal” stereotype. How we pity them when in reality we have to pity our own limitations of understanding them.

Looking back now, I found out that the chromosome test was just one examination among other medical tests, not more than that… It is just an index to direct our journey, but for sure doesn’t define who Mila is….my worries were only mine… my preconceptions were because of my ignorance… and the main disability was my perception and misunderstanding…I can see now how my past journey in life has prepared me for my Mila…and the future shall tell me what Mila is preparing me for…

Today, we are all enjoying Mila at home and our journey with her; a journey that is teaching us a lot not only about her but also about ourselves… she is bringing the best in everyone who knows her, and for sure, she is bringing the best in Sami and me…

As Yvonne Pierre, an American advocate and writer, said: “When you focus on someone’s disability you’ll overlook their abilities, beauty and uniqueness. Once you learn to accept and love them for who they are, you subconsciously learn to love yourself unconditionally.”

And another quote by unknown says: “Until you have a kid with special needs you have no idea of the depth of your strength, tenacity and resourcefulness.”

Mila turned out to be everything I didn’t know I wanted…I now know that I’ve got it all…

2017-03-24Ithought

Meet Mila Sami Tabsh

 

2016-09-16 – Friday Whisper – Define Normal…

So let’s define being normal: having a head, two hands, two legs. Being able to speak, hear, see, and walk. Having a minimum height. Reaching expected milestones while growing.

Other than that, you are considered abnormal, or a handicapped person. So if you have one limb missing, one sense missing, if you need a wheel chair or a stick to go around, if you have epilepsy or autism, down syndrome, Asperger’s or Prader-Willi syndrome, if you have cerebral palsy or you stutter or you are dyslexic, if you are any of those you are abnormal or a handicap.

With this, comes our expectations of you, that you have limited abilities, you cannot reach high, you cannot think properly and you can never be independent… why? Because of our own mind disability!

We have defined being “normal” in a very narrow way that we cannot see outside its boundaries…. Anything different than that is seen as disability rather than a diversity…

Let’s look around us, how many of those “handicapped people” have we included in our lives? How do we treat them? Do we invite a blind person to go watch a show with us? Or do we invite a person on a wheel chair for a walk? Do we start a serious conversation with an autistic person? Do we assign a real responsibility to a person with down syndrome?

Just because we think “they” cannot doesn’t mean they cannot… it is our own mind that can’t indeed!

As long as we see ourselves as “us” and “them”, we haven’t really included them in our lives…

Hellen Keller was deaf and blind. A Harvard graduate, she was an author, a political activist and a lecturer. She wrote 12 books. I haven’t even written one book myself! She said: “Science may have found a cure for most evils; but it has found no remedy for the worst of them all – the apathy of human beings.”

Stephen Hopkins had cerebral palsy, Albert Einstein and Agatha Christie were dyslexic, Stephen Hawking was on a wheel chair and diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Thomas Edison was deaf. Bruce Willis, Tiger Woods and Julia Roberts had stuttering problems during childhood. Luke Zimmerman- an actor, Angela Bachiller- a councilwoman and Michael Johnson – a painter are diagnosed with down syndrome.

Julie Causton-Theoharis, a special education professor, says: “Inclusion is a way of thinking, a way of being, and a way of making decisions about helping everyone belong”

And Robert M. Hensel, said: “We, the ones who are challenged, need to be heard. To be seen not as a disability, but as a person who has, and will continue to bloom. To be seen not only as a handicap, but as a well intact human being.”
So one more time…. Let’s define being normal!

differentlyable

Rania Hammoud, ACC,Life Coach

www.perfectmind.ca

Check also my blog at http://raniahammoud.blospot.com or at raniahammoud.wordpress.com

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2016-02-05 – Friday Whisper – Not in Your World…

Have you ever thought that your child’s world is different than yours? Did it cross your mind that they might have different priorities, different expectations, different perception and different experience than yours?

When your kid wants to share her dream of last night with you, she needs to do it now, it is very important to her; she doesn’t care if it is 6:00 am in the morning, or if you have a headache or if you’re running late for work, or your mind is busy with something else, it is not her problem, her life revolves around her dream right now.

When your kid wants to tell you what happened today at school from the moment he rushed in the door, he doesn’t care if you had a rough day or you just had a big fight with your spouse; his news is much more important.

Make sure if you don’t give them the attention they need when they need it, they will understand it as you don’t care about them since you don’t care about what they want to say…

And they link everything that happens to them. If you’re sick or tired, it is because their behavior or what they didn’t do. If you’re shouting it is because they misbehaved. You know I was once pregnant and had a miscarriage. I heard by coincidence a conversation between my 9-years old twins back then, telling each other that it is their mistake I lost the baby because they made me shout the other day. Can you image the guilt they were living? I explained to them that it wasn’t true and that the baby was sick. They asked many questions before they were relieved and believed it wasn’t their fault!

Even worse, we hold them responsible for our sadness, anger or happiness: “I will be very sad if you don’t get high grade”, or “ you made me shout because you did so & so”. By this, we are teaching them that we are not responsible of our reactions or our well-being. The results? They will grow up blaming others for their own mood, reactions or failures…

We are their raw model, their first contact and experience with the outer world. And guess what? They will do what we do, not what we tell them to do.

Next time you get angry with your kid, stop and think:

-what made him/her behave this way? What is happening in his/her mind?

-what is triggering my anger? And what choices I have for reactions?

-how can I change this problem into an opportunity to convey a value or a lesson to my kid?

Joyce Brothers, an American psychologist, said: “If a child is given love, he becomes loving … If he’s helped when he needs help, he becomes helpful. And if he has been truly valued at home … he grows up secure enough to look beyond himself to the welfare of others.”

And Kevin Heath, an Australian footballer, said: “In the end, kids won’t remember that fancy toy or game you bought for them, they will remember the time you spent with them.”

Take the time to ask them and understand what is going in their mind. Their world is different than yours and it is your responsibility to understand and make the distinction, not theirs!

theirinnervoice

Your words become their beliefs

 

Rania Hammoud, ACC,Life Coach

www.perfectmind.ca

Check also my blog at http://raniahammoud.blospot.com or at raniahammoud.wordpress.com

You can also join my Facebook page

 

 

 

2016-01-22 – Friday Whisper – The Life I want…

The other day I asked myself a question:” if a doctor told you that you have a terminal disease and that you’ve got only one year to live, what would be your reaction?”. And my immediate response was: “I would live the life I want to the fullest”. Now my very next question was: “and what would the life you want look like?”, this is where my mind went totally blank!!!! And I wondered, was it that I didn’t know what I want or maybe I am already living the life I want? I couldn’t answer this either…

I realized that answering the question “What do you want?” is not as easy as it seems. What do you want to do in your life? What do you want to achieve? What do you want your future to look like? When you reach your future, what do you want your past to look like? In short, What Do You Want?

I’d like to think that I am getting it all in my life, yet I want to make sure of that. I don’t want to wake up 10 years down the road and discover that I missed on achieving something very important to me, that I totally overlooked and realize that it is too late to do it…

If I can figure out what is my purpose on this earth, how do I want to make use of the time left for me, maybe this can help me know how to design the life I want…

Maybe one of the ways to figure this out is to ask the 8-years old child in you what does he/she like and not like about the person you are today…

Another way to ask yourself if you had the magic wand with unlimited choices what things would you create? After the cars, houses, clothes, accessories, gadgets you got yourself, what else would you get?

A third way that helps you is if you can point out your passion, maybe you would be on the right way as well… and trust me, this is not easy to do as well!

A forth way is to think about what do you want people to remember you for, once you leave this life? What would you like your legacy to be?

Now once you are able to figure this out, start acting on designing the life you want; don’t wait for a terminal illness to do so!!!

Alan Alda, an American author and actor, said: “Be brave enough to live life creatively. The creative place where no one else has ever been.”

And Pope Paul VI, said: “Somebody should tell us, right at the start of our lives, that we are dying. Then we might live life to the limit, every minute of every day. Do it! I say. Whatever you want to do, do it now! There are only so many tomorrows.”
I am off to figure out the life I want, what about you?

driverlife

Rania Hammoud, ACC,Life Coach

www.perfectmind.ca

Check also my blog at http://raniahammoud.blospot.com or at raniahammoud.wordpress.com

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2016-01-08 – Friday Whisper – Turning a Blind Eye…

Every time I stumble upon sad or violent news, I turn a blind eye and carry on.

I don’t want to know what is happening in Madaya, or in Dunkrik & Calais refugee camps,  what is happening in the refugee camps in Lebanon, Jordan or Turkey, or with the refugees waiting at European borders, especially in this freezing season..

I don’t want to know about the daily life of people in Syria…

I don’t want to know what happened to Aylan Kurdi before he drowned, neither about all the refugees who lost their lives in the sea.

I don’t want to know what happened to people during the war on Afghanistan and Iraq and the aftermaths of that.

I don’t want to know what is happening to women that being captured by ISIS.

I don’t want to know what is happening with the people of Yemen.

I don’t want to know what is happening in Myanmar.

I don’t want to know what the rebel groups are doing in Burma, Somalia, Ethiopia, Niger, Cameron and Chad.

I don’t want to know about the daily on-going suffering of Palestinians.

I don’t want to know about the people who were beheaded or hanged or shot just because they expressed their opinions.

I don’t want to know about all this, otherwise I will hold myself accountable of what I didn’t do, as we are all guilty of their sufferings…

I found it easier to turn a blind eye, watch those useless talent shows and pretend that this is the real world, along with the vain Kardashians.

And I wonder why do I have to bring another human being into this life? What for? Isn’t it too cruel to bring innocent children into all this? What kind of legacy we’ll be leaving for them?

Then I say to myself, maybe we need some clean spirits, maybe they will be able to clean up our mess, maybe they will be able to bring a fresh breeze of humanity, love, empathy and mercy to this life… maybe all what we are left with is a wish for a better tomorrow, a faith in the unknown future generation… a glimpse of hope…maybe…

lookagain

Rania Hammoud, ACC,Life Coach

www.perfectmind.ca

Check also my blog at http://raniahammoud.blospot.com or atraniahammoud.wordpress.com

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2015-06-12 – Friday Whisper – Procrastination…

Do you think you procrastinate a lot? Do you keep postponing what you want to start? Do you find it difficult to stick to a routine that you wish to follow? You have maybe googled how to fight procrastination, and for sure you have found lots and lots of websites telling you to do some time management, list your to-do list, set the right priorities, get a support group to encourage you to stick to your gym or diet, meditate, etc…. But if you don’t have this incentive, this energy, this excitement to do all this, nothing will be done…you will keep sitting on that couch, watching TV mindlessly, eating your food emotionally, and getting closer to a depression, slowly but surely…. And all what you keep telling yourself is that: you should start, you must do this or that, you keep failing yourself, time is running, you are getting older, you are getting fatter, you are not moving forward in your career or education, and so on, and so on…. While you are still there on that couch…

You think it is because you are procrastinating that you can’t reach any of those goals…

Let me tell you, procrastination is not a reason but a consequence…a consequence of a fear, an emotional load that you have been feeling for a while now… what could it be?

Is it a fear to go outside your comfort zone? Fear of failing? Fear of not accomplishing your goals perfectly? Did you live through a separation, a loss of a beloved one, a miscarriage, a major sickness? Have you been struggling with your self-confidence? Have you been struggling to seek approval of your dad or mom, even if you are in your 30’s, 40’s or 50’s? Are you struggling with your current relationship? Have you been struggling to make ends meet?

Unless you decide to deal with your fear and emotional load first, this will keep pulling you back and hindering you from moving forward.

Maybe you need to face, maybe you need to admit, maybe you need to fight, maybe you need to say No, maybe you need to open up, maybe you need to let go, maybe you need to forgive, or maybe you need to start anew…

Face your daemons, face what you have been avoiding for years now, stop putting it under the carpet or burying it deep down in your soul… it is a living thing that will keep trying to get on the surface, no matter how hard you will try to push it down…

Once you do this, I guarantee you that you will move from one accomplishment to another, with no sweat! All the time management tools and tips you once found on the Internet will become handy and very easy to apply…

Brandon Lee, an American actor, said: “You only have the burdens on you that you choose to put there.”

And George Bernard Show, an Irish playwright, said: “People become attached to their burdens more than the burdens are attached to them”

Don’t waste your years in avoidance or denial… it is not worth it, you deserve to feel satisfied, accomplished and happy…

2015-06-12 – Friday Whisper – Procrastination3

Rania Hammoud, ACC, Life Coach

www.perfectmind.ca

Check also my blog at http://raniahammoud.blospot.com or at raniahammoud.wordpress.com

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2015-04-17 – Friday Whisper – Sri Lanka…

Last week, we went on a short trip to Sri Lanka. Beautiful country indeed…the landscape, waterfalls, rainforests, tea plants, beaches… We visited many cities; Negombo, Kitulgala, Panawala, Kandy, and Nuwara Eliya… Rafting was amazing, hiking was refreshing, visiting a tea factory was informative, riding a speed boat was lots of fun…

The Temple of the Tooth was another beauty; mosques, churches, and temples co-exist peacefully over there…

Yet what I liked most is the simplicity of their life…

They are living easily without a Micheal Kors bag or Dior glasses… They don’t need to be connected all the time… Women look beautiful without cosmetic surgery… Kids are happy without owning tens of different electronic devices…

For many students, their only means of going to school is their legs…they would walk up hills, down hills, road sides, to get to school… for many workers, their shoes are their feet… for tea workers, their daily wages do not exceed $6…

Yet for all of these people, a simple hello or wave can make them smile…

It reminded me that simple life, albeit its difficulties sometimes, can be sufficient to be happy…

I know that if we would give them the choice, many would opt for luxury… and I know most probably I won’t be able to live their lives….yet it made me think how many times we feel bored even with a TV, a mobile, orlaptop…even with a car that can takes us where we want to… How many times we whine because “today’s lunch is the same food as yesterday’s!”, or that our car or phone is not the latest model, or the Internet is too slow because it is taking a whole 3 minutes to download!… How many times we complained that we don’t have enough clothes in our closet (since 4 suits or 5 dresses or 6 pants aren’t enough!)

There is no problem with luxury, there is no problem with wanting to own different things as long as we can afford them and doesn’t make them broke…my problem is when we tie our happiness to those things and feel deprived or poor if we don’t have them…

Lionel Shriver, an American Author, said: “A lot of people get so hung up on what they can’t have that they don’t think for a second about whether they really want it.”

And Bertrand Russel, a British philosopher, said: “It is the preoccupation with possessions, more than anything else that prevents us from living freely and nobly.”

Drop material stuff, gather more life experiences, and Life will have a different taste!

Ramboda Falls

Ramboda Falls

Tea plants workers

Tea plants workers

Rania Hammoud, ACC, Life Coach

www.perfectmind.ca

Check also my blog at http://raniahammoud.blospot.com or at raniahammoud.wordpress.com

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