The odds were never in my favor

My name is Dr Hina Shaikh and I decided to pen down my story on Soul Sisters Pakistan because this is a platform of women empowerment.

I am the only daughter of my parents and suffering from hearing impairment by birth. I have 70 percent hearing loss due to some complications. Ironically my dad himself is an ENT surgeon and my mother is a gynecologist. It was life shattering for my father to be the one to diagnose my hearing impairment was I was nine months old.

But it did not make him lose hope and his endless struggles for me began.
 I grew up hearing, “Munir aur Ismat ki beti toh goongi behri hai,” (Their daughter is deaf and mute) because I had delayed speech. I started speaking when I turned four and my parents braved through the things they heard being said about us. People used to tell them not to waste their time or money on me because I was a girl and would “pray” for them to be blessed with a son soon.
Thanks to society’s cruelty I learned from a very young age that I was different. I was six years old when I broke down and told my mother that I did not want to wear ugly hearing aids and wanted to be like the other kids.
My mother was heartbroken. And my dad, my iron man, made me sit on his lap and said,”look at me beta, I wear spectacles. And when I take them off am I blind? I just hav weak eyesight and that doesn’t make me lower than other humans. We are all the same. Don’t let your weakness over come you. One day you will be a surgeon just like me, I promise.”
That was the day I decided to never let what other people say put you down. My parents worked hard through regular school and endless speech therapy to finally help me secure a scholarship in Matriculate. It was immediately after I was done with 12th grade that my father announced that his daughter was going to be a dental surgeon.
Obviously he was mocked and ridiculed. People asked him to get me married off rather than wasting money. These statements pinched me but I knew the love and support my parents held in their hearts and I decided to brave on! I cleared every exam without failing, faced every teacher with stumbling. I cleared my BDS exams much to the delight of my parents.
It was finally the time the pressure to get me married increased. Visitors came to see me for their sons. Once an “aunty” who seemed to like me immediately showed disapproval with my flawed speech and it was then my father decided that there would be no more visitors in this house unless someone was absolutely sure they wanted to marry me.
“Munir toh beti ko bitha ke rakhega,” they said. But my father responded by telling them as long as I was happy my marital status meant nothing.
During that time I ended up suffering from endometriosis and had to go through surgery twice in a matter of three years. Infertility was looming ahead.
And within that very challenging time I met my husband. A gem of a person who took me for who I was. Who treated my parents like his own. Within a year of being married we had our first daughter, naturally. And I still remember my father’s grinning face as he paced with his grand daughter in the hospital. I instantly knew what he was going to do. He clapped above her head and she started crying with the loud noise.
My father shouted with joy, “Ismat she can hear! Alhumdulillah.” And he burst into tears as my mother looked at him with relief.

Verily, with every hardship there is easy. And my life is truly a representation of that.

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