Subhh Khalid, the decision-maker

"I still remember that moment when I took the decision. I had no savings, no job, no clue if my parents would support me or not. I only had Salar, my baby boy, who had become my entire world. He is a special child with a unique syndrome that is yet to be diagnosed and treated. All I knew was that I would have to find a way of getting him the medical attention that he needed and also I had to give him a chance to live a better life than the one that I had lived in my husband's home for so long. I finally took that leap of faith. I decided to trust Allah to provide for all my basic needs as promised. I have never looked back since!"

Subhh's initiation into her faith in the true sense of an experience, at once involved crossing over a defining threshold, the one where she had evolved into motherhood to bring back a renewed focus on the love that she manifested in her child and also a point of embarking on a deep introspective journey where she chose to liberate herself from the burden of a relationship that was not good for her. Subhh found self-love in reflection when she held her baby boy in her arms. As happiness and dreams of a future for her son and with her son blossomed into her consciousness, opportunities beckoned Subhh to trust herself and rise again in strength and power. The young mother took the decision to choose life again, to choose to pursue her dreams to build up the world womb for Salar, a project that the Almighty had gifted her to bring back her focus on what she could accomplish beyond her wildest imagination. As I listened to Subhh narrate her story on the phone, I felt more than inspired. I felt the strength that we women so sorely miss out and overlook most of the time; the strength in the will to create and in being the vessel that has been the abode of the magical dance of creation since eternity. Subhh felt like a sacred celebration in herself, an embodied version; the kind you would experience when you break free and finally choose yourself!

"I was married off when I was only 21." Subhh recalls. " It didn't come as a surprise for me. I was groomed to accept this as my fate. And I tried living my pre-destined fate with sincerity too. My parents had the best intentions for me when they married me off. Little did they know then that this marriage would be a three year long nightmare for me. They couldn't have known. I couldn't have known either. But it turned out like that.

My husband was emotionally unavailable and abusive. He did not want kids and the marriage was only something like an experiment to him. Because of his distaste for kids, he abused me when I had conceived two times. I had two miscarriages. I had thought that having a baby would bring us together and help me save the relationship, but he wouldn't have any of it. When I conceived the third time, my father-in-law helped me to stay apart from him so that I could bring my baby into this world. Finally, Salar was born! He opened his eyes to the world as a specially abled child with a facial defect and multiple health issues. To the world, he was abnormal but to me, he was the only thing normal in my life. I understood love when I held him and I decided to fight for myself to support him. That was the first time I raised my voice and expressed my desire to pursue my studies again. I was in my undergraduate degree when I was married off. I wanted to live again. After all the trauma, Salar was my reason to want to be me again. My in-laws objected. And somewhere that was the final straw I guess. I decided that either I had to leave or I would choose death. My father-in-law understood that I was at a critical juncture emotionally and called my father to take me and Salar home for sometime till I felt better and wished to come back. It was the much needed and God-gifted opportunity for me.

When my father came to take me and my baby home, I somewhere knew that I was never coming back. And I didn't! I shared my story with my family, earned their support, started studying again and also started freelancing to support myself and my son. I am grateful that I got my first victory when my parents realized their mistake in marrying me off so early. My sisters wouldn't suffer the same fate now. Not anymore! Not any other woman in my family. I was the last and I will be the last sufferer of this tradition. The tradition dies with the dissolution of my marriage." Subhh's narrative peaked at this point emotionally with her sense of realization of her role dawning on her as she felt responsible as the one who was setting the new trend, her life was already an example but she consciously decided to choose how to use that example. She wasn't going to be the damsel in distress, she had decided. As she nurtured her strength and built up her life from scratch again, she moved forward to power her experience with her voice. Thus began her journey as a healer and motivational speaker. " I speak at many local events whenever I get time, I offer support to women who are going through domestic abuse or have difficulties with toxic relationships.Some day I wish to be a full time life coach and healer. I know I find peace helping other women find their power ." she says.

"How do you manage to juggle everything Subhh?" I asked her.

"I have a wonderfully supportive family. They held the space for me to get past the difficult times. Now I have a job and I stay most of the time in Islamabad. I come to Peshawar on weekends to spend time with my family and Salar. Mom and dad are doing a great job raising him with me" she smiles as she speaks.

"My in-laws tried many times to sabotage my career so that I do not manage to become financially independent. But I have defeated their attempts because I worked extra hard to prove my merit and competency. Now I am fighting my case and want to close that chapter of my life once and for all. I am not trading this freedom that I have for anything else that they could possibly have to offer." she adds.

Subhh's story had me grabbing the edge of my seat for as long as I listened to her. Her determination to become and to remain the sole decision maker in her life seemed to me to be the most defining trait in her personality. They say that the experience of motherhood lends a certain added dimension to a woman's beauty, but no one had told me before that it adds so much more to one's personality in terms of strength. The birthing push that brought Salar into this world, birthed a new Subhh too. She shed her skin to rise from the ashes. The birth of this new story demands more episodes of a continued dialogue to do justice to Subhh's triumphs and accomplishments. As Salar continues to grow with his powerful mommy by his side, we look forward to continuing with the story to cover how Subhh uses her voice and wisdom to bless others in the future, through many more dialogues along the way.

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