Empathy- The Real-Life Story of Saamia Bilal Khan

Tell me a bit about yourself. What do you want the world to know about YOU?

I am Saamia Bilal Khan. A working mother who tries to balance work and home every day only to realize that there is imbalance everywhere. I have been working as a Speech Language Therapist for almost a decade and still feel like a student. I have this urge to learn and be competent at what I do.

Describe a typical day in your life.

My day starts with waking my daughter up for school and every mom knows how the morning routine goes with toddlers. After managing to make her look almost presentable and feeding her enough to last half the day till she gets her snack time, I get ready for work and look as awake as I can. I drop her off to school in a rush, as we are usually late because of one or another reason, I go to work and transition from being a mother to an SLP, counsellor, problem solver etc. I pick my daughter up from school and drop her off to her grand ma (My mom, the best of all blessings in my life) and leave for work again. I have back to back speech language therapy sessions till late evening. Afterwards its all the same every-single-day, which is, getting to my mom’s, picking my daughter up and getting to my own place, feeding her dinner, putting something in my stomach, spending time with her and getting her to sleep, waiting for my husband to get home, having a little chat about the day and hitting the bed eventually.

What was one of the biggest challenges you faced during your journey to where you are today?

The biggest challenge that I faced in getting to the place where I am today was making myself understand that I can be a professional woman and a good mother at the same time. It took a while for me to accept the fact that my daughter wasn’t ‘’suffering” if I was going to work, she was actually becoming independent and developing relationships with all the other people in her life. There have been days where I have cried at nights because I felt inadequate as a mother, I have sometimes felt guilty of giving more of my attention to the kids who come to me for therapy than to my own child, I have also contemplated leaving work and being a stay at home mother. I have gone through innumerable ups and downs in my life regarding my work and my motherhood. My husband is the one who has always been supportive and kept motivating me to give my best in every step of my career. He has been my friend and mentor on so many levels. I still have good and bad days but the one thing that really helps me getting through these challenges is understanding the fact that I am making a huge difference in all the lives I am touching and making so many parents feel better every single day of my work.

Who would you describe as a role model and why?

I don’t really believe in having one single role model. I have looked up to multiple personalities and hoped to have various qualities that they have. I am still striving to adopt those traits and somewhat getting there. The two things that I have observed in these people constantly is patience and not letting negativity get a hold of them. I have made a conscious effort to work on my patience level and letting things go. I have seen a drastic change in the way situations unfold by giving everything and everyone a chance.

Tell us one thing about you that most people don’t know.

One thing that people usually don’t know about me (except for the really close ones) is the fact that I really care for anyone and everyone. I am one of those people who would stay by your side if I find you in distress even if we hardly know each other or even if we had an unpleasant past.

What is one piece of advice about how to cope with challenges/struggles you face in life that you would like to give to the world?

One advice that I would want to give everyone is to believe in the fact that everything happens for a reason. It sounds clichéd but it has happened to me a zillion times in my life. The challenges you face, the heartbreak, the sadness, the failures, the opportunities that you felt you had but never got, things that were given and then taken away, all the hardships are there for a reason. They are either making you stronger or pointing out the blank spaces you need to fill in with knowledge, with love, with positivity, with strength or with just believing in yourself. Remember the fact that nothing happens without a reason, find that reason and work on it to make things go your way patiently.  There is something better waiting for you.

What is ONE word that you feel defines you? (It could be your profession, a personality trait, or a quality you possess).

The one word that describes me is empathy.