real life story of dania hissah ec abu dhabi

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

My many titles which I am most grateful to be assigned to include; Mummy, wifey, only (thereby favourite) daughter, loyal (though at times MIA) friend. I am defined by the wonderful people I am blessed to have in my life. They ground me and remind me daily of the best and most prized aspects of my life and who I am.

I am also a scientist and a Lecturer. I research new pathways to treat diseases using a multidisciplinary approach. I work as an assistant professor of Pharmacology teaching future pharmacists and doctors not to hate one of the hardest subjects they’ll ever have to learn.

Describe a typical day in your life.

I’m up at 6-7am depending on when my little one wakes me up to be nursed. Half way through, my daughter wakes up demanding my immediate attention too. I get her ready for pre-school, finish feeding my baby boy and somehow manage to get myself semi-presentable before making my way to drop off my girl and then to work. A typical work day involves lots of coffee needed to make up for my lack of sleep (nursing mothers will understand!) delivering a couple of lectures, chatting with my colleagues, paperwork and prepping for class, mentoring research projects and students, and if I’m lucky (and ambitious) catching up on some articles and planning future research.

Before I know it, it’s time to rush off to pick up my girl. At home, time flies by with meal prep and simultaneously catering to the needs of both an infant and a preschooler. The few moments I manage to steal to myself are sadly lost on lecture prep or emails. Once the kids are in bed, in an ideal world I would curl up with a good book or watch a movie or even do something productive. This does not happen. I fall asleep on the couch 5 minutes into an episode of some show or another and am awoken every 90mins or so to feed my baby.

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

At the moment work-life balance seems to be my biggest challenge. It’s a struggle to deliver a 2 hour lecture when you’ve had about 3 hours sleep. When you want to give 100% to your family and 100% to work you have to be willing to make some sacrifices (usually your own sanity). I’m happy to make them, it’s just that it really can be super exhausting! In retrospect, the delivery of my first child was quite traumatic. I had a number of complications and had to have 3 surgeries over the span of nearly a year to get back to normal. People never talk about how difficult having babies can be, though they really should. It is no small feat what us ladies go through to propagate the species.

Who would you describe as a role model and why?

My parents. They have gone through such difficulties and struggles in their life but have met every challenge with grace and patience, advocating a life of love and joy. I am so blessed to have grown up with their example. I can only hope to one day embody such strength.

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

I’m a bit of a metal head.

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?

Put things in perspective, remember what matters most is the health and wellbeing of yourself and loved ones. No one is burdened with a challenge too great for them even if it seems overwhelming at the moment, you will find strength in you somehow to get through it and thrive. It’s always hard to be patient at the time but ultimately it comes down to patience and faith.

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

Non-Exhaustive! As tired, sleep deprived, or worn out (physically or emotionally) I may be – I power through and put a smile on my face.