Rania Hammad’s story is one of courage, acceptance and survival. The fashion designer was halfway through her pregnancy, when she lost her leg in an accident. Like a Phoenix she rose from the ashes and overcame this traumatic experience with wisdom and grace.
Rania believes that her child survived so that she would have a reason to continue living. Every time she went to surgery after the accident, she feared for her baby’s safety. “Until this day my son gives me meaning and purpose during my darkest times,” Rania says.
If it wasn’t for my mother, I am not sure I would have stayed sane during those hard times
During the time which followed the accident, Rania was fortunately blessed with her loving and supporting family’s presence. “If it wasn’t for my mother, I am not sure I would have stayed sane during those hard times,” she continues, “and my husband, who has been my support system through it all. I never felt like it was my battle alone.”
I used to hide my leg, because I was still not ready to handle people’s stares
After recovering physically, there was still the emotional factor to consider. It took Rania some time to come to terms with her new life. For a while, she would hide her bionic leg under baggy clothes. “I used to hide my leg, because I was still not ready to handle people’s stares,” Rania tells. She explains that in the Middle East, people are not exposed enough to the differently-abled. “This is something which needs to change, integration is key. I always felt that I needed to be part of the change, but wasn’t sure how,” she tells. Then, on Rania’s trip to Australia to undergo her last surgery, she had decided to cover her bionic leg, but her doctor did not recommend it for safety reasons. It was then, that she felt it is a sign, and she removed the cover. “I even posted my first picture with the bionic leg on Instagram and decided to talk about the accident and my experience. Until today I never regretted this decision,” she stresses.
Like any designer, Rania is influenced by her environment, mental state and perspective on life. While the accident changed a lot of things for her, her passion for fashion design only grew stronger, “a lot of times it was my way to escape reality when it was too difficult for me to handle. It is therapeutic,” she elaborates.
I promise you pain doesn’t last forever, we were created to adapt and overcome
Sadly, there is no manual or guide on how to survive traumatic and life altering events. However, Rania’s first advice in that regard is to always have faith that God has a plan, saying she found comfort in that thought during her darkest hours. She also advises to have patience, as healing takes time. “Take it one day at a time. Don’t overwhelm yourself by thinking about the next week or month,” she continues, “be kind and gentle to yourself. I promise you pain doesn’t last forever, we were created to adapt and overcome.”
Going through an experience of this kind can be a blessing in disguise we are told by Rania. “You start to focus on things that really matter, it puts your priorities in order, and teaches you to appreciate every blessing and stop chasing after things that don’t matter,” she says. Rania also believes that such experiences show you how powerful your mind and body are when put to the test, “it really fascinates me how resilient and perseverant we were actually created. God is great,” she explains.
I have been blessed with a partner who never left my side, a mother who never stopped praying and comforting me, and finally with my miracle baby boy
Rania is eternally grateful for the people God surrounded her with during these intense times, “I have been blessed with a partner who never left my side, a mother who never stopped praying and comforting me, and finally with my miracle baby boy,” she says.
Rania came out of this experience with a fascinating view of life. While unsure of where this journey will take her, she still is certain she is destined for something great. Speaking to her younger self, Rania makes a promise, “I promise to try and make things easier for people like us, people who are different, so they don’t have to go through the same struggle I went through. I will try to make this world a better place, even if the change is minimal,” she concludes.