Dr Farah Bari Khan
Farah’s journey started back in 1991 after she graduated from Khyber Medical College Peshawar. Today she works as a Senior Manager Administration for Indus Hospital for Gynecology. Farah has seen the worst days of medical care facilities in Pakistan. “Pregnant women used to come to the Civil Hospital and after their delivery they would see stray cats eating the placenta inside the ward. Every day I used to come back home with depression.” Conditions like these made Farah take the road less travelled.
Farah has faced various hurdles along the way. After graduating she got married to her cousin who is not only a doctor but also a social worker and philanthropist. Her husband, studying to become a cardiac surgeon, warned her about his long hours. Farah had always envisioned herself to be more of a family person than a career person so she was fine with this situation. However, after facing three miscarriages and battling with depression, she started working at a hospital. After 2 years of treatment she was able to conceive. Faced with the dilemma of keeping a nanny and continuing with her work, or to become a stay-at-home mother, she decided on the latter. For 7 years, she was focused on raising her 3 children; 2 sons and a daughter. This was a tough period in her life. People told her she was wasting her potential and she felt the same.
Once Farah’s children started school she began her training at the hospital, and came face to face with a very different world. Troubled with the extremely poor standards there, she asked her husband to help. He raised funds through donors and renovated the emergency gynaecologist department. Farah soon discovered that maintaining the good standards was the harder task. The donor offered to take care of the finances provided that Farah worked there. She agreed, and after her residency she put her other plans aside and decided to stay and look after the department. “When I started working in January 2004 at the Civil Hospital it was a turning point in my life”. She became a full time administrator, taking care of the labour room which, till today, is comparative to AKU. In 2013 Farah completed her post-graduation in Health Management and 2 years later she joined Indus Hospital as Senior Management Administrator in the obstetrics gynaecology department.
Farah’s secret for work-life balance is hard work, dedication, planning and passion. Being financially stable is also very important. According to her, “once a woman is financially stable, she becomes emotionally stable too”. However she urges girls everywhere to not choose career over family and motherhood. You can have all three simultaneously. Time and responsibilities are manageable. Coming back from work, Farah would want nothing more than to just sleep, but instead she would give time to her children, and teach them herself rather than sending them to tuitions. When her husband’s salary was not enough to send their children to good private schools, her own salary went into paying their tuitions. “This nation needs an educated mother and a young generation brought up by their own mothers,” she claims. Farah herself was best friends with her mother after her marriage. “I want to thank her and tell her that whatever I am today is because of her.” Like they say, behind a successful man is a woman, a strong woman is behind another strong woman.
Now Farah shares the same bond with her children. There were moments of weaknesses for her when her children were very young. Many a time she thought about quitting, but her passion to work for the less privileged and her trust in God kept her going.
As far as her Miracle Moment is concerned, Farah claims she has had several. When her mother took her first steps at the age of 75 after a knee replacement, the time when her husband was awarded Sitara-e- Imtiaz by the government of Pakistan and when her children got admissions in medical colleges are moments which give her immense happiness and pride. Balancing family and work is hard, but Farah shows us how it can be done, without compromising one for the other. That is exactly why she truly is a Miracle Woman.