A christening is always a moving and important event: It’s a child’s spiritual entry into the world and a time for families to be united by tradition. It’s an anchor for the community, and a moment when all involved pause to reflect on their gratitude for life. For Aliki and her baby, Kristian, however, this beautiful christening in Limassol represented a miracle in more ways than one… For the odds that Aliki would even be here today, let alone be here with a healthy baby boy, were incredibly slim.

Years ago, Aliki was just like any other young woman making her way through university: Full of hopes, dreams, and plans for the future. Her view of her life to come—of marriage, family, and career—seemed clear and sure… Until one day, her family began noticing that she appeared confused and forgetful. Alas, this was no case of too many late nights studying; Aliki was diagnosed with encephalitis, a rare and dangerous inflammation of the brain. Soon, she was unable to speak or feed herself, totally dependent on her mother for basic care… And the prognosis of recovery was dim. No one really knew if Aliki’s beautiful voice would ever again express her thoughts, or if she would ever stand tall on her own, as she had in the past.

Then, during one of the many long nights where Aliki’s mother sat patiently by her daughter’s hospital bedside, something deeper than words overtook her: Her motherly instinct kicked in and she just began to hum to Aliki, as though she were an infant again. Somehow, against all odds, the melody returned back to her—Aliki was humming, clear as daybreak, holding a tune perfectly. She might not have been able to speak, but she could still communicate. Music, the language of her soul, was as much a part of her as it always had been.

From that moment on, song guided Aliki’s recovery; she drew on the love of music that had been with her since childhood, connecting words to rhythms and feelings until speech began to return to her… And all of her practice paid off in other ways, too: As Aliki grew stronger again, she developed a distinctive soprano voice that would go on to land her a spot on Britain’s Got Talent in 2013.

Yet even as she rubbed shoulders with the stars, Aliki knew that she still had one dream left unfulfilled: Motherhood. She longed to extend the same patient love to her own baby that her mother had blessed her with, for it was this love that had truly healed her. On Christmas Day in 2016, just a short while before this beautiful christening in Limassol, she got her wish as she cradled baby Kristian in her arms. In his tiny coos she heard the sweetest music, and she knew that every step she had struggled to take was worth it to get to that point. She learned the secret behind why mothers can love their babies so completely and immediately, despite having never met them before their birth: A child is like a song in your heart that you carry with you, just waiting for the day when you’ll finally hear its melody.