Broken to Blessed

Julie Coveney

I come from a large family of eight, including my parents. With so many people, it was easy to feel alone and lost in the shuffle, with six kids. I also felt different. It wouldn’t be until years later that I’d find out I was born differently than most women.   

As a little girl, I’d play outside by myself, making believe I was taking my babies for a walk in my mom’s baby carriage. I often imagined the day I’d be a mom, and this made me happy.

In 1969 I graduated high school and went on to college. At the end of my first year, I got engaged. Since my fiancé and I had three more years of school, our engagement would be long-term. During our courtship, we talked about having a family someday.

At 19 years old, I still didn’t have my period. Mom and I believed I was a late bloomer, however; it was time to get checked out. There were other signs of my body maturing, but no menstrual cycle. After seeing my family doctor, he referred me to a gynecological specialist in Philadelphia

Thankfully, Mom came with me to the appointment. We were hoping to find out when I’d start my period. After the doctor examined me, his diagnosis changed my life forever. His devastating diagnosis was called MRKH. That day, I found out I’d never be able to birth my own children. As soon as the doctor said this, my heart broke and my dreams of motherhood shattered.

Psychologically, the news was impossible to wrap my young mind around. My reaction was denial. I wondered, “Why am I here on earth?” I asked God, “Why did you make me a woman that could not have children?” It didn’t make sense. Wondering how I’d go on in life, I sobbed sorrowful tears. My body was different. It couldn’t be cured. The way my family and I handled my MRKH news was by never speaking about it, again. We swept it under the rug, as though it never existed.

When I shared the news about my MRKH with my fiancé, he was not happy. Sadly, we broke up. When we broke up, the thought occurred to me, who would want to marry me if I couldn’t have children?  Now, not only would I not have the lovable babies I dreamt about as a little girl, maybe there wouldn’t even be a husband in my future. This was additional grief for me to bear.

At that time, I wondered if I would ever meet another person with MRKH. It is rare: 1 in 5,000 women are born without a uterus. With my unique body, I was different than most girls. The other issue was, I had zillions of questions and no answers. In 1970, there were no computers or cell phones.They didn’t exist, until 42 years later. It wasn’t possible to go home and google, what is MRKH? I felt isolated from the rest of the world with a rare condition. To make matters worse, doctors I went to throughout my life never heard of MRKH. My zillions of questions remained unanswered. With no professional counseling, my MRKH caused depression and anxiety.  

Mostly, I kept my MRKH a secret. Pretending to be like other girls, I lived an inauthentic life. Imprisoned behind my mask of normalcy for 42 years, wasn’t easy.

Gripped with grief, I turned to the ONE who knew the anguish of my soul, God. He was always part of my life. He understood my sorrow and lament. Knowing God made me, and He doesn’t make mistakes, I believed God had a plan for my life, I just didn’t know it yet. This very thought kept me hopeful.

After college, I was hired as a third-grade teacher. When school started, I’d have an entire classroom of third-grade students. Even though I couldn’t have children of my own, it was exciting to anticipate my classroom filled with children. Wow, God was working behind the scenes!   

Before I started teaching, I worked as a waitress to earn money to get a place to live with a roommate. My friend Barbara was also looking. We ended up renting an apartment in Ocean City, NJ. Barb and I had a lot in common. We both waitressed in the summer and taught in the fall.  

Shortly after moving in together, Barbara introduced me to her boyfriend’s roommate, Terry. Ted and Terry also worked summer jobs together. She kept telling me how nice it would be for roommates to date roommates. She was right.

Terry and I dated that whole summer. He was okay with me having MRKH. The following summer we got married, August of 1975. Amazingly, Terry had two daughters, Lori seven-years-old and Kim six-years-old. I instantly became a stepmom, when we got married. In 1970, the year of my diagnosis, I wasn’t sure anyone would want to marry me with MRKH. Now, five years later, I was married with two stepdaughters. God is good, from my broken dreams of not being able to have a family, He blessed me with a husband and two beautiful daughters.

What I didn’t realize until after our wedding was that the girls would not come to live with us. They would stay living with Terry’s parents, where they lived since they were infants. Regardless of the situation, I was grateful that we had the girls on the weekends, holidays and summers. When our daughters were older, and about to enter high school, they did come to live with us.

Frustrated, in between when we got married to their coming to live with us much later, I wondered why I had children, but didn’t have children. My motherly instincts yearned to be able to share my life and love with our girls every day. These were my child-bearing years, I also wanted to adopt a child, but Terry wasn’t ready. His first child died in infancy, and he wasn’t emotionally prepared to have another baby. I understood. 

Not having the girls on a daily basis, and having taught school for 8 years, I thought about a career change. I thought, Maybe God wants me to be a businesswoman. I set out on a new career. In actuality, I was searching for my identity.  

In 1980, five years after getting married, I became a Realtor. I sold real estate in Princeton, New Jersey for ten years. Later, Terry and I moved to Florida and I worked another ten years in real estate. My career was quite successful, but I realized that what the world called “success”, was not my experience. I still had the empty void in my heart, my identity was still unknown.

Thankfully, on May 23, 2003,I found what my heart was longing for. One Sunday, while visiting my sister’s church, I heard the Good News about God’s one and only Son, Jesus Christ. That day I invited Jesus Christ into my heart and received Him as my Savior. I became a Christian, and the void in my heart was filled. I now knew whoI wasand whose I was. My identity now was as a child of the King of kings and Lord of lords. At 52 years old, when I was adopted into God’s family: I was chosen, loved, forgiven, and predestined for eternal life in heaven with God.

Filled with overflowing joy of the Lord, I was inspired to write poems that came to me during this special season of life. Little did I know, years later I’d give birth to my very first book, The King’s Poems: From God’s Heart to Yours. And in 2019 a second edition was published titled, The King’s Poems: A Book of Faith, Hope & Love.

In 2014, I attended my first MRKH meet-up in Philadelphia, the exact city I received my MRKH diagnosis 44 years prior. At 65 years old, I had the privilege to meet MRKH warrior sisters, Amy Lossie, Meredith Brooks, and other MRKH sisters in attendance. What joy it was for me to meet, face-to-face, other women who had MRKH. Meeting my sisters, and doctors that were at the meet-up that were well informed about MRKH, was an enormous encouragement to me. This was a blessing to have the opportunity to heal from my broken condition that I kept hidden for many years. With the internet and learning of meet-ups I was no longer alone. I had sisters all across the globe, just like me. What a gift!

My healing continued as I attended Celebrate Recovery meetings at church. Each time I attended and shared my story, my mask was being peeled away and I was facing life more authentically.

In 2019, I was invited to speak at the Global MRKH Day in Melbourne, Australia. I was thankful and humbled by Amy’s invitation to participate in this international conference. This amazing experience was beyond any words I could ever express. Meeting more sisters, I knew and saw the courage of my MRKH sisters from across the globe who know and understand the heartaches, challenges, and the triumphs of our unique position in life. Sharing our stories and support is truly a blessing!

Today, I continue to ask God to give me opportunities to share my testimony and gratitude for the totally new perspective He has given me about my MRKH. He took my broken 19-year-old life with years of sorrow and blessed me with becoming a wife, a mother, a grandmother, an aunt, a great aunt, a sponsored mom to two children in Africa, a mom to a young woman (who has never met her own biological parents), and a mom to a four-legged fur baby named Teddy Bear.

My memoir, More Reason to Know Him: A Journey from Darkness to Light, will be completed soon. It’s my story, for His Glory. Praise God!

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[a] have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28 NIV

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What I Would Tell My 17 Year Old Self (MRKH Edition)

Kristen O’Brien

To my younger self, on the day you were diagnosed with MRKH:

If I could sit with you now, and hold your hand, and offer words of sage advice, I probably would not make it through without crying.

I’m closing my eyes now and imagining what it would look like to sit next to you now, as you’ve just received a painful and life altering diagnosis. For some reason I picture us in a park, green and lush with plant life. But we are on a hard metal bench, surrounded in a cloud that feels heavy and dark.

I wouldn’t tell you what lies ahead for you. But in my mind I see myself gently touch your shoulder and say “allow space for this pain.”

That is what I would like to encourage you to consider as you move through the next years. To just… allow space. Allow space for joy and let the light of it flow into your laughter and relationships. Allow space for pain and let the tears and anger rush out when they need to. Allow these things and everything in between without judgement (if you can). It’s not so easy in a society that holds perfection on a pedestal. It’s not easy in a society where the answer to “how are you?” is always “good!” You aren’t always going to feel good. Because you are a human and not a robot. It hurts me to know how hard you will try to be all things to and for all people and ignore all you hold in your heart. Hold space for all these things you feel. Hold space for the jealousy that comes up again and again. Hold space for the hollowness you will feel time and again. Hold space for the grief, the sadness, the crushing weight that, at times, feels suffocating.
And hold space for others. Hold space for love, connection, and healing. Joyful memories and unforgettable experiences lie ahead of you too. All these things are yours. Just take a moment, take a breath, and hold space for it all.

Many years from now someone will say to you “We are human beings, not human doings.” Be with yourself, notice how you feel and where you feel it, and know that there is so much good in store for you. Dreams will shift, time will allow healing, and you will learn to hold space for all things. Even this.

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The Call Was Worth It

Carrie Cameron Martin

My story isn’t one of miraculous healing or a life transformed right before your eyes. It is a story of survival and a fight back from the depth of unimaginable grief. It is full of purpose, hope and a redemptive plan.

The Author wrote loss into my life long before I held my son as he went into the arms of Jesus. Loss began the day I heard the words of my doctor through the telephone line, “you will never be able to carry your own children.” As a woman who had dreamt for years of her own family, those were the last words I wanted written in this chapter of life.

The Author’s plan was written long before I was formed by Him. One of the most important lines written in my life was of the day I was adopted into my Author’s family. Little did I know at that time, a different adoption would be the means in which my family would come to be.

The pages continued through desperate prayers on my knees with many tears begging God to become a mom. Year after year it would go unanswered as I watchedothers welcome adoptees into their families. Now that I look back at the lines being written, I see God’s purpose behind the wait.

The day our prayer was answered as we watched as our son enter this world, was the best line written in my book of life. Twenty-eight days later I watched as the Author of my story wrapped my son into His arms and took him home.

The day I buried my son I had two options; I would hold onto what little ink was left and let the Author continue to write my story or let it dry up and drown in my grief. My only hope was to hold tightly to the Author and let Him continue to write my story. That is what I did.

I would like to tell you my healing came quick and without much work on my part, but that is not how it goes. If God is going to use this pain for His glory, I would have to walk through the fire for the ashes to do their work. I was burnt and exhausted, but I was determined to let God do His work. I was desperate to see His redemptive power, for Him to show up with love, grace, and most of all purpose.

I dove deep into the pages of His word for months, clinging to Jesus. I read the Word and let the Holy Spirit guide me page after page as I wrote of my grief, anger, and questions. I screamed, I cried out, and I asked why. I kept coming back again and again to God until the healing started.

I don’t believe time is the answer to healing. I believe the heart needs to go to its’ Creator for healing. Time does not know the heart and what it needs to put the pieces back together, that is the Author of life’s job.

It wasn’t easy but as the pages turned my story began to sing, the sun was rising, and Jesus kept showing up. He showed up in ways only He could, through family, friends, and strangers. God was in the midst of my life and at times I felt as if I could reach out and touch Him. I had never felt closer to Him than in those times.

God called my husband and I to be parents to a very special child. I now believe our story to become parents took so long because there was a certain little boy God needed us to love for a short time on earth, but always in our hearts. If the pen had a chance to rewrite it, I would not erase the pages. 

Cameron is where my new chapter in life began, where I can see the words clearer than ever before. I now know without a doubt Jesus is my all and all and the pen writing my story is meaningless without the Author to control it.

Not everyone will have a miraculous story or a life changing experience, but I do promise you this: if you hold on to the Author and finisher of your faith you will have extraordinary chapters. Had the phone not rang over 20 years ago and the doctor had not spoken those words, Cameron wouldn’t have been mine and that is the part of my story I would never change.

P.S. Joy comes in the morning and six months after Cameron was welcomed into his Heavenly home we welcomed our second son T. He certainly has been a light in our darkness and joy in our suffering! T is a very active 3 year old who certainly keeps us young. I can’t imagine life without this big browned eyed little boy. I can’t say the our adoption journey was easy, but worth it, absolutely!!

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TO DISCLOSE OR NOT TO DISCLOSE

By Sheree Murray

I didn’t even realise it was such a big topic Though to be fair I had always places MRKH in the back of my mind. Pushed it so far back even that sometimes I would totally forget that it even existed, and that I had it. But I couldn’t escape from reality right?

As I got older, the conversations around having children became more prominent. I’d never wanted children so I always quickly replied with “Oh I don’t want them and can’t have them anyway’ before redirecting the conversation to someone else as quickly as possible.

Then there were the times when people would ask me if I could lend them a tampon,I managed to dodge that awkward “I don’t actually get my period convo” like a pro. I would just casually say “oh sorry I’ve run out” I learnt from a young age that was the easiest reply as when I said “I don’t get my period” I was faced with a questioning lok. I just couldn’t deal with having that conversation. So what changed to make me disclose MRKH?
I was tired of dodging the conversation around children and periods. I felt finally ready to share my truth.

So I started being more open and talking about it with my inner circle of friends. It felt so good to finally not hide it. This was about 7 years in the making. Then one day at this cafe here in Palma I disclosed to a new friend, she’s one of the only people that had actually heard of MRKH. I was so excited!

Apparently an incredible woman had just disclosed on Instagram. Holy heck there’s other women out there like me? Of course I knew there was, I just had never been presented the opportunity to connect with another MRKH sister. I found her on insta and reached out, it’s insane how immediately I no longer felt alone in this part of my journey. I also started joining support groups and connecting with other incredible women on insta. I never had any idea that anything like this existed for us incredible women.

Because of her one post my world changed overnight, I felt empowered by our incredible community of warriors and so welcomed. Most of all I no longer felt alone. Holy heck if one post could do that for me, I just knew I had to pay it forward.

If by me disclosing MRKH could help even just one woman like it did me then heck I was all in.
Though of course I was nervous and anxious, I wrote and re-wrote that post for about 3 weeks. Then I knew it was time, I basically posted it on insta then walked away. Not many if any knew that this was a part of me and now I had announced it to the world. I kept reminding myself that if this could help 1 other woman like it had me, then it was more than worth those moments of fear and anxiety that I was having at the time of posting. The messages I received were incredible. Full of love and so uplifting.

I knew I had done the right thing for me. I totally understand that this is 100% a personal decision and don’t get me wrong there are some days when I wanted to take that post down, but to be fully standing in and owning my truth feels incredible. I want to be a stand for all us incredible women owning how great we truly are. I want to be able to speak for those that yet can’t. But either way wether we want to disclose to our friends, the world or keep it to ourselves. Its all perfect and our choice.

Thats why I decided to disclose MRKH and why I will continue to share my story.

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What I Would Tell My 25 Year Old Self (MRKH Edition)

Stacey Brown

Dear Stacey,

Hey girl, it’s a year later and you’re 26. I know you wish you had more time. 17 is such a different age from 25. You feel as if you’re old enough and mature enough to handle anything that comes your way. I know you weren’t ready to be diagnosed with MRKH. Everything was happening so fast it went from an ultrasound, to an MRI, to an official diagnosis. I know you wanted the world to stop but everything around you kept going.

You were in grad school and you didn’t have the time to deal with it. You didn’t allow yourself the time to deal with it. You kept hiding from your feelings, until you were forced to confront them. Now it feels like you’re playing catch up. You wonder whether if you had found out at 17 maybe you would have more time. More time to process and accept. More time to consider surgery. It would have been surgery number three instead of surgery number six. I want you to know there will never be a perfect time.

You want to rush your healing, but I advise you not to. I know you’re tired of crying about something you can’t control. I know you couldn’t control the way you were born. It will be extremely frustrating, and you will ask God over and over again “why me”. You’re going to be angry with God. I want you know it was okay to be angry with God. You’re going to search for an explanation and never find one. MRKH becomes another insecurity added to the list.

You question if a guy will ever love someone like you, but I want you to take this time to love yourself. You begin to feel like less of a woman. You no longer feel feminine or sexy and you begin to hate your body.

I want you to know you will not be broken by this. You will see the beauty in vulnerability. You will share your story and receive so much love and compassion. You are not alone. You will find support groups. You will realize that there are women who share different versions of the same story. You will find a support group for black women and build a sisterhood with them. 

You will allow people to support you and you will reach out for help when you need it. Your friends and family will show up for you in unimaginable ways. I know it feels like you’re running out of time but take your time. I know you feel pressured to figure out adoption or IVF or surrogacy. Don’t rush it. Cry if you need to and eventually it will get easier. It’s just not easy right now.

Some days will be harder than others. You will learn that in order to figure out what your triggers are you must allow them to trigger. That part will suck. This can include baby showers, Mother’s Day, and pregnancy announcements. Some days you will shatter into a million pieces just for God to put you back together. You were chosen for a purpose. I think you will figure out why once you stop questioning your purpose. Once you stop questioning your existence. Somebody needs your story, somebody needs your voice, somebody needs your poetry.

A year from now you would have grown so much. You redefine what it means to be a woman. You redefine what it means to be worthy. I am beyond proud of you. Always remember to love yourself, celebrate yourself, and grieve with grace.

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What I Would Tell My 17 Year Old Self (MRKH Edition)

Esther Leidolf

Dear teenage self.

It was around this time of year… Fifty years ago… Your 13-year-old world came screeching to a halt along with your dreams and expectations. Boom. Gone… You had to start over at a time when you were meant to move forward. If you knew then what you know now you wouldn’t have felt so scared or lonely….Those years still feel like a blur; and yet you will come to understand the power that secrets and shame had over you. You will learn that You will control that power! You won’t be so utterly alone, so deeply sad, ashamed and embarrassed. Your journey will leave scars that will never heal but will one day be worn with wisdom and pride.

You may always wonder who you would be if you didn’t have mrkh but that is something you can never know. Even with all the treatment and medical interventions that lie ahead, you will always be someone born with mrkh. So hang in there. It gets better every day. As the anger rages internally with nowhere to direct it- you will understand why mom always said you seemed to be angry at the world. Because you were. You were trying to live in a world that wouldn’t see you. A world that didn’t want you to exist. That anger was, and still is valid. The only difference now is that you know it.

You will one day realize that your condition is no longer “your little problem” as the docs liked to say. You will see that you are not failing to be what a woman is expected to be but that the expectation has failed you. You will learn that the experts lead you down their own path and not yours. This is a lesson you will learn 1000 times over in 100 different ways. You will allow yourself to be a lesbian because, well, you are a lesbian which has nothing to do with the way you were born.

But what you never expected was that the shame and sadness would empower you to move forward. Your older-self thanks you as that transition enabled you to be courageous and build community with others who have mrkh. Nourish your anger with a gentle heart and you will find your voice. People will someday listen to what you have to say.

In some strange way you are very lucky. You learn the difference between being alone and being lonely at a very early age. You learn that you are your best friend and your salvation. Only you know your truth and your “little problem” will not define you as much as you think it does. You learn the difference between knowing your emotions and feeling them.… You learned early on that bad shit happens to good people. You will learn to dance with your angst, and eventually seduce it… You will emerge from being “the only one” into a community of 1: 5000 women with mrkh. You will open yourself to learn from people with similar conditions and no longer fear them. I would be wrong to tell you that the sadness is gone forever. It will creep up when you least expect it and try to take you back to a place you may not want to go. But remember you now have the experience of moving through it and each time you will come out stronger. Remain hopeful in knowing that mrkh has lost its hold over you. It is your power now. One day all the pieces will fit together and you will settle into yourself. Your survival will help others survive. You will use your faith to remember to be true to yourself. No one knows what you need better than you do. No one gets to tell you who you should be, what you want or what is best for you. You will not only survive but you will thrive in a world you never knew existed.

Godspeed dear friend.

Very truly yours, Me

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What I Would Tell My 31 Year Old Self (MRKH Edition)

Sheree Murray

Dear Sheree

I am here to tell you not to worry, but to also not keep your feelings hidden. You always knew something wasn’t right and now right before a busy yachting season you’ve been told you have MRKH.

What the hell even is that right?

I get you never wanted children, but you hate to be told you cannot do things right?

You’ll be angry for a while and will take it out on the people that are closest to you. It’s ok I promise this feeling will pass. You’re going to push it all into the back of your mind for quite some time, but hey, we all deal with things differently. There’s no manual for this.

But you are so bold and brave, and I promise you when you finally start sharing your story with the world, so many amazing connections will come from this, and you’ll no longer feel so alone in this part of your journey.

You are going to connect with so many incredible women in the same position as you. 1 in 5000 might not be so common, but you will realize how common and small the world is once you open up.

There are some beautiful connections and friendships out there waiting for you.

You will become more open, vulnerable and authentic than you ever thought was possible as you have always kept your feelings so hidden. You are growing into such an incredible woman and a force to be reckoned with.

You will find love and peace with all this. You will create stronger friendship than you ever thought possible. You will even create your own businesses that allow you to retire from full time Cheffing. That idea of being a business woman is no longer a pipe dream.

It might not seem it now, with the haze of everything that’s running through your mind after just being diagnosed.

But your future is oh so bright. You are so loved by many and inspiring others daily by sharing your truth.

I promise that all the fears you have now will slowly disappear. Just remember to breathe, take time for yourself and to let others in. It’s all going to be more than ok x

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What I Would Tell My 17 Year Old Self (MRKH Edition)

Mindi Cartwright

Hello my fellow MRKH peeps. My name is Mindi Cartwright, I go by Oreo or Oreoprincess. I’m 25 years old now. I’ve been through a lot already and I’m here for “What would I tell my 17 year old self?” Hmm.. that’s a very difficult question. Not because I can’t think of anything, but because there is so many things I would tell myself. It’s that age where you’ve seen to have gone through a lot and (well for me) was depressed and confused. That age was about the time I was told I had MRKH. I was shocked and felt confused. I felt I wasn’t a woman, that I wouldn’t be able to be in a relationship if I couldn’t provide sex. I was confused as to what I was getting surgery for (Hysterectomy). I’ve argued with other women that I didn’t have to carry my own child to be a woman. Being told I wasn’t woman enough has been very hard on me, as it would on any woman. I was told I wasn’t woman enough by women and men. Life was tough filled with doubts and a consistency of people telling me I wasn’t enough. “I can’t be with you because I think I’ll cheat on you”, “You can’t carry a child? Than you’re not a woman”, blah blah blah….

So after all that being said here is what I would say to my 17 year old self.

1: You are more than enough. You were born for a reason, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. You don’t have to provide intercourse to keep a man. Love is more than about lust. Don’t let those boys force you to change or perform other favors to win their love. If they really loved you you wouldn’t have to do anything you don’t want to do. Your love is enough. Ok, Enough said with that. 

2: Accept that you’re a weirdo! Truth is we’re all weirdos in our own way.

3: You don’t need anyone’s approval. Neither do you need someone to be with you. Be happy with being alone. Learn to accept who you are and be content with being your own company. Just because you are alone doesn’t mean you should feel lonely. Once you accept this good people will come along. Also, don’t search for love. Let love find you! I promise once you start loving yourself and your surroundings it will all fall in place.

Now young Mindi, know that everything happens for a reason. Let the universe guide you, don’t even stress the path you’ll take! Know you’re in good hands and what’s gonna happen is gonna happen even if you stress about it. Stressing will only make you go through it twice. Somethings you stress about most likely won’t be a big deal or even happen. Embrace life and who you are. Enjoy every second and always stop to smell the roses. Be kind even when someone isn’t so kind. You have no idea what others are going through. But more importantly, be kind to your self. You’re beautiful, kind and a weirdo! That’s beauty! Be you with out needing approval, enjoy yourself. Stay being young and free for the rest of your life. You’ll do great things. You’re going to be successful and I love you.

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What I Would Tell My 17 Year Old Self (MRKH Edition)

Nicole Barriault

Dear Nicole,

I am writing to you from the future. I know how ridiculous you think that sounds, but please hear me out. I actually know much more about you than you realize. This year you are turning 17. You’re almost an adult. I know how much you desire to finally be just that, a real adult, even though you have had to act like one for years now. However, this year your life is going to change completely. In a few short months you are going to believe that you just had your first period. You are going to be so very excited, but then you are going to go to the Gynecologist for the first time and find out how wrong you were.

That first exam is going to be a complete nightmare. I am so sorry for than pain and fear that you are going to endure. The doctor is going to tell you after her exam that she believes your hymen is very thick and there might be blood that is unable to exit your body so she will ask you to come in the next day for an ultrasound. After the ultrasound the doctor will call you into her office and solemnly explain to you that you have no uterus. She will say that she believes you have a disorder called MRKH Syndrome and will give you the name of a specialist to start visits with. You are going to have to undergo an abundance of tests and have so many appointments with countless doctors and nurses, but your diagnosis will be confirmed as MRKH.

At first this diagnosis doesn’t seem like too much of a big deal. You are already in a relationship so you do not have to worry about finding a boyfriend who will understand. You will be devastated that you can no longer carry your own child, but over time you actually decide that you do not want children. As time goes on life is going to become tumultuous. You break things off with your boyfriend (which needed to happen by the way), and you start to live your life. Unfortunately your mental health is not in the greatest spot. You are having trouble at home with your dad, and you are still yearning to connect with your mom. You have a hole inside of you and you just want someone to care about you; someone to fill that void. Sadly, that leads you down a very dark and scary path. You begin to abuse your prescription anxiety medication and party almost every night. Not only do you want to fill that gaping void, but you want to forget. You want to feel nothing at all. Become numb.

You feel like less than a woman. You cannot carry your own children, but you also keep failing when it comes to dilation, so there’s no hope at a normal sex life. You don’t want to let anyone too close, because then you need to open yourself up to rejection or worse, abandonment. So you keep trying to numb yourself, until it almost becomes too late. You take too many pills one night; don’t worry it wasn’t enough to overdose, but you came extremely close. Your dad is your wake up call. The sound of anguish in his voice as he checks on you breaks your heart and you realize that you don’t want to leave this world and you want to fight.

This is all a lot to take in, I understand, but I want you to know I am here for you, and you do have a ton of people who love you. All of the things that I have just written about are terrifying, I get it, but every situation helps to mold you into who you become. Now you are 27 years old. You grow into a strong, independent, compassionate woman. You learn that your body is yours and you should love every inch of it despite the flaws. You realize that the void you had for years can only be filled by the love you have for yourself. You have a procedure at 25 that is going to change your life. You will have to work a lot harder than most girls who have it, but you will finally be able to have that normal sex life you always wanted. You become accepting of your MRKH diagnosis and decide to help other woman. You want to educate people about it, and share your story. You actually start writing a book about your life that will also talk a lot about MRKH and how it has affected you. I know how crazy you are going to think that sounds, since you despise English class and writing, but it’s true. You become a fur momma to 3 beautiful fur babies. You fall head over heels for an amazing man, who is sometimes so much like your dad it freaks you out. Together you two buy a beautiful home. Your life flourishes into more than you could imagine for yourself.

Just remember to believe in yourself, love yourself, and trust yourself. Life gets hard, but it definitely gets better. I am proof.

Love always,  

Your future self

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Quick Hello and Friendly Reminders from BYMRKH Co-founder, Christina Ruth Martin

Hi Everyone 😊

I hope everyone is hanging in there, staying well and sane through these uncertain times. I recently had two experiences that I want to share with all of you.

I’ve had some strange medical things going on since mid-June that have taken me to many doctor appointments, a visit to the ER, specialist appointments and a CT scan. The issue originally started in my pelvic area and then grew into my abdomen. If you are like me, you will do just about anything not to go to the doctor about an issue around the pelvic area. I want to stress that I am totally fine! But this experience reminded me of two important things that I want to share with you, my fellow Warriors.

1) Check in with yourself – And check in often.

Driving alone to my CT scan I began to feel nauseous and nervous. It took me back to when I was 17. Lying in a confined machine to get an MRI to locate my absent uterus and clues as to why my menstruation had not started. I knew something was off, but we did not have the diagnosis at that point. I just laid there cold and alone. Between the loud sounds of the machine, the MRI tech would stop and talk to me through the intercom system to make sure I was okay. After checking in, she would then go back to starting the machine and let it go for a few more minutes before checking in again. The process went on and on. At one point after she checked in on me, she must have forgot she was on speaker as she loudly exclaimed, “ I can’t find it” over the intercom. I was in the MRI longer than expected and hearing her say that she unable to locate my uterus was unsettling. A few weeks later I would be diagnosed with MRKH. I will forever remember that MRI appointment and those four words I was not supposed to hear.

Fast forward to 2020. I was getting a CT scan this time and not an MRI, but the feeling was the same. I could not get that memory out of my head as my body rolled into the CT scan. It was almost like I was dealing with my diagnosis all over again and it shook me.

This appointment provided me with an important reminder, that we all need to check in with ourselves. No matter where you are on your MRKH journey or how steady you may feel. MRKH can rattle you when you least expect it. So be kind to yourself. Remember how magnificent and special you truly are. And don’t forget all of the battles you have won since then.

So please. Check in with yourself. And check in often.

2) Be your biggest advocate. No one will advocate for you like you will.

When I checked in at the front desk for my CT scan, the women looked at my orders from the doctor and said, “that’s not right.” She then explained to me that the doctor must have wrote the orders wrong and called my doctor’s office to get permission to change it. My physician who sent in those orders is knowledgeable of my MRKH. She sent the requests in a specific way for a reason. I was confident what the doctor sent in was correct. The front desk attendant explained she received permission from the nurse’s aide to change it. I said nicely but firmly, “the nurse’s aide isn’t familiar with what has been going on for months and doesn’t have knowledge of my condition. I would feel more comfortable if you spoke directly to my doctor.” While I believe the front desk attendant was doing what she believed was right – I know my condition and the complexities that come with it. There is a reason the doctor sent the direct orders that she did. I was told I can speak to the imaging aide about it and I was shooed off. While I was waiting I texted my brilliant business partner, trusted confidant and dearest friend, Amy. She was up to date as to what was going on and why I was getting a scan. She said to fight the new order or I would have to come back and get the scan done again. Her response confirmed my initial feeling. I knew I was going to have to advocate for myself and explain that the original orders sent from my physician were correct. I had a friendly debate with the radiologist. I was not backing down. After explaining my concerns, she gave in and did the original imaging that was requested from my doctor.

I felt victorious! It was a small win, but still a win. It’s an important reminder that no one will advocate for yourself like you will. You know your body and the uniqueness of your body better than most people. You need to be your biggest advocate in life and for your health. Don’t be afraid to speak up and advocate for yourself when something doesn’t seem right! Your future self will thank you for it.

I truly hope all of you are happy and well! Sending you virtual hugs from Maryland. May you continue to stay sane, find joy in the small wins, check in with yourself as often as you check in on others and always advocate for yourself. You deserve it (and so much more). 💛

XO

Christina

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