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

Janay Cook

Dear Janay,

You awaken from a dream and jolt to the bathroom to check your panties. You can’t shake this feeling that something is wrong with your body, but at 14 years old, how do you communicate that? 

Fast forward. Three years later you’re 17, graduating high school in six months and wondering if you will ever get pregnant. You have no idea that the next 53 days will be filled with probing doctor visits, five vaginal exams, and a diagnosis that changes the trajectory of your life forever.

You don’t have many friends yet, but within the next decade God sends you earth angels who unknowingly help guide you to your happiness and healing. Some leave your life for good, but MANY stay for a lifetime. JANAY!!!! You even go on a bomb ass girls’ trip to New Orleans that sets the tone for who you’re becoming, plus you gain a group of girlfriends for life. You do a lot of twerking and drinking. By this time, you’re grown and completely CONFIDENT. Just know I was cheering you on in spirit, sis! (Raises champagne glass.) We’ll get to that in a second…

While the dream you had at 14 about not being able to conceive comes true, you never lose your innocence and your zest for life. Throughout your twenties, men take advantage of that, but you know what? You grow stronger, wiser, and your booty gets fatter. See how God works?? 

Over the years, you discover your love for Frida Khalo, Amy Winehouse, butter pecan ice cream, and that life is so much more than birthing babies.

And then comes college. You become best friends with depression. You blame yourself for not being able to make your parents, grandparents and your husband, a father. You haven’t come to fully accept your condition, and you spend every second wondering what you did to deserve MRKH. You question God. You question yourself. You hate God. You drink yourself to sleep. You get sexually assaulted. YOU. BECOME. ANGRY.

But thankfully, there are moments that soften you. Like meeting the nerdy transfer student with the deep chocolate skin and shy spirit. Ironically, Brittany becomes your best friend and two years later she convinces you to release that victim mentality. That was such a beautiful moment ❤

By 27, you surrender to the journey. You kick your raggedy ex to the curb (you know the one I’m talking about) and for the first time, you CELEBRATE having MRKH. Crazy, right!?? You throw yourself the flyest MRKH dinner party. Brittany drives four hours from Georgia and your mom takes off work to support you. You buy balloons and a sexy, sparkly dress from this cheap boutique at the mall, but you WEAR the hell outta that thang! That night, you finally break down and explain your experiences to Brittany. She cries with you and vows to never leave your side. This is the moment your friendship evolves from college associates to best friends. She encourages you to continue accepting your condition and to stop running from yourself, and you do.

The next two years are magical. In 2017, you share your story publicly for the first time in Chicago at a conference dedicated to women’s reproductive research. For the first time you meet Amy and Christina from Beautiful You. **wipes away tears** Ya’ll have been Facebook friends for over the past seven years. Meeting them in person is overwhelmingly emotional, but it feels like meeting long-lost sisters. Your speech captivates the audience and you hear is a sea of “ummms” after every sentence. Toward the end, this sense of peace overwhelms you, letting you know that you’ve finally “accepted it.”

The following year, you start the world’s first MRKH group for black women, “Sistahs Surviving Infertility – MRKH Awareness.” Who would’ve thought that you would conquer all of THIS? You become the Jennifer Lewis of the MRKH community. LOL. Your BOLD, fiery, confident personality shines through and pulls the best out of people, and you leave every conversation with a new friend. You have this special skill of making people feel comfortable. You eventually develop this ability to make people laugh and moments later make them cry and most importantly THINK. Don’t ever think it goes unnoticed.

Now. New Orleans. Girllllll, you cut up! LOL. But on a saved, sanctified note, you connect with five beautiful black women who make you feel seen. The entire trip peels back layers of yourself that you didn’t know were hidden. Your new friends are intrigued and inspired with how much you love and admire your body. It’s another part of your journey that reminds you have of how far you’ve come.

By the age of 30, you’re still single, and that’s okay because you’re finally happy. You’re not an auntie or a mother yet, but you’re a plant mom to nine babies and you enjoy every moment of it. Not to mention, you are just months away from starting your loc journey and from quitting your job to further your dreams of helping others struggling with MRKH and infertility. 🙂

Janay… honestly, you’re THA SHIT girl and I like having you around! You are proof that strong women aren’t born, but are created by the storms they survive, and you’ve survived PLENTY. Despite everything you’ve been through, you’ve remained sweet as Mississippi tea, yet tough as concrete. I’m relieved that I didn’t bruise you too bad.

Remember this Nay: your story is yours to tell, and don’t EVER feel obligated to confess more than you’re comfortable sharing. Your transparency is one of your greatest gifts, so cherish that. Janay, the way you love is so perfect. Protect that part of you. Not everyone is equipped to love you back. With that being said, be careful who you open the door of your soul to. 

Janay, you have the sweetest soul that I have ever met, and I’m so proud of you! Trust me when I say, I’ve NEVER doubted you for one second that you wouldn’t emerge stronger and more beautiful than ever. My only advice is to continue believing in yourself. Your heart and love for people will take you far. In the meantime, give yourself permission to just be.

You’ve spent years blending in with white walls, but now you paint beautiful brush strokes in every space you enter. Remember, everything isn’t perfect, but it’s still beautiful. Don’t ever scale back from being YOU. One day you will thank yourself for not giving up.

Janay, I love you beyond the cosmos!

Sincerely,

Your future 30-year-old self 😊

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

Aysha Khawaja

Dear younger self,

I know right now you feel like a whole new different person but one day you are going to use this difference, to make a big positive difference in the world by turning to MRKH advocacy. Initially, you will feel like an outcast and so different to all your female class mates, but later you will realize how MRKH can be a blessing in disguise!

At 15 you got given a new companion called MRKH, but remember this is not a new companion and you have always had this companion from birth. The reason you didn’t know about this companion of yours is because it was playing hide and seek with you and it was in a very good hiding space! The day after your diagnoses will feel like it’s a normal school day; with everything just as it normally is but you won’t feel the same anymore. Within a span of twenty four hours, you will feel like a different person. It will be as if overnight an invisible barrier had sprung up that separated you from the other girls in your class, a barrier that you can’t break down how much ever you try. The barrier was none other than MRKH that sets you apart from the other girls and makes you feel different from them.

I want you to know you are beautiful and perfect, just the way you are. There’s no normal, we are all different in different ways and that is what makes us all unique, beautiful individuals. Lacking female organs and not having periods, does not make you any less of a women! One day you will realize that, even though now you feel so incomplete, different and broken into tiny pieces, as a woman without periods. You will feel you need to be fixed by dilation to create a vagina. However, please remember Allah (God) has made all unique but perfectly and beautifully. You don’t need to be fixed in any way! You will realize your expectations from dilation were too high. Dilation can’t make you feel complete as women that can only come from within yourself.

Please do not hold your emotions in and allow yourself to feel them, It’s ok not to be ok and allow yourself to feel grief, sadness and to seek professional help if you need. It can be really beneficial and make a world of difference, to your emotional well being. Do also remember it is ok not to always like MRKH and be ok with it! I know right now you have gone super quiet and you just want to disappear or for people not to notice you, but soon you will find your voice again! You will be able to speak up and find your confidence, especially during the world pandemic you will really flourish and bloom and even present webinars for children on a large scale!

Do reach out and connect with others like yourself, as it will make the world of difference to you and to the other MRKH sisters too. Actually, you will find building MRKH friendships and having social gathering with your special sisterhood, to be the best form of therapy you could ever get! You are going to gain so much courage and strength and even turn to MRKH advocacy and gain friendship globally, from something which once crushed your world and turned it upside down and made you go on an emotional rollercoaster ride. Right now, it feels like you are riding more on the rollercoaster loops, going around and round with no going forward, but soon you be riding more on the highs than being stuck in the loop!

You will find love and you can still be a mum, if that is that you want to do! There are so many children out there who need a loving home and you have so much love to give to children. Becoming an aunt to your sister’s children, your friend’s children and your neighbourhood children will help you fill some void of not becoming a mother yourself. You will even be called mum by your nephews and niece! You will even have a nephew who resembles you! I want you to know that you can lead a very happy and successful life with or without children of your own and you don’t need a man or child to complete your life.

You will find your true deeper purpose in life as an educator, teacher and prison play worker. You will make a difference to so many more children’s live in such a beautiful positive way, that you would never have imagined. You will host webinars for children on a massive sale and touch the lives of many children this way.

It will make your faith in Allah (God) stronger and your beautiful faith will give you the strength to carry on, when you feel like you can’t anymore. It is true like the ayah in the Quran says: after hardship is ease and Allah (God) does not lay a burden greater than one can bear. It is true that MRKH will make you the strongest lady ever. You will even use that strength to work on a very unique diy project of creating your own vagina and then turn to helping your special sisterhood navigate through this difficult life journey too. Do remember you have to keep dilating or have intercourse; to keep it up and it will not remain open, just on its own. Please don’t pressure yourself to dilate, it can be done at anytime you want or you don’t even have to do it and know that some choose not to dilate and dilate naturally, through intercourse. It takes a lot of mental, physical strength, patience and determination, to be successful at dilating

You will start an amazing legacy and inspire the Boston annual support group! You will also start support groups to help Arab and Asian sisters and be an amazing connecter and connect so many MRKH sisters to one another, on a global level! You will even develop sisterhood and friendship on a global level and become so close that you even exchange cards and parcels to each other!

I want you to remember there’s a light at the end of the tunnel and you will see the light one day! Actually you will be that light to shine the path, for many of your fellow MRKH sisters.

I can be changed by what happens to me, but I refuse to be reduced by it (May Angelou). You certainly will not let MRKH reduce you! Do always cling on to hope! Hope can stand for:

Hang

On

Pain

Ends

Well the pain doesn’t end completely, but it will be much lesser in the future and you will learn to navigate and drive this life journey of yours much more smoothly!

Stay strong, stay smiling! Sending you lots of love, prayers and hugs! You’ve got this girl!

Aysha

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