If it was not for that devastating moment when the doctor looked into my eyes and said, “We cannot find a uterus” I may not have been able to discover the true strength within myself. At the time, my dreams were shattered. I felt as if my whole life had permanently crushed to the ground instantly. Countless nights were spent crying into my family, boyfriend, and friend’s arms; not only did they see the pain I was going through, but felt it as well. My family was willing to give me my space to cope and my boyfriend and friends would reassure me that they would always be there for me to provide whatever help I needed. Yet, even with so much support surrounding me, I still felt weak and alone.
I relied on the Lord to pull me through the feelings of pain and isolation. Soon after my diagnoses, I wrote in a journal, “I truly believe that everything happens for a reason, and even though I haven’t figured out my reason yet, I am trusting the Lord that He will take care of me and make sure everything turns out exactly like it is suppose to.” Rather than hoping for a miracle that everything would go back to normal, I would pray every night to have the strength to understand and cope with MRKH. I just needed some sort of sign telling me that I am strong enough to move on with my life and stay positive, but I just wasn’t finding it.
Even though I continued to cry myself to sleep while praying, I soon started to catch on to the statements people were making and began piecing it all together. Just a few months after my diagnoses my boyfriend texted me and said “You are going through something that not a lot of girls have gone through…I look up to you because even though you are a small girl, you have the biggest heart and the strength to pull through, which just blows me away. I only wish I could be as strong as you.” When discussing MRKH with my friends, I started to notice they would also say things like, “It takes a very strong woman to be able to go through the struggles you are facing, while continuing to strive through every day activities with a smile.” One night while discussing various difficulties I’ve faced, my brother told me “the best learning points in life come when you have to struggle.” Take this as an opportunity to learn about yourself and figure out how this can make you into a stronger and better person.” After hearing all these statements, I started to realize everyone kept talking about me having such “strength.” I personally was still unable to see the strength I had that everyone was talking about, but understood that this was exactly the sign I was looking for from the Lord. Maybe everyone was right; maybe I already had this strength the whole time and just never realized it?
It wasn’t until the night about a year after my diagnosis that I finally came to understand what everyone was talking about and that the way I go about handling situations affects everyone else in my life. That night, I was texting my brother about MRKH while he was away at college, and he said, “I am just so proud of you to handle everything the way you have, it takes a special person to do what you have done. You have no clue how much of a role model you are for me. I know the older brother should be the one to set the example, but I cannot explain to you how much this has pushed me to give it my best in everything I do and not get down when the little things in life bother me. You are like that ray of light that reminds me that my pain is not even 10000th of a time the pain you felt when you found out.” All my life, I’ve looked up to my brother, wanting to be as good as him at everything. After reading that message, I broke down and finally realized that I needed to come to terms with MRKH, not only for myself but also for those important in my life.
Once I recognized that the people I have always considered to be my role model, actually seen me in the same way, I decided that I was no longer going to let MRKH define who I was as a individual, but simply embrace my uniqueness. This was my life, my body, and my family. I needed to make sure I used the strength within me to have a positive attitude and prove to others that even when you may think you have hit rock bottom, you have the capability to get back up on their feet. Life is about learning how to adjust to change. Every struggle someone conquers throughout their life is just another step toward finding and embracing the strength within themselves.
My journey with MRKH has helped develop me into a better person. Personally, I would say that MRKH is one of my best qualities because of what it has taught me about life in general. It has shown me that it is important to make sure the little things in life are not taken for granted because they can be taken from you in an instant. I have also learned to stop myself from making quick judgments on others, because even if they don’t show it on the outside, they may be struggling with similar life dilemmas. No two people are the same, and nobody is “normal,” so there is no reason to look down on others because of their unique qualities. The most important thing MRKH has taught me is that by being true to yourself and trusting those closest to you for support, almost anything is possible to get through.
MRKH has simply become a way of life for me. My “Strength” tattoo on my stomach is a constant reminder that I have found the strength within myself to tackle life’s curveballs with a positive attitude. I want to be able to share that same outlook with other women struggling through the same obstacles that I’ve had to overcome. I chose my hip/stomach area as a symbol of where I would hold a baby if I had a womb. Since I will never be able to carry my own child, the tattoo is a reminder that I was given the strength to move on and find love with a child someday, even if I can’t carry the child inside me.
My friends and family continue to express how proud they are for how strong I have been through this experience thus far. I’ve explained to them that everyone has strength within themselves to overcome any hurdles set before them. Realizing that strength is there and learning how to embrace it is the most difficult part for people. Opening up to others was the best decision I made. Without the people that were willing to be there for me during my coping process with MRKH, I would have never been able to find and embrace my true inner strength.
Amanda, You are so amazing that you’re awesomeness exudes from both your writing and the photos! I love the serene smile you have in the picture of you getting your tattoo. You seem so at peace with yourself and are such a hardcore chick all at the same time! Thanks for putting yourself and your story out there; I am proud to know such a strong person. It is extremely valuable to know that when us MRKH sisters are not feeling strong your vulnerability has given us someone strong to lean on. (Ahh! Is the “Lean On Me” song ringing in your head too now?) “…You just call on me, brother, (er, sistah) when you need a hand. We all need somebody to lean on. I just might have a problem that you’ll understand. We all need somebody to lean on…”
*your, not you’re