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

  1. jjmadventure says:

    Yesss!!! This girl is on fireeee

  2. SUNDRA CHEPKEMOI says:

    Wow….I like the piece.Its so encouraging I am going through a hard time too for accepting myself.But having read your story who am I to deny myself?I love Me I love MRKHers♥️♥️.
    Thank you Janay.

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