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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