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