So MRKH is a lifelong diagnosis, which comes with an assortment of challenges. I feel these challenges are increased further, by coming from an Asian Muslim background.
Firstly, you really face identity crises. You’re always taught from an Islamic perspective you are ‘complete’ as a women and accountable for your actions, once your periods begin.
So this left me feeling, am I complete as a woman?Where do I fit in?
I later explored the identity topic, in a MRKH group therapy session with the psychologist and a few MRKH sisters. I then realized I hold many identities and not having periods or lacking female reproductive organs, does not make me any less of a women. Allah even mentions in the Quran he makes barren, who he wills (Surah Ash-Shura: Ayyah 50). So to me this verse in the Quran highlights I’m beautiful, complete and perfect as a woman, just the way Allah has created me.
Initially, I felt MRKH formed my identity massively but now I realise this is not the case and MRKH is just a part of me. Not only am I a women with MRKH but I’m a daughter, sister, aunty, teacher, niece and a lot more. I have many lovely roles, which form my identity.
Another obstacle I face is when it comes to finding a partner to marry.
Having your own biological children is a massive deal in the Asian Muslim community and having MRKH can make me feel like my value is less because of not being able to have the ability to carry my own child.
Parents have introduced me to infertile or divorced men with children, from their first marriage. At times I’ve felt frustrated by this and think to myself, is this my only option. Why should this be my only option?
Thirdly, IVF surrogacy is not permitted Islamically and this is tough. People often tell me, ‘oh you can adopt’ and yes I’d love to adopt. I have a lot of love to give and I’d love to give a child a loving home. However, I’d also love to have a biological child and often wonder what a mini me would look like!
Fourthly, the biggest issue we Muslim Asian women face is the stigma, shame and taboo around topics regarding sexuality. This is not a topic commonly discussed so openly. Initially, even my own mother told me not to tell anyone. This made me feel like MRKH is something to be embarrassed and ashamed about. Even my Indian GP DR advised to my mum don’t tell anyone and just get her married! However, now I realise Allah has created us all beautifully and perfectly, Alhumdulilah! There’s no normal and we are all different in different ways and that’s what makes us unique beautiful individuals.
I went to a small girls only Islamic school and it was so obvious and noticeable that I had not got my period, especially because when your on your period you don’t pray the congregational prayers. This made me feel so out of place, weird and incomplete. I felt I was really missing out on what should have been my given right as a women. We really need to add MRKH and variations of sexual development, in the GCSE Biology curriculum, so no one with MRKH feels alienated, weird and incomplete because we are not! I actually had to self educate myself about the reproductive system and periods. My school and family felt so shy about the topic and therefore only gave me limited and incomplete information. I taught myself about periods and the reproductive system. By searching online since my school had actually stapled the reproductive system textbook pages together, since they contained naked bodies. So you can imagine how I felt about the reproductive topic anyways and then to be diagnosed with MRKH, really was a shock to the system! The diagnoses really forced a 14 year old to grow up a lot quicker than I should have and that was super tough!
Now, I am really overjoyed to see there’s a few amazing Muslim advocates who are speaking up about sexuality and the female reproductive system, on various social media platforms. It’s also my passion to get rid of shame and stigma, so hence why I took the step to go public about MRKH in September 2020. I even did an Instagram live about MRKH for herstory.inspires. It was a big step for me, especially coming from a Muslim Asian background but I’m glad I did it! Many sisters, especially Muslim sisters have been reaching out to me. I’m so happy to know I’m making a difference to my special MRKH sisters.
Remember obstacles can stand for:
I hope you enjoyed reading my insights on what it’s like to have MRKH as a Muslim Asian women.
I’d just like to end by saying thank you very much for taking time out, to read this.
Lots of love and virtual hugs to my worldwide sisterhood!