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

Lizzie Roberts

Hello Let me introduce myself…. I’m you 27 yrs from now! ……( 44 yrs old ) I know the pain, heartache, and devastation you are going through right now…. your world has totally collapsed!

Please let me help you understand and support you in the journey I have had and how it will help you overcome the challenges and struggles I have had to conquer.

But before I start…… remember that you are always loved, supported, and above else you are BEAUTIFUL!!!! ❤️🥰❤️

Always be kind to yourself, take time out for self care, be with and do what makes you feel happy loved and valued.

Don’t be too hard on yourself, just take one day at a time….. breathe … just take one step at a time, breathe . Allow yourself to grieve, cry, shout, scream, but above all know that the pain and suffering will pass!…… it won’t last forever, and when you get through the other side you will be stronger than u ever imagined!!! 🥰❤️🥰

Self help strategies I’ve learnt have been a very powerful tool for me and these have included a playlist of my favourite up lifting songs…….. “ This is me “, “ My fight song” , and “ Warrior “ to name a few!

You will find Yoga and meditation which have helped with my positive state of mind endlessly will be a blessing for u!! ❤️🥰❤️

You will find having a positive/ gratitude journal very helpful …. My positive journal is full of positive quotes that I can look at and reflect upon…. these have become a big part of my healing process especially! 🥰❤️🥰

When the initial shock has sank in…… you will find therapy very rewarding! Trust me!

At first you won’t want to, but please let me reassure you, it was the best thing I ever did!! You will revisit it a few more times in your adult life, but this is a positive break through! Recognising you need to seek professional guidance is not a weakness but a strength!!!! It will make you turn into the person I am today!!!! ❤️🥰❤️

Life will be tough, I won’t lie….. but with your family by your side and having a few special friends that u will confide in at the beginning is only the beginning of your journey!!

You will always have your determination and persistence to succeed! This my younger self is your strength and your drive in life to move forwards in a positive way!

I don’t want to spoil things too much for your future…… but I will reassure u that you do meet MR RIGHT and he is your soul mate, your Rock, and what keeps you grounded!!!! ❤️🥰❤️

Life will get bumpy at times, but where there are dark times .. there are moments where life will just take your breath away!!! ❤️🥰❤️

You will finally meet and find a safe place where you are not alone and find a community of a fabulous sisterhood! ❤️🥰❤️ some of them will be your closest dearest friends and whom you have a long life friendship with! ❤️🥰❤️

One last thing before I go…….. You are 1 in 5,000 and you will learn that “ He who laughs lasts, laughs loudest!!!”

You will take a roller coaster of a journey!….. but it’s worth it!!!!!

You will realise one day in the future…… that being a MRKH Warrior is the person I’d rather be!

I’m 1 in 5,000 and proud!!!! God bless!! ❤️🥰❤️

God bless

(Can you guess where I am? You will love this Experience!……. I’ll say no more! ❤️🥰❤️)

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

Charlie Bishop

Dear Little Charlie


Right now things are scary.  It all seems a little surreal. Everything that you thought was possible in the future suddenly is thrown into doubt.  You don’t know what to do with yourself or how you should feel.  Just know that this is totally natural.  

You are now thinking about what this means and you aren’t really ready for it.   There is so much going on and so many questions you have and it all seems too much.  It is hard to believe you are only 17.  This feels like something an adult has to deal with.  You just thought you were a late bloomer and that it would just happen later.  

It is ok that they didn’t.

I know it feels embarrassing speaking to your friends about it or trying to be part of conversations on periods and not really knowing what to say. You will grow to learn that it is not just those with MRKH that don’t have periods and whilst people you tell may latch onto the fact you don’t have periods as a huge positive it doesn’t take away from what you have lost. Although it is ok to be happy not to have periods too.

You have lost something you hoped to have and you need to let yourself grieve that. Maybe it sounds silly but trust me don’t just bury those feelings away. You are allowed to cry.

There comes a point in your twenties when you realise things aren’t quite right but you don’t know how to deal with it and you bury it.  There are times you have been scared to talk about it or admit you need help. 

Don’t be scared.  Don’t hide it and absolutely don’t be ashamed to ask for help.  

I know you get there in the end but don’t forget when you get there you need to be open, the only way you can get help is to be open about how you are feeling and let them help you find ways to move towards acceptance. Recognizing your own mental health is not something to embarrassed by.  Be strong and know that the important thing is doing something that is helping you. Who cares what anyone else thinks?

Always look for love. Love in your friendships, love in yourrelationships and love for and from your family. You have a habit to wear your heart on your sleeve and get hurt easily. Don’t flit. Take your time and make sure you are making a right choice for you. Don’t feel bullied into a decision, any decision. Also remember to communicate and share your feelings, you are all too good and hiding them, and that isn’t helpful to any relationship.

You will find support almost accidentally in not too long from now but know there are so many more people out there andyou will find them.  There are support groups out there too.  As soon as you meet just one other person you will instantly know you are not alone.  

The future is scary but the more you worry about that the less you live in the now, the life you are in right now. Baby steps little Charlie. Take your time. Life is not the race you think it is, you can always be the tortoise.

But know…and I mean really listen here…your future is so bright. You have so much to look forward to regardless. Carrying your own child doesn’t define you as a woman or mean you won’t ever be happy. You can still have children. Don’t think you can’t.

Ok its not going to be the way you planned and if you choose not to then this is ok too.  Yes it’s annoying when people constantly ask when you will have children and it’s not right.  Believe me I am trying to change that along with so many others going through the same and indeed other situations that make carrying a child difficult or impossible. 

It will feel weird but it will become natural to say words like vagina, dilators, sex in public company when they always felt a bit weird and almost ‘dirty’ to say. Honestly there is so much out there that you won’t believe, you are just going to have to see it for yourself and know that your voice, however loud, has a place.

My last advice to you is. Live. Love. Dream.  Cry when you need to and don’t hide it.  There will still be good and bad days even though, and hard to believe right now, you get to a really good place with how you feel about MRKH.  This is totally fine and natural.  You are only human after all.  

Just know that dreams can come true even if those dreams get a little misshapen and topsy turvy along the way, they are just growing with you.

All my love 

Big Charlie xx

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

Lindsey McFarland

Sweet sweet girl, as if being 15 wasn’t hard enough, your whole world is about to be turned upside down. The second you walk into the hospital, you’re going to thrown into the middle of an emotional hurricane, but the important thing to know is that it doesn’t drown you.

Sure, you may struggle to keep your head above water as you tread through anger, confusion, and despair, but it will make you so much stronger. You will question so many things about yourself and you will struggle to come to terms with how your beautiful (yes, beautiful) body was created. Just because you were born different, doesn’t make you less than. This difference will make you take a good look inside yourself to find out exactly who you were meant to be.

You will make so many mistakes, and yes kiss too many frogs, but please please remember how worthy you are to be loved by others, but more importantly to love yourself. It may take you awhile to truly accept that, but keep that reminder there in your heart.

And beautiful girl, when the times are hard and you want to scream and cry, do it. But at the end, remember….you are a WARRIOR!

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

Erinn Webb, MA, RDT

I am a trauma therapist and I have MRKH. I am aware that Ihave many privileges, which have allowed me to be safe enough to express my sexuality and get access to the support I needed, such as being able to afford therapy. In your story that might not be true. I know there are folks for whom naming that they have MRKH is a risk. Today I am addressing my younger self.

Dear little Erinn,

I know you’ve been very confused about sex and how to navigate it without a vaginal canal. Being 18 was hard. I’m glad that you were with someone who was loving to help you through it when you found out. I also know it hurt when he later told you about someone else he started dating, and what their sex life was like.

You’re in one of the most hormonal stages of your life. I get it. Trying to focus on homework isn’t easy when you have sex on your brain. But masturbating is the best way to figure out what you like and want, and there’s nothing bad about it. Also, those sex toys you’ve got in your drawer – get better ones that make more sense. – Latex? No thank you. – Silicone? Yes.

First let me redefine sex for you. You’re already starting to realize that sex is not a single action. Penis. Vagina. Please. Though this is what the collective has decided is “it” I assure you it is not. Don’t be fooled by pop-culture or your peers. They wouldn’t be asking you if you were a virgin if they knew what I know.

Orgasms. Sensations. Pleasure. And wow, your clitoris. The fact that this has been neglected in standard conversation about female sexuality is mind-boggling. Don’t even get me started on the way male-bodied hetero-normative people have been telling the story for too long. You don’t owe anyone anything. Believe me when I say, there are lots of ways for penis people to enjoy sex that don’t require that hallway to be open.

Sexuality is about desire, and desire can be fluid, just like gender can be fluid, in other words your feeling about it can change. Surprise! Finding yourself in the word queer is arevelation. Let’s talk about anal sex, and how getting over your hang-up about hygiene will give you permission to have some outrageously satisfying experiences. You have so much fun, you decide you don’t even need a vagina. The icing on the cake is that one day you do make one, while having a good time, rather than as something you felt you had to do. It turns out that having a consistent partner to play with does wonders.

But this letter is not just about the good times. There will be times you put yourself out there, and get some painfully memorable responses. Sometimes you will put yourself in risky situations, just to soothe your loneliness and cut through that feeling of floating. Like times you have sex with people whose names you won’t remember. You will corner yourself intofinding words to describe your body, and the differently bodied experience you are having. You will fumble sometimes.

You’ll wish you had been safer, and used protection, and been clearer about your boundaries. But I’m pretty sure consent is confusing for everyone. It is based on an agreement you make with yourself – and when you don’t know who you are, or what you want, – and are disconnected from how you feel, it is hard to see the line. You’re not the only one whose job it is to see it. 

I want you to know some of these encounters are not just about sex, but about being seen when you are feeling invisible. I know you feel like no one sees you sometimes, and nobody else can understand.

Dear Erinn, you deserve to be loved. And to be here. And to enjoy your life. I hope those are things you never forget. There’s so much more. Love, your grown-up self.

Click below to watch the video that was Screened at the Global Goes Digital MRKH Event on June 20th, 2020.


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

Elyce Frydman

Dearest teen Elyce,

It seems odd to write to my younger self but who else can advise you about life better then me. At sixteen years old this thing happened and you felt like your world crumbled. You got this diagnosis called MRKH and so many thoughts ran through your head. You sat in disbelief in the doctors office and then sat many a nights crying by yourself when no one else was looking. You were full of fear…anger…sadness… loneliness…. Your whole being was engulfed in despair and you closed yourself off to so much of your world and built up this huge wall to try to protect yourself. If I could talk to that girl… talk to you…I would tell you so many things that would leave you feeling hope, peace, love, joy happiness and pride of what you truly are and what the world really had to offer you.

The first and most important is that you are not alone. You don’t have to go through the ups and downs of life feeling that no one will understand you. Your family has always and will continue throughout your life to support you and your choices. They will love you no matter what and you don’t have to fear that you will disappoint them because you never could. Their love has always been and will always be unconditional. But it isn’t only their love and support you will feel. You will also have many friends throughout your life that will touch you in some way and you will learn things from each of them. You will find a solid foundation of trustworthy kind people that you will be able to call life long friends. There will be people that you will open up to. Some of them may not have the same experiences as you, they will be there for you during your triumphs and failures….they will be your biggest cheerleaders and the largest shoulders to cry on. And even though you have feared opening up about your MRKH with any of these friends or family right now, there will be a time that you do not shy away or try to avoid women like you. You will embrace them as sisters and cry and laugh and support them in ways you never though was possible. I wish I could tell you to embrace that love at this early age instead of avoiding and fearing it just because you don’t want to recognize that this has happened to you. Just like love and beauty and kindness is part of life, so is pain and fear. Sharing these feelings with trusted friends is so much better then holding all of it in and dealing with it all on your own.

Don’t shy away from the resources presented to you. In fact search them out. Through this search for knowledge, particularly about MRKH you will find this community that you will embrace. You will find sisters, women who support each other and who you will support. You will have women that encourage you and that you too will encourage. With these courageous women you will find your own power. You have it in you. You just need to believe in yourself. Just see what others see in you because you are strong, you are loved and you are beautiful! Forgive yourself and know that you are not perfect but no one is and its ok to make mistakes. You will try things like dilation …. A lot….you will start and stop and start and stop again and you will realize that it isn’t for you. Sometimes you will feel like a failure because of it but you will also understand that all of it is your choice. You have a right to make those choices cause its your body and your mind and your needs and not anyone else’s, and that’s ok. I wish you knew that it was ok to take care of yourself first, emotionally and physically. That is a lesson that you will continually learn and work through throughout your life and that that’s ok too. Don’t hold onto things that you can not control or do anything about. You can’t change that you were born with MRKH but you can learn from it and embrace that yes it is a part of you. But there is also so much more that makes up you. In fact, there are a million things that make you who you are. Know that its ok to love each and every one of those pieces.

Know that you are deserving of love. That MRKH does not define this worthiness. Know that you will succeed at it and fail at it. You will cycle through it again. Even though you may have relationships that come and go, it does not mean that you failed them because of MRKH. Relationships aren’t just encompassed by MRKH but by so many more factors. Don’t let anyone give you the sense that it is the reason for a failed relationship. That person only presents the most obvious reason why you shouldn’t be with them in the first place. The person that loves you, loves everything about you. They accept the person that you are – the good, the bad, the ugly and everything in between. I know you think right now that for someone to love you is an impossibility because you can’t give someone children. That you can’t be that wife or mother in what you deem as society’s idealized family. This isn’t the truth. Families come in many forms and you will build the family that is right for you. You will be a wife and you will be a mother. First to a plethora of animals and then to two beautiful children that you foster adopted. It wont matter to you that they didn’t come from your own womb. You will realize that being a parent isn’t about biology but about what is in your heart and soul. You will love your daughter and son with all that is in you. When they look at you they will not care about blood but will care about your kindness and your love, the values and faith that you teach them and the fact that your love will forever embrace them.

The hardest fight you will have in life will be with yourself…. With your own demons and you must realize you are your own worst enemy. You must fight that little voice that says you are ugly, or not worthy or not enough. Because in reality people don’t see you that way. They see you as courageous and strong, beautiful and kind, intelligent and open hearted. So if they can see you that way. See it in yourself. Life speeds by in a blink of an eye so don’t hold on to self hate. Finally just believe. Believe that the impossible is truly possible because it is!

Love your older and much wiser self!


Elyce the elder

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

Badia Atcherson

Dear Badia,

Who am I?

This is your 45-year-old self-writing you. I am writing you to encourage you. This time will pass. The words” you are not able to have your own children”, are words that will forever stay in our memory. The feeling of being incomplete will dance in your mind, crushing your heart every time you think about it.

Badia, you have purpose. You are purpose. Your purpose is to live and share the strength God gives you. You are strong! You are resilient! You are passionate. You are compassionate about the people and things that come your way. You are creative. You find creative ways to help others recognize their strengths. Your desire to nurture shows in ways most would ask “how did she come up with that”, or they will say how thoughtful you are. All these things make you special. Your special attributes are part of the process. The process to get you to a place of peace and understanding.

If I tell you that the process to understanding MRKH is easy, I am telling a story. To fully understand MRKH you must accept it. Once you accept it, you learn to walk out your truth. A truth that you continue to live throughout your time on earth. There are days I feel confused and angry. I feel shame.

The tears you shed, wanting to be “normal”, will eventually be replaced with tears of joy. You learn that you are special to God, your family, and friends. You learn that your uniqueness is the very thing that allows your light to shine. Yes, you are light, your light shines in ways that causes people to look and wonder who you are. They wonder what is it about you that makes you different?

You are purpose. Your purpose is to be a sounding board. A ray of hope. An encouragement for the women you will eventually meet. You are not alone. There are lots of us. We are not onlyBlack/African American women, we are women in Europe, Asia and Africa. Our MRKH Sisters are around the world, and most of us share the same feelings and thoughts.

The more you learn about MRKH, the more you understand yourself. The nights wondering if a miracle will happen, bringing you the baby you always needed and wanted. The answer is no. The baby does not come. However. You learn that life moves on. Life moves on teaching you more about what it means to love yourself. You learn to love you. You do not always hide your gift (MRKH), you will learn to embrace your down moments.

The thoughts of never finding real love will no longer burden you. You love. You receive love in ways that will blow yourmind. You learn to teach people how to love you, how you desire to be loved. You learn how to share your heart with others, allowing them to see the scars that you find too shameful to share. Your life goes on.

Life continues to happen. Babies are born. Oh, and they come in twos. So, brace yourself. It is exceedingly difficult to fathom at times. Your tolerance level is challenged. Our loving siblings just keep having babies, repeatedly making you “auntie”. The tears do not lessen, they are seen and heard. You receive the love and concern you yearn for.

However, to receive the love and concern, you have to stop pretending you are strong and/or busy. Share your pain. Once you share your pain, you illuminate even brighter. Your light is seen, and your desire to nurture is shown. Our loving siblings will proudly share their children, allowing you the opportunity to experience motherhood in a different way. You are an awesome Godmother, which is fun and fulfilling.

It may seem difficult to find a good relationship. At times, you are uneasy, unable to share your inner most secret with just any man. Having conversations about our gift are difficult. Remember what we have is a gift. Most men do not deserve our company. So, when you find yourself in that one relationship (you know who he is when you meet him) where you feel safe, share our gift with him. He may not be the one you marry, but He will be kind and understanding. He will give you a loving experience. You will never forget him. Do not settle. Your uniqueness causes you to feel like you must settle and deal with anything a man sends you. Trust me, we are too good for the mess that may come our way. There are heartbreaks and moments that make you feel as if you are not good enough…. Those times will pass. Just keep pushing through.

You are no longer haunted by our dreams and memories of the surgery. Our scar becomes a badge of courage and beauty. You begin to understand that our scar mimics the scar that Jesus has on his hands. His scar reminds us that he did it all for purpose. That purpose being us. You understand our scar and look at itsstrength. It gives you peace and drive. You are driven to speak your truth. The more you speak, the more courage is added to your heart tank. You love yourself more. You accept you. You live and often speak the words “I am ME and I am enough.”

I am Badia Atcherson, and I was born without a vagina! Yep, say it just like that, and watch the responses. Educate them. The spotlight is on you, causing your inner light to illuminate even brighter.

Your purpose is clearer and clearer every time you speak it. Your purpose is being a voice for the women who are not able to speak of the gift, that is MRKH…. 

I Love You,


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

Dr. Susan Carroll

Kicking off the “What I would Tell my 17 Year Old Self” writing series with Dr. Susan Carroll. Susan wrote a terrific blog post to her younger self in 2019. I remember reading it and soaking up every single word. Susan has turned lemons into lemonade with her MRKH diagnosis, as she just completed her thesis on psychological adjustment on MRKH. Susan is an inspiration to us all and she is the perfect person to launch this series!

Click below to read her letter to her 17 year old self.


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New Writing Series Announcement

✨ATTN: MRKH Community!✨

We all know that being a teenager is HARD! Getting an MRKH diagnosis during this vulnerable time in your life can rock you to your core. Receiving this diagnosis as a young adult can bring feelings of self-doubt, uncertainty, confusion, isolation, denial, self-worth, etc., We are not mature enough to understand all the challenges that come with this life changing diagnosis. Over the years, I’ve learned many life lessons and pieces of advice that I wish I could have shared with my younger self. If I had the knowledge and wisdom that I have now, at age 17, it would have given me the confidence, reassurance and empowerment that I desperately needed at a younger age to know that I would be okay.

With that, I am pleased to announce a new writing series I have been working on for months called, “What I Would Tell My 17 Year Old Self (MRKH Edition)”.

My hope for this series is to bring hope for those newly diagnosed and to be therapeutic for experienced MRKHers to show just how far they have come. I will be sharing two write-ups a week, for as long as I receive submissions. I welcome and encourage everyone who wants to participate, to submit their write-up to me and I will gladly publish it on the Beautiful You MRKH Foundation blog.

I will be launching this tomorrow. 🌟I am so excited!⭐️ I cannot wait to share with all of you a side project I have envisioned for over a year that has finally come to fruition. I truly hope our collective words will not only empower MRKHers, but will also provide hope to care providers, family members, significant others and friends to see – it does get better. This series is for all of us.

I hope you will enjoy it as much as I do.

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“The Missing Vagina Monologue and Beyond”

I am thrilled to highlight and re-share this published work by my personal hero and the person who pioneered the MRKH community, Esther Leidolf. Reading Esther’s published work, “The Missing Vagina Monologue and Beyond” transformed my life and I encourage everyone to stop what they are doing and read it. I vividly remember reading this for the first time over 10 years ago sitting alone in my small apartment and soaking up every single word. Esther got it. Esther wasn’t afraid to say what many of us have felt and experienced, but may not be comfortable verbalizing. I printed out copies and gave them to my friends (males included) to give them a snapshot of the challenges I and others have faced due to MRKH. This article gave me the courage and the passion to say this condition can no longer stay in the dark and we need to start connecting and chip away at the shame and isolation. Esther’s work also started the conversation about the necessity of improved care, taking our own bodies back and reducing the stigma and shame associated to MRKH.

Below is an except from “The Missing Vagina Monologue and Beyond.” Click below to read this fantastic and insightful published article.

“Questions have haunted me for too many years because I couldn’t find the words. Knowing other MRKH women has finally allowed me a voice. But I don’t want it to stop there. My condition seems extreme only because it’s unheard of. Many of the women I surveyed want MRKH to become more public. The hope of opening the door to our secret lives in most of us. We exist in a conundrum because our knowledge is powerful but hidden in embarrassment and shame. The approach to our treatment is very extreme but effects all women in subtler ways. Advances in medicine offer men Viagra, but women still get the knife. Scar tissue does not enhance sexual pleasure.”

The Missing Vagina Monologue and Beyond

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➢ My name is Julian Peter a Kenyan and at the age of 17 I visited the doctor for a checkup since I had aching feet and so the normal questions during consultation started. When was your last period? And my answer was I haven’t seen my periods, and that was the beginning of a long journey to living with this ghost for life. I remember the doctor saying that they need to do a check up on my vagina to see if I was ok, and so they did a physical checkup only to find out that I didn’t have the vagina. The doctor then recommended that I go for a scan to see if my reproductive system was formed.

➢ My first scan showed that my reproductive system was formed and that my vagina was closed from the outside and so I went for a minor surgery to open the vaginal canal. I went to theatre and had surgery and after three days I went for another scan which revealed that there was no vaginal opening, uterus, cervix and I had one kidney. In disbelief the doctor ordered for another scan that confirmed the second scan’s results. But the doctor still recommended I do an MRI and this confirmed that I had MRKH.

➢ After my diagnosis the doctor said there is nothing that can be done and I was in shock and disbelief, I cried for few days but the again life had to continue and so I went back to school and continued with my education. I still hoped it was just but a dream and it will soon dawn that I was a normal lady and so I kept hope alive.

➢ After my high school education I had to do my research to be able to understand what I really had since the doctor said I had murelian agenesis and that’s when I found the name MRKH and started learning about my condition and acceptance journey started. During this time I thought I was all alone in the unfair world but fortunately 4 years later I saw Joaneva {a Kenyan lady with MRKH} talking about the condition and I knew I wasn’t alone and so I searched for her and I was connected to many other ladies with MRKH. It was really amazing meeting my sisters.

➢ When I met my MRKH sisters I was able to share without any judgments from them since they understood me and what I was going through. They shared their love, and years later I was able to undergo constructive surgery to create a vaginal canal which I had prepared for both physically and emotionally since it’s a process and can be emotionally draining.

➢ Having MRKH has taught me to appreciate the smallest of things in life and I have been able to accept that I will never carry my own baby. Family may never understand how it feels to have MRKH but my mum can only understand how it feels to have a daughter with MRKH. Some extended family members and friends feel that am shaming them by going public and the feel that I should stop talking about it but it’s all my decision to make people understand there is such a condition and we shouldn’t be treated differently. We should have access to medical care without feeling humiliate about having MRKH. We shouldn’t feel less of women just because we can’t have kids. We need to feel good enough about ourselves; we need to be happy without anything getting in the way.

➢ People will always feel that you aren’t good enough, you are not worth it but the right people will come your way at the right time. Suitors will leave but the right one will surely come. We only live once enjoy it when you can because you only have yourself to make you happy don’t just give up, rest if you must but just don’t give up.

MRKH, the ghost of my life

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