I always felt pretty lucky that by the age of 16, I had yet to get my period, even though I was a D-cup by 14 and had pubes since I was 8. And to be honest I never really questioned it, I was just lovin' life and never really worried about eventually having blood leaking out of my vagina.
By sixteen though it was a bit odd that I didn t get my period yet when I was clearly producing hormones. So I went with my mom and sister to my first internal and let me tell you, when a gynaecologist is trying to put her hand up you and she makes a something s not quite right face, it is not the most reassuring thing in the world. An ultrasound and an MRI later told me (spoiler alert) that I have MRKH.
The science-y gist of MRKH is that you have underdeveloped or absent uterus and cervix. It usually doesn t affect your ovaries, which means that even though you can t physically birth a child, you could still have a kid that s biologically your own through IVF. It also means that your vagina starts as a little dimple instead of a canal . Vaginas are wonderfully stretchy things though, so when you're diagnosed, you get a box of dilators (read: medical dildos) to turn that bad boy into a big ol canal.
Being pregnant was never really on my list of things to do. I've never been big on kids, so I actually felt lucky that MRKH was happening to me and not someone else who was desperate to get pregnant and have babies. I've also been lucky enough to have strong women in my life who have taught me that my genitalia has no bearing on me being a woman.
That's not to say that I haven't been affected by my diagnosis. What's definitely hit me more is how much MRKH affected my life as a young adult, through dating and casual sex. Right now I'm loving not having to worry about pregnancy scares, but having to strategically dilate just in case something happens has not been incredibly fun. Most of the stress around my diagnosis takes shape when I'm physically in bed with someone new and I'm wondering if I've dilated enough for them to be able to fit, or if sex is going to hurt.
Because of MRKH, I was forced to communicate with my sexual partners a lot more than most people have to. That includes one night stands, where you don't want to delve into your medical history and where you worry if they know that your vagina is different to everyone else's.
That being said, everyone should be made to feel comfortable communicating with their partners as much as those of us who are essentially forced into it. All of the awkward conversations about things not fitting quite right, or something hurting, or what actually feels good are not exclusive to having sex with someone with MRKH; everyone should talk with their partners about what works, and what doesn't.
And guess what, every vagina is different to the next. Your body is different than everyone else's, and what feels good to you differs from everyone else. MRKH brought these conversations to the forefront quicker for me, but open communication about sex is something we should all strive for.
I still have a long way to go. I'm only 21 and I m trying to take my own advice and stay confident. I've had awkward hook-ups and relationships fail because I was uncomfortable saying exactly how I felt about having sex. That s my goal here; I want to help everyone that's entering their initial era of sexual encounters – with MRKH or not – feel comfortable and confident communicating with their partners.
Have fun, stay safe, communicate -- T