'The day I found out I was born without a vagina'

'We must accept ourselves as we are, although realizing that we are not like other women is difficult.'

A routine question from your doctor led to Julian Peter, a young Kenyan, 29, to discover who was born without an uterus, without neck uterine and no vagina.

Twelve years later, she shared her story with the BBC. This is her testimony.

'I was born with a disease called Mayer-Rokitansky-Küster-Hauser syndrome (MRKH) .

Women with this disease are born without an uterus, without a cervix and without a vagina, and sometimes also without a kidney.

Since I don't have an uterus, I never had a period. But I don't feel bad about it.

When people find out about my illness they react in different ways.

'They can say what they want'

Someone once recommended that I go somewhere and ask to be prayed for.

Another person claimed that surely my grandmother must have done something wrong, because I come from Ukambani, a region associated with sorcery.

They can say what they want, but what really matters is the way I react .

If I started paying attention to other people's opinions, that would surely affect my confidence and make me doubt myself.

I found out I had the syndrome at 17 years old. At that time I was a student.

I went to the hospital because my legs were swelling.

The first thing the doctor asked me was when I had my last period. I replied that I had never had a period.

At the hospital I had a CT scan, which revealed that my reproductive system did not have an outer hole.

I had surgery to try to open a vaginal canal, but the intervention was unsuccessful.

Another CT scan showed that I had no uterus or cervix and I was diagnosed with MRKH.

I cried for three days after that diagnosis, but then decided to go ahead with my life .

I was only 17 years old and very young, so my priority was to go back to school.

I was still in the hospital with my mother, who raised me alone.

She was shocked by the news, and even wondered if as a mother she had any responsibility and had made a mistake.

'I didn't want to have surgery'

Since I had studied biology, I understood well what the doctor told me that first time.

But I didn't want to go through an operation at that time, because I wanted to finish my studies.

Ten years later, I returned to the hospital and had another operation that was successful.

I cried for three days after that diagnosis for MRKH, without uterus, vagina and one kidney, but then I decided to move on with my life.
I cried for three days after that diagnosis, but then I decided to move on with my

The type of MRKH that I had meant that I did not have an uterus or cervix. She also lacked a vagina and only had one kidney. The operation was to create a vaginal canal .

My life is normal, because the MRKH does not interfere with how I want to live it.

But other people with this syndrome need professional psychological support to overcome the emotional impact.

Once you understand the implications of this disease, you must rule out the possibility of having biological children .

I had a total of four CT scans and none of them detected the presence of ovaries, so it is not possible to extract eggs for in vitro fertilization either .

Most men will accept us as we are. Although realizing that you are not like other women is difficult and you need to have someone to talk to.

I met other people here in Kenya who suffer from the same syndrome and we shared our experiences.

I accepted my illness from the beginning and I accepted myself, from what I can say that I feel good.

Explanations to my partner

I had some romantic relationships. And I never let much time go by before talking to my partner at the time and telling him about my illness.

If they want to accept it, they will. But human beings are just human beings.

And many of the men I told about my syndrome just left me. Others accused me of lying to scare them away.

Right now I don't have a partner, but everything is God's work.

I had the operation to build the vaginal canal in 2018 and I still do not feel ready to have sex.

Nor am I ready to face a marriage.

And I think if one day I get married, one option would be to adopt.

Advice to parents

It took me at least 10 years to decide to speak publicly about my story.

There are many people who do not understand what MRKH is and I want to raise awareness about this syndrome.

There are many people who do not understand what MRKH is in Kenya and I want to raise awareness about this syndrome.
Opening the vaginal canal is a painful operation. I recommend parents not to accept surgery on their daughters when they are girls

First of all, I tell parents of babies with the disease not to accept surgery on their daughters while they are still small girls .

In my opinion, surgery should only occur when they understand more about the syndrome, because the operation is a complex and lengthy procedure.

Is an intervention painful and girl would not understand what she is going through.

Parents should also educate themselves about this syndrome so that they can help their daughters deal with the stigma they are sure to face.

I formed a support group and I know that people with MRKH face all kinds of challenges.

Some women are married and face great pressure from their in-laws, who want grandchildren. A young woman told me that her in-laws accuse her of actually being a man.

So in my group we listen to people and encourage them.

The important thing is to help each other because this journey can be difficult. '



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