I’m writing this blog the day after taking part in a Beautiful You MRKH webinar. About 150 MRKHers, parents, siblings, partners and supporters from around the world tuned in to Zoom for a first of its kind. The topic: DISCLOSURE.
I’ll be the first to admit that disclosure really isn’t my kind of thing. When I was diagnosed aged 16 I didn’t have any close friends. I didn’t really have any kind of friends. The group of girls I hung around with took any opportunity to poke fun and make me feel different. So the fact that I was diagnosed in the summer of my GCSE year, and knowing that I was going to a college where I didn’t know anyone, was a blessing in that it gave me a fresh start.
While I hugged by shameful secret close, my mum told just about anyone she came across. I know now that it was her way of coping, but at the time I hated every single occasion when she told me that someone I didn’t even know had such personal, intimate knowledge about me. Within my very small family I didn’t want to talk about MRKH. My gran actually asked if my diagnosis meant I was going to become a nun!
A common worry among MRKHers is disclosing to a partner or potential partner. Fortunately a partner has never rejected me outright after disclosing I have MRKH, although I’ve made some poor relationship choices. I’ve also made the odd mistake in disclosing to friends who didn’t know how to react so they said and did nothing. When I say ‘mistake’ I mean that neither they, nor I, were equipped to deal with my disclosure.
I battled against disclosure for many years. Whenever it came up in counselling or therapy it was guaranteed to have me bringing down the shutters and refusing to make myself vulnerable – after all, previous experiences had been far more negative than positive. Reflecting on an exercise from last night’s webinar I realise that fear, shame and hurt were not just at my table, they were standing on it, dominating and orchestrating all my thoughts and feelings.
It’s hard to say what changed. The wonderful Sunni Anne Ball (look her up if you haven’t yet met her) talks about a gradual approach to all things MRKH. Gradually I’ve opened up to a small number of friends for one of two reasons: (1) to help them in a difficult situation they’ve been dealing with or (2) because I’ve wanted them to know me better.
And you know what? Nothing bad happened! These people are still my friends, they still care about me; they just happen to know a little bit more about me. One of the many wonderful things about the Disclosure event was the diversity of experiences. There is no single way to experience, handle or disclose (or not) MRKH. We are unique in every sense and that’s what makes us all the more beautiful and special.
Whenever I’ve been asked if I would choose not to have MRKH I’ve always been torn. While I wouldn’t be the person I am or have met the many wonderful MRKHers had I not been born with this condition, I wouldn’t wish the difficult times on anyone.
On Sunday I absolutely delighted I have MRKH and was a part of something incredibly magical.
With love, Geepies