I made my vagina.
There you go I said it
It occurred to me just recently that for so long I was more embarrassed to tell people I made my own vagina than I was actually doing it.
Well largely because for so long we are taught that our bodies, particularly female bodies and our ‘bits’ in particular, are just not something to talk about.
Yet also likely because I was rather naïve and extremely prudish as a teenager and quite frankly didn’t want to talk to my friends or anyone about my vagina – which is not unreasonable.
For men it seems different somehow. How many times have we heard them talk about their cocks or some graphic description of some sexual escapade yet us girls don’t typically do that, rather more squirming in embarrassment and quietly going red in the corner (or was that just me?). Saying vulva, vagina (anatomy often confused, even by those with them), ovary or god forbid… clitoris in public is considered crude and ungainly and well just ‘not what a woman does’ in polite society.
We don’t talk about those things
We ‘shouldn’t’ talk about those things.
Well quite frankly I know a large cohort who would think that is total BS. Me included. Which was why at a dinner this week where my friend was asking about MRKH after seeing a webinar I did, I probably ended up saying vagina about 25 times without hesitation.
We absolutely have to talk about these things to normalise the conversation and reduce the taboo around vulvas and vaginas and everything else our bodies offer, whoever we are. Removing the shame and stigma around those typically difficult discussions or traditionally difficult parts of our bodies. That shame shouldn’t be there yet it is there because of what we have been taught or experienced.
No wonder I was anxious about sharing this secret when I was younger.
I was born with ovaries but without a uterus, cervix and with a shortened vagina. I found out when I was 17.
That was a lot to take in.
The not being able to carry children always felt a little easier to explain (although rather more challenging to process I might add) than the shortened vagina.
What that actually means is that I was born with a vagina depth of about the length of a fingernail.
I still often cringe over headline titles of ‘I was born without a uterus and vagina’ over ‘I was born without a uterus’ largely because the connotations of the absence or shortened vagina can, and has, raised more questions off the back of such articles as to whether we are really female (all XX chromosomes here so yes thank you) and how we pee (face palm).
Whilst I wouldn’t personally lead with that for a general article about MRKH in it doesn’t mean I think it is any less important in fact it is so important to discuss this topic more openly it warrants something more. As a teenager it raised so many questions around my body that my sex education and even biology / anatomy couldn’t answer. I didn’t fit what we were being told so to me the importance of improving our education around our reproductive systems (male and female and all the variations therein) to understand what it all means, is critical. Certainly when I was at school such education was skipped through as quickly as humanly possible to tick a box on the curriculum with little interest or encouragement to discuss further.
So quite frankly yes it made me feel A W K W A R D to talk about it.
Worse than that, embarrassed. What would people think of me?
I didn’t want to feel different. I didn’t want to be different.
I wanted to do something, anything I could, to make me feel what I thought was normal. To take a step that felt like it gave me some control over MRKH. I decided to start dilation. A process to non surgically ‘grow’ my own vagina over many months using plastic tubes of different sizes to stretch the ‘dimple’ (as it is often referred to) that I did have. Essentially meaning applying pressure to said tube and holding it in position for a period of time in each session.
Twice a day for 15-20 mins.
I can’t quite remember how many it took me but at least 6.
To me making my vagina was a process. One I chose to do and I am pleased I did, yet explaining it to anyone back then was terrifying.
Would anyone know my secret?
Would they be able to tell?
The answer to both of those was no. Not unless I wanted to tell them.
Yes penetrative sex may have felt tight or uncomfortable at times, it still does sometimes, but that is not unique to MRKH and sex is more than just penetration. There is a lot more to explore as well. Pleasure comes in many forms.
I spent so long worried that my body was so very different to my friends ‘normal’ non MRKH bodies that I forgot the fact that everyone’s body is different. I was so hung up on it that I wasn’t allowing myself to understand the natural glorious variations we all have MRKH or not. MRKH is also not the only condition where dilation may be used.
This is all part of the process of acceptance of course with a dash of reality check for good measure.
I am proud that I made my own vagina.
I chose to do this but it is a choice. Not everyone needs to or wants to do this. It is not a ‘treatment’, it is an option available. Always make sure you are doing this process for yourself.
….and know there is a lot of support out there, lot’s of advice and personal experiences to help you through. It is a very private and personal journey but it doesn’t have to be a lonely one.