I consider myself to be incredibly lucky to have had a ‘good’ lockdown compared to many. I and my loved ones are safe and well, I still have my job and I’ve been able to remain active which is really important for my mental and physical wellbeing.
Lockdown has had quite a profound impact on my relationship with MRKH in ways I didn’t anticipate. Although I was diagnosed many years ago it’s only been in the last three years or so that I’ve found, joined and been embraced by the wonderful MRKH community that exists in the UK and across the world. I’ve met some of the kindest, accepting and simply beautiful souls through finally admitting to myself that while I’ve found my own way all these years, I also had a lot of unfinished business.
Engaging with other MRKHers has helped me to explore my past safely and with love. Giving compassion unconditionally to others helped me be more accepting of myself and to some extent face the excruciating shame I have been plagued by since the moment I was diagnosed. However, this new-found world of MRKH sisters has been largely secret. You see, I don’t talk about MRKH with my family, apart from my husband, and certainly not with friends, except for a select few. I put it down to the traumatic impact of my diagnosis at a time when there was no emotional support offered to a terrified, introverted 16 year old or her mother who was wracked with guilt and consumed with worry that no one would ever love her daughter because she was born different.
So I hold my MRKH and family lives in tension, careful that the two worlds should never accidently collide. The pandemic has made my world incredibly small. I no longer have a lengthy time-consuming commute; although tiring, it was also a time I often used to catch up on messages and respond to Facebook posts in private MRKH groups. My emotional focus has been on my family, especially my parents, because of their increased vulnerability to coronavirus as a result of their age. I find I have less time and emotional energy to invest in all the areas of my life in the way that I’d like. For me that means that MRKH has taken much more of a back seat for the time being.
My main reason for writing this blog is to try to say to my MRKH sisters, both existing and those I haven’t yet met, that I think of you often. You have helped me so much and in lockdown I’ve been able to use my learning in new ways to support others: the compassion you’ve enabled me to develop means I’ve been able to help my mum through some difficult periods of lockdown. And I’m mentoring a new colleague who started their job during lockdown and who hasn’t had an easy time.
I want you guys to know that I’m trying to pay forward the kindness and support I’ve been fortunate enough to receive. Writing this piece has enabled me to see that I’m still on my MRKH journey and still learning – and that feels good.