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Julian Peter Kenyan girl born without a vagina. Courtesy photo

Kenyan Woman: 'The Day I Discovered I was Born without a Vagina'

posted onMarch 16, 2020
nocomment

By BBC

A routine question from her doctor about menstruation set Kenyan Julian Peter, now 29, down a path that led her to discover she was born without a womb, cervix or a vagina.

Twelve years on she shared her story with the BBC's Anne Ngugi. "I was born with a condition called Mayer-Rokitansky-Küster-Hauser syndrome (MRKH), where you have no womb or vagina, and you can also find yourself with just one kidney. A woman who has MRKH can never get periods. I don't have a uterus, so I've never had periods. This is the normal that I know, I don't feel bad about it," she said.

"People have different feelings about who I am. 'They can say whatever they want' Someone told me that I should go somewhere to be prayed for. Another person said that because I come from Ukambani [a region that is stereotypically linked to witchcraft] then my grandmother had something to do with this. They can say whatever they want to but what really matters is how I take it. If I were to listen to them it would start affecting me, and I would start thinking that what they were saying was true," she added.

Peter further narrated: "I discovered I had the syndrome when I was a 17-year-old school student. I went to hospital as I had problem with my legs, which were swollen. The first thing the doctor asked me was when I last had my period. I had never had one. They did a scan. The first image indicated that my reproductive tract was closed from the outside. I went through an operation to open it, which was not successful.

I had another scan that showed I had no uterus or vagina, and that was when I was diagnosed with MRKH. I cried on the first day and the second day and the third, but then I moved on. I was only 17 and quite small, so my priority was to get back to school. I was in hospital with my mother, my only parent, and the diagnosis shocked her. I think as a parent there were questions she was bound to ask herself, Essentially she was wondering if she had done something wrong."

'I didn't want the operation'

"As i had studied biology, i understood what the doctor was saying that first time. I told her that I didn't want to go through with an operation at that point as I wanted to go back to school to complete my education. Ten years later, I went back to hospital and had a successful operation. The type of MRKH that I had meant that I had no vagina, no womb and I only have one kidney. My vaginal canal was not there and it had to be created.

My life is normal as MRKH does not interfere with how I want to live. But for some it is emotionally disturbing and people might need to go to a psychologist to accept the condition. When you realise the implications of the condition that you have, you have to forget about giving birth to children." she said.

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