I was born without a womb and started menopause at 18

By: JOANEVA WANJIRU MWATHI

I was born without a womb and started menopause the moment my menstruation stopped, at age 18.

Some two years ago, on July 24, 2013, my story began.

I had visited the doctor for consultation regarding my irregular menstruation only to end up in tears. After getting a pelvic ultrasound my results came back reading: uterus is atrophic, ovaries are not visualised, urinary bladder normal. Conclusion: atrophic uterus. Mullerian agenesis.

I will give you a minute to Google – or try to find a medical dictionary.

Simply put, I was born without a womb and with a short cervical canal. And to cap it all, I was already five years into menopause.

The menopause, as I came to learn, explained the mood swings, depression, heat waves and anxiety.

At age 23, I had just discovered I was menopausal, barren and had a shorter than normal vaginal canal.

The day was not done with me yet. My aunt, my best friend and I left the doctor’s office and headed for lunch where we were meeting my mother’s sisters for a “serious talk”.

The summoning was for me to explain why I had recently turned into the family’s black sheep. At least the results partly explained my strange behaviour.

We sat down and ordered our meals. The food was brought and the conversation began. My medical results were put on the table and my best friend and aunt broke it down for the rest. I will never forget the moment. One of them took the envelope with the results, put it aside and said: “This is not important.”

From that moment I knew I was alone in this and I now use that restaurant as one of my motivators as it reminds me of that sunny day in July.

It is true that people will forget what you did or what you said but they will never forget how you made them feel. I cannot remember their exact words during that lunch or what they did but I will never forget the feeling – loneliness, betrayal, anger, fear that literally crippled me, confusion and sadness.

Name a negative feeling and I had it at that moment and they still haunt me to this day. I knew I had to make a choice, and whatever choice I made, I was on my own.

First, I had to wrap my head around my diagnosis. This is still a journey for me.

I did accept what was written on the paper; I will live with it. The living is the hardest part – getting the heat waves and remembering what they are, having mood swings and understanding what the cause is and learning my triggers. This journey could not be walked alone.