BOOK EXTRACT | I AM ALSO A WOMAN

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Author Zeripah Phiri.
Author Zeripah Phiri.
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I Glow With Who I am 

This is me! In all my glory, in my happy place where all my worries disappear, and I am just me. There are no labels here, no doubts! I do not bear a mark on my forehead saying I am infertile. I am a complete woman enjoying her life to the fullest.

A big lesson I have learnt and made part of my being is that it is important to share our stories to help ourselves heal while educating others. Too often, mistakenly indeed, I have stayed silent in my shame, perpetuating lies in my head thinking that keeping quiet is a sign of strength. I have since realised I was wrong.

Sharing my life story helps me feel better, it teaches others my perspective and proves to me that I am not alone. There are others who will quietly whisper – “Me too” – and that is okay! It is a personal decision to choose who deserves to hear your story. You can choose to share or not. It’s your choice and no-one else’s.

I decided to write this book based on my life story. I have decided to come out of the proverbial closet. It takes courage to remove one’s armour than to assemble it. I wanted to express myself and pour my heart out without interruption, hence my decision to write this book.

I believe that by doing that I will be able to reach out to a lot of people going through the same experiences like mine. Women who bore the brunt from the same syndrome but are not ready to open up. I feel that opening up your wounds helps in healing. Living in a cocoon and covering up our wounds will not heal them.

In this book I will share my life story. What I went through until the day I made the bold decision to talk about my condition. I must say this journey of infertility is so draining at times but I have learnt not to let my crown fall. I am also a woman. Infertility, according to MedlinePlus, means not being able to get pregnant after at least one year of trying (or 6 months if the woman is over age 35). My infertility is a result of the rare condition – Mayer-Rokitansky-Kuster-Hauser Syndrome – which is a disorder that occurs in females and affects mainly the re-productive system.

The condition causes the vagina and uterus to be under-developed or absent although the external genitalia are normal. It starts during foetal development and there is nothing a mother can do to prevent it. It is no-one’s fault.

It affects women only. It is unfortunate a lot of people only find out that they have the syndrome at a later stage in life. They discover the syndrome when they have reached puberty. This happens when they do not menstruate.

Research has at sometimes recommended surgical construction of the vagina using skin grafts but there is a challenge. This could be helpful when the condition is detected in a child’s early stage in life, but nothing triggers the need for such a solution. It’s always too late.

But there is still another problem, would surgical construction mend the inner feeling of loss? Would it heal the emotional wounds of such a discovery?

I chose to share my story so that I encourage colleagues going through the same situation. Sharing our stories could help us overcome the insecurities and problems that life has cast upon us. I want women with the same condition to understand that they are not alone in this predicament which, coincidentally, can be used as a projectile to stardom and sunshine. All that glitters is not gold but aren’t diamonds made out of coal? We only live once and happiness abounds even for women who are deemed unfortunate by an uninformed eye.

In life, everyone goes through their own battles. Everyone has a tale to tell. I just hope my story will help women with the same syndrome as I have got heal. I want my sisters out there to know that they are not alone in this battle. I have shed more tears than smiles over the past 20 years. I felt anger towards life. But as the old adage has it, what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger. There are certain things in life that we cannot control. We just have to accept and move on, as hard as it can be.

I do understand how it is sometimes to feel abnormal. To feel as if you are not enough. We are all humans. It is not bad to grieve when you feel like grieving. We just need to take one step at a time. As hard as it can be, life has to go on. We cannot change nature, unfortunately. Infertility doesn’t define you. It can be due to so many reasons beyond our control. You cannot control your infertility diagnosis.

There are people out there who are childless by choice, that’s how they want to lead their lives. We also have those like me who are childless not by choice. For me it is a condition, different from others, that has made me the woman I am today. I was born without a womb but that does not define me. Womb or no womb, I am also a woman.

Dealing with unintended childlessness makes me feel defeated at times. I feel lost, alone and will have a lot of questions that I do not have answers for. It feels depressing at times but I always tell myself that I am not alone. There are a lot of people out there who are going through what I have gone through.

I was born with a rare condition. I am uniquely different. You can imagine being a girl child and being born without a womb, strange! Very strange indeed! A lot of people ask me questions out there, how so? It’s possible. It’s a rare condition. You are treated differently the moment people hear about your condition. There are, however, others who do understand what you will be going through though they aren’t in the same situation.

I have gone through a lot in life. This is my journey. It’s a journey that I never signed up for. Each person’s journey is unique. I never imagined myself turning 40 without kids of my own. Growing up, I always thought that it was up to me to decide on how many children I would have. Little did I know what God had in store for me.

This infertility journey may break you down but still you are uniquely you. Do not let it pull you down. I am an MRKH warrior.  Womb or no womb, I am complete. I am also a woman.

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