Health

She Was Born Without a Womb and Vagina

Being a teenage girl is hard enough. Between talking about boys, hitting puberty and concerns about what you wear and how you look, there's a lot that girls are worrying about as they grow up. For Natasha Bishop, she has a whole other set of problems that would put it into perspective for most girls.

When she was 16, she learned that she would never have a period, bear children or have sex due to a rare syndrome that left her born without a womb or vagina.

When she was in boarding school at age 13,  Natasha Bishop of Gloucestershire, hadn't hit puberty yet. She heard all the girls talking about their periods and she was ashamed that she hadn't gotten hers yet. As time wore on and her period still hadn't come, she ended up lying to her classmates, teachers and her mom saying that she was getting her period like most girls her age.  

2 years later when she was 15, she had to go to the hospital because she had broken her hand. That's when she came clean to her mom. Like her, her mom thought nothing of it,and just assumed she was a late developer.

It wasn't until years later, she went to the doctor, because her period still hadn't come. After several medical experts couldn't understand where the problem was, she was sent for an ultrasound.

""Oh, you don't seem to have anything inside you," the doctor said, which was a pretty insensitive way of telling me I had been born with no uterus, no cervix, only one ovary, and a vagina which looks normal on the outside, but doesn't really exist inside. It's basically just a wall in there."

She was officially diagnosed with Mayer Rokitansky K├╝ster Hauser Syndrome (MRKH), a rare disease caused by an underdevelopment in the womb.

"They found out that I was biologically female but it didn't stop me wondering what the point of my existence was. I kept thinking, Am I a real girl if I can't have sex and I can't carry a child? It was horrible," she said.

Natasha Bishop

"I felt so bereft, like I wasn't a woman in society's eyes. I can't have a child, I can't have sex, what am I supposed to use my body for?" she said.

After being together with her boyfriend for over a year, she decided it was time to address the issue and do something for herself.  She was referred to Queen Charlotte Hospital in London to have a dilation treatment which would allow her to have sex.

Natasha Bishop

For 8 hours a day she would regularly insert a dilator increasing from the size from a thickness of a pen to the size of a penis.

"I ended up with bruising all over my vagina, it bled and was raw, but you can't stop. That's the worst thing. You have to do it, but it's not like you're doing it to recover from an illness or anything; you're only doing it for yourself. You certainly realize the extent of your own determination after a week of self-inflicted pain like that," she said.

Natasha Bishop

Finally, after all the medical tests and procedures were done, Tasha went to visit her boyfriend in Paris, where he was studying, where she lost her virginity.

'When we finished having sex I burst into tears. It was really special for me," she recalled.

Tasha now has embraced her condition and set up an initiative called The Pants Project. Her project aims to raise awareness and funds for women with fertility issues by selling pants created by Britain's most prestigious lingerie designers.

"But after I had time to reflect on it and accept it I realised that actually, having something missing from your body doesn't really affect who you are at all," she said.

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