Chelsea Poole, 21, found out that she was born without a vagina after wondering why she had never started her periods.
She was diagnosed with Mayer-Rokitansky-Küster-Hauser syndrome when she was 16 years old. Doctors told the then-teenager that she had been born without a cervix, womb or genital tract, causing her to question her identity and ask what it actually meant to be a woman.
“It took four years to get a diagnosis. I was just a young girl who didn’t feel normal because I couldn’t get my period. When I was diagnosed, I chose not to tell anyone, just close family. Honestly I went through a really dark patch for a while, because although it’s a physical condition it’s something that’s a lot psychological as well. I kept comparing myself to other people and I just did not feel normal.”
At the age of 16, Chelsea should have been thinking about boys and makeup with her friends but instead, she was worried about her future and how she would never be able to carry her own child.
The counseling student from the West Midlands had to undergo a year of treatment to “stretch” her vagina so that she would be able to have sex.
She had to undergo therapy to exercise her vagina in order to stretch it into shape. At the end of 2014, aged 19, she was finally able to have sex for the first time.
She did not share her condition with her partner at the time.
“It was quite surreal because at the time, he knew nothing about it. Later I confessed and he was really supportive, but I didn’t want my condition hanging over my first time. I felt completely lost in myself, and could only deal with what I was going through by drinking. But recently I’ve realised that life still carries on and I have to make the most of it, I can either feel sorry for myself or get on with life.”