I'm With the Band: Septate Hymen

When I was a kid, I was obsessed with attention. My first thought after getting a scraped knee on the

pavement was never about the pain, it was always the rush of endorphins over how I was probably

about to get some sympathy from it. It’s a miracle I didn’t develop some sort of pain-fetish.

So having an obscure medical issue that requires surgery seems like it would be a dream come true

for the younger-me. My silence would probably look like a waste to her.

Having surgery and not telling anybody you know about it is a pretty ridiculous concept in and of

itself. But I guess the weird taboo nature that carries into genital surgeries is lost on the attention

seeking mentality of a bratty adolescent girl.

Originally, it’s supposed to just be me getting put under so that they can do a routine exam and

insert an IUD. “It seems like you’ve got vaginismus. Nothing’s getting up there while you’re awake,”

they say to me, “So we’ll get you into day surgery, put you under anesthetic, check out what’s going

on up there, do the IUD thing, and you’ll be all good to go home!”

It doesn’t feel like it’s vaginismus though. It feels like something else is going on. But any attempts I

make to voice this go unheard and spoken over.

Afterwards, I wake up in a daze, my head feels fuzzy, and the pain between my legs feels like fire.

The nurses whisper at the foot of my bed, not yet realizing that I’ve woken up. I see the IUD box in

one of their hands, still firmly sealed and untampered with. The feeling of dread pools in my lower

stomach, because I know that means they weren’t able to use it. Which means there may be more

wrong with me than we had originally thought.

My gynecologist comes up to my bed with a piece of freshly printed paper, on it are four vaginas. It’s

the most obscure thing I can imagine being shoved into my face after waking up from anesthetic.

“This is what a normal hymen looks like. And this is what your hymen looks like,” she says, pointing

to the one that unsettles me the most.

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I guess it’s better than her holding a mirror between my legs.

I’ve always been somebody that cries at even the slightest amount of stress, so I spend the entire

“you have to have surgery for this” discussion with tears running down my cheeks. I feel equal parts

embarrassed and bitter about the situation.

I don’t tell anybody about it. I’m tight lipped. In more ways than one.

Part of the reason I’m doing this now is because I think it’s important for more people to know about

this condition. I think the more normalized it is, the less shame those afflicted will suffer with. I spent

so long being quiet, and I don’t know if I want to be quiet anymore, especially when there may be

other people suffering from similar ailments and refusing to get help because they’re ashamed. Just

like I was.

Don’t get me wrong, I definitely don’t want to be a spokesperson for this, I still spend most of my

days feeling very quietly shameful and pathetic over it. And I think “I don’t want to be an advocate for

women’s health. I just want to be a normal person with normal health issues and a normal life.”

But it just feels too selfish to stay quiet, I’d rather try and do my part to be a positive influence on

normalizing this condition for others. I guess the hard part of it is that there isn’t really a “happy

ending” yet. I’m still figuring things out as they go along, and I think that’s all I can ask of myself for


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