The Midwife’s Visit

Trigger warning / “A Part of Me” campaign:

This story could contain potentially sensitive and/or triggering material, especially for victims of female genital mutilation. Please remember to check in with yourself as you read and to stop reading if it gets too overwhelming.

I was 12 when I travelled with my family at the end of term to Upper Egypt.
That’s where the story began.
One day, I felt a sharp pain in my stomach,
I felt nauseous for three days straight.
That’s when my aunt, who was a 65 year old uneducated woman, decided,
“Our girl is getting older… the midwife must visit.”

Indeed, she didn’t even check with my parent’s when she contacted her.
When the midwife came, my aunt took me to a locked room.
The strange lady was there.
My aunt asked me to take off my pants.
I was so awkward and quiet.
I took off my pants.
I was scared and didn't understand what was going on.

The strange woman told me, “Sit down and open your legs.”
I was so scared but I did what she asked.
My eyes were tearing up as I looked at my aunt.
My aunt and the midwife were having an odd conversation.
“Does she need the procedure?”
“Yes, she does.”
I didn’t understand what was going on or what exactly I needed.

The woman took out a syringe. Before she prepared it, my aunt told me:
“Go call your mother from the roof.”
I ran as fast as I could,
To tell my mother about what was going on, and how scared I was.
I told her naively, “My aunt needs you downstairs.”
My mother asked me to wait on the roof as she went downstairs.
Half an hour later, she called me back.
The strange woman was gone.
I was glad that she saved me from her.

After we left Upper Egypt and went back home to Cairo,
Mama tried to explain to me what circumcision was.
She repeated a hadith to me: “Restrict yourself to a sniff (i.e. circumcise yourselves) and do not overstrain (i.e. exaggerate).”
Which I don’t believe at all.

My mama decided later on that we pay a visit to a surgeon.
He is well known for conducting circumcisions.
He is currently spending jail time.
We took an appointment with him and I was circumcised.

10 years have passed since then, and thank god, my sexual life is 100% normal.
But I always feel like I am not normal.
I hope that I can love and accept my body as it is one day.

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