A 16 yo girl comes into my clinic room with the complaint that she hasn't had a period her whole life. I asked her some questions and then examined her and then did an ultrasound. The ultrasound showed that she did not have a uterus or ovary. I asked another doctor to confirm this, before I broke the news to her, he confirmed it and so a conversation would like have liked to not have, was now about to happen.
I brought them back to my clinic room and started to try and explain that this young girl was never going to be able to have periods or have kids. They kind of stared at me, and so I tried to phrase it a bit differently, they seemed to understand a bit more then, but I could tell it wasn't quite clicking, because they still seemed happy. I then went and got an anatomy textbook to try and describe what is normal and what she had. I think this did the trick, as the girl started crying when I explained it for the 3rd time, and the mom put her hand to her mouth.
For many in PNG, being married, being able to bear children for your husband and his family, are ways that a woman is valued, and are what many women hope to accomplish. Unfortunately for some women, their inability to bear children might be a reason why her husband says he is going to take a 2nd or 3rd wife. For this woman, it could be a reason why she may never get married. Based on her reaction when she finally understood what I said, and the tears that flowed, her dreams were shatter with the news.
How as a doctor do you help her, do you console her, do you share truth with her? All the words that came to me seemed meaningless, seemed shallow, seemed pointless to verbalize. I struggled to know what, if anything to say, but watching this girl cry in front of me, forced me to come up with something. I thought of the song Even If by Mercy Me, which comes from the book of Daniel and the fiery furnace and says that we know that you God are able to take away whatever we are dealing with, but Even If you don't, we still will trust you and believe in you. Not easy to grasp or to get to the point of accepting, but something that all of us at some point or another, will need to wrestle with, as struggles will come that don't go away.
Not sure if she understood what I was saying or if the words were just meaningless, but me thinking about it the reality that God can chose to change the situation of today, but doesn't always take it away, doesn't or can't change what I feel about Him. So if it wasn't for her, it was a good reminder for me, that despite the hard things I see each day, despite the pain I see that doesn't go away, despite the prayers for healing that go up, and the sickness that still is there - It is well with my Soul and my Hope is in God alone. Pray that she might find that understanding as well, as she wrestles with unmeasurable disappointment.