Only one in 4,500 girls are born with Type 1 Mayer-Kuster-Hauser-Rokitansky syndrome—the absence of, or malformation of—female reproductive organs. At the prime of her teen years, Rachael is tossed between doctors and so-called specialists who misdiagnose her time and time again. The medical field is no stranger to Rachael, having already faced the complications of hydrocephalus, a micro-bladder, lazy-eye and out-turned gait. Where she once felt like a miracle for surviving it all, she now questions her worth, her abilities, and worries that she isn’t an adequate representation of her gender. This story is a must-read for all girls facing questions of anatomy and self-worth. Told in first-person, with lilting humor at times, and raw honesty at others, Rachael’s story is the plight many women face today.
Us Girls: My Life Without a Uterus
“Told with delicious candor and delicate wit, Us Girls takes the reader over a mountain of heartbreak and down a river of physical tribulation, while Rachael Hughes clings to her life raft: Pearl Jam’s lyrical rock and roll narratives. It’s a perilous journey, but her music, her mom and her true grit brings her to a safe shore. Crisply told.”
~ J. Michael Lennon, editor of the boxed set Norman Mailer: The Sixties
“Being a woman is a complex, difficult job at times. But it's that painstaking work that young Rachael yearns for as she navigates her teenage years. Never before has a coming of age story been so devastating and uplifting at once. A rare condition has left Rachael without the reproductive organs to feel completely female, and the reality of this breaks her heart over and over again. Yet her heart and soul are saved by her love of music and the precious bond she shares with her mother. Woven with a melody of images, Us Girls is the beautiful story of a girl, her mom, and Pearl Jam.”
~ Amye Archer, Fat Girl Skinny
“Rachael Hughes’s memoir, Us Girls: My Life without a Uterus, is as powerful as the music that saved her. She writes, ‘…discovering my non-existent uterus was only the beginning of my medical nightmare.’ Once doctors detect what Hughes calls her ‘anatomical anomaly,’ they subject her to invasive testing and treat her as a curiosity instead of an adolescent girl. All the while, she’s forced to examine her own place in a world where ‘woman’ and ‘mother’ are often synonymous. With grace, humor, and a little help from Eddie Vedder, Hughes has penned a compelling story of hope and resilience.”
~ Barbara J. Taylor, Sing in the Morning, Cry at Night and All Waiting is Long.