Not the Only One

Editor’s note:  The writer of this post wishes to remain anonymous

I’m afraid of water, and I know I’m not the only one.

Years of swimming lessons did nothing for me — after all, if you won’t put your face in the water or take your feet off the ground, you’re not going to get very far. I know I’m not the only one.

As much as I avoid beaches and pools (despite living in close proximity to both!), I was committed to learning more about the mikveh as my husband and I prepared for marriage. I know I’m not the only one.

After several conversations with people, I found ways to attempt to immerse in the mikveh. My attendants always know about my fear and that when I move slowly, I’m hesitating but I’m okay. I know I’m not the only one.

I always hold onto the railing — sometimes just until the rest of me is underwater, and sometimes the whole time. I know I’m not the only one.

My other hand, the one that isn’t grabbing the railing, is plugging my nose so that I can tolerate going underwater. I know I’m not the only one.

When I come up between each dunk, I wipe my face dry with a washcloth. It doesn’t make sense, but it works for me. I know I’m not the only one.

Sometimes, my immersions move me, and sometimes they are just what I do. I know I’m not the only one.

If you are concerned about how your discomfort with water can be balanced with mikveh use, know that resources are out there*. Know that you’re not the only one.

*Other resources could include a local rabbi/rabbi’s wife, a Mikveh Guide, Mayyim Hayyim Nishmat,  or Yoatzot.org

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  • Mayyim Hayyim has updated our COVID-19 protocols. Please click here to read the latest protocols, updated as of April 25, 2022.