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


  • Mayyim Hayyim currently has limited availability for immersions while we undergo construction to repair damage incurred to the building following the extreme cold on February 4. We will be updating this page periodically with new information. To support our repairs, click here to donate.