Photo from Chabad.org
…going to get dunked!
Early last week, before getting fired, before the added stress of impending unemployment I spoke with a woman called Sara at Immerse NYC about going to the mikvah before my next IUI.
I’d love to use Charlotte York Goldenblatt as an example again, but unfortunately this time SATC gets the mikvah wrong. Yes, the mikvah is a ritual immersion that culminates the process of converting to Judaism. When you immerse and emerge from the water you come out on the other side a Jew, but in SATC she goes into the water completely dry. In actuality, before going into the water you are wet (soaking wet) because you’ve spent the past hour or so scrubbing every inch of your body before the mikvah.
Lost? Let me shed some light.
I went to my favorite go-to mikvah source, Mayyim Hayyim, a community mikvah outside of Boston, MA
(Mikvah,or) Ritual immersion is an ancient part of Jewish tradition, noted in the Torah and in later Rabbinic commentaries. Today, there are only a few cases where immersion is still designated as amitzvah, or an act required by Jewish law: for converts to Judaism, for brides, and for women observing niddah, the practice of immersing monthly following menstruation.
Mikveh has also been used for other purposes throughout Jewish history: for example, by men prior to Shabbat and the holidays, by women in the ninth month of pregnancy. At Mayyim Hayyim, people are welcome to immerse to commemorate a wide variety of transitions and occasions: prior to reading Torah for the first time, before or after surgery, on the occasion of being ordained a rabbi, or becoming a grandparent, or reaching the age of 40, or 50, or 85.
…Once you walk down the seven steps into the warm water of the mikveh, it is customary to immerse fully – covering every strand of hair with water – a total of three times. According to tradition, a blessing is recited after the first immersion (see the traditional and alternative blessings below). Some people then choose to say the she-he-che-yanu blessing after the last immersion. Others add private prayers or even sing between immersions. Each visitor is encouraged to follow his / her own custom.
Organizations like Mayyim Hayyim and Immerse NYC are places where Jews of every walk of life can embrace this ancient tradition for a wide variety of “reasons.” I am going to the mikvah in hopes that it will aid in my conception and the mikvah guides at Immerse NYC are working to find words and prayers that I can recite in the water.
This process of TTC has reminded me that the ultrasounds, blood monitoring, temperature taking, mucous analyzing, fertility drugs, trigger shots, and medical IUIs lead us to believe that we have control over our lives, our bodies and this process. But many of us who are on IUI #3, 6, 10 know that we can do everything “right” and still not have the outcomes that we desire. So, I’m blending the East (my religion) with the West (medicine). I pray more now than I ever have before and while I’d like to go, “Please G-d, help us be pregnant! Help me find a job!” my prayers most often start by thanking the Source of Life for everything that I do have. While I want so much more, I’ve come to realize that much of what I have is a blessing.
Sending many blessings of strength, persistence, patience and of course baby dust to all of you. To all of you with your bundles of joy I send blessings of rest and strength.
exes and ohs,