It has been nearly a year and two months since I last felt the water of the mikveh in between my toes, against my chest and throughout my hair. I have been frightened. I was scared. I was nervous.
I used to think of the mikveh as something that gave me power as a woman. An ancient ritual meant to empower me, further enhance my love and desire for my husband, relax me, soothe me, take my stresses away, but then I kept going and nothing happened.
I was under the impression something spiritual would happen in the three times you immerse and eventually g-d would give my husband and I a baby.
It has been a very long time, and many immersions, and still no baby. I am at the point now, where I have given up. There were months of nights where I would cry myself to sleep because I didn’t understand why I, a then 26-year-old healthy female could not produce a child.
We have seen all the doctors, I’ve had every nook and cranny down south checked out and they all keep telling me I am fine. “You are young,” they say, and as time goes on, I keep nearing 30 and I think to myself, am I really? In a few months, I will be 28, still childless.
At this point, I stopped believing in the mikveh. I couldn’t face yet another pregnant woman or family member asking me if I want to immerse after them for luck that maybe this will be the month.
And then so much time, and millions of hormones and doctors appointments and lost friendships later - I was over this infertility bullsh*t. So much time was spent on this one aspect of my life and I was searching for a reset button.
But, like every Jewish woman before me for the last 2,000 years, I knew where the reset button was - it was located in a 4x6 pool of water, otherwise known as the mikveh, where each month millions of us across the world, reset.
So I took the plunge. But I told myself this would not be a typical plunge. I needed this time in the mikveh for me and solely nothing else.
As I went through the ritual of washing the body and ridding myself of anything that would get between me and the holy water I was slowly revealing my truest, most real self.
With each knot that was combed from my long black hair, it was another stress released, set free. It was another negative thought disappearing.
I stood there, butt naked and scanned my entire body for anything that doesn’t belong and here I was: The human body that g-d made in its purest form, and I stared. I saw the new curves and the extra weight this journey of infertility has gifted me, I saw the wrinkles and small lines on my face letting me know I am in womanhood, and then I saw myself, I saw Andria.
I saw the strong person who knows each journey and each challenge we have faced with serves a higher purpose. I stared at myself, naked in the mirror, and saw my soul and I said I am strong.
Then I went under, and under and under again and I came out new.