A Meditation: Using the Mikveh when Dealing with Infertility

silhouette of woman under water

To be read prior to immersion:

זֶה דוֹדִי וְזֶה רֵעִי
This is my beloved and this is my friend

כִּי־עַזָּה כַמָּוֶת אַהֲבָה
For love is as strong as death

(Song of Songs)

Mekor Rakhamim[1] I thank you for the blessing that is contained in my body’s abilities and functions, which I should not take for granted. But I also cry out to you in my pain, anxiety, and wants. I do not expect an answer, and yet I hope for one.

Help me and my beloved stay strong through the coming month, and remember the strength we share together. We pray that this will be stronger than my monthly remembrance of death, contained within which is a reminder of the hope for life. Help us not to blame ourselves, or each other, and to accept those blessings we do have, rather than focusing on those we do not.

May I find comfort in the merit of my mothers, Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, and Hannah, who called out to you in their childlessness, and were comforted.

Blessed are You Eternal, who creates each of us whole, and none of us perfect[2]

Aged 22 I was diagnosed with poly-cystic ovaries. I began to consider that the maternal instincts I had felt since the age of twelve might not be so easily fulfilled, and the mikveh presented itself to me as an ideal tool for dealing with these emotions. With its symbolism of transformation, and traditional connection to women’s menstrual cycles, it seemed like there must be some way to make it relevant to my situation. I felt the need for a ritual that would provide a coping mechanism for this new reality, and the feeling that my own body had betrayed me.

After marriage, as year on year no pregnancy came, the mikveh became, for me, a chance to refresh myself after the pain and depression of menstruation. To me it feels like a space that is ostensibly female, and one where I can mark that menstruation is over, and try to reclaim my own positivity, getting me ready to rejoin my husband with joy and laughter – regardless of the outcome. This is about a transformation, not from tahor to tameh but despair to hope, personal darkness to light.

[1]    ‘source/place of mercy’ While at such times I do not sense the merciful, giving God, Rakhamim has it’s root in Rekhem, meaning womb, and therefore is an obvious choice

[2]    This final blessing is not mine, but despite searching, I can’t currently find the source. But it moved me very much when I read it and it is with me often.

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