click here to jump to start of article
  • Torah Reading: Naso
Join Our Newsletter

Get latest articles and videos with Jewish inspiration and insights​

Mikvah Courage

Mikvah Courage

Sometimes it takes courage to enter the waters of the mikvah.


I was shocked by my emotions. It was my mikvah night, a night I usually looked forward to. But this time, I didn’t want to go.

Only days earlier I had learned from my doctor that we would likely need IVF to conceive. I was shaken to the core. Although I had always sensed that I would need fertility treatments to conceive, I never imagined doing something as drastic as IVF. In the wake of this news, the mikvah seemed like a cruel joke. How could I go in the depths of those waters, face the God Whom I was so angry at that I could barely speak to Him, and celebrate the monthly shifting of my cycle? How could I go back to those marble rooms I had left with such high hopes a month before, hoping to return over ten months later? How could I?

I spoke to friends who had also walked this road, and listened to their assurances. Surely, it was going to work out. It would be sooner rather than later. God had a reason for this pain, like all pain. Someday I would understand why. I would appreciate motherhood so much more because of this. God wanted my prayers, He put me through this difficulty because He longed to hear me cry out to Him.

I heard, but I was not convinced. Why me? Why my prayers? I wondered. I preferred to do what my friends had done: conceive quickly, months later announce it joyfully, and send out excited text messages hours after their births, longing for prayers notwithstanding.


Related Article: A House of Hopes

With a leaden heart, I showed up at the mikvah. My favorite preparation room was available and I cheered at the peace and quiet that awaited me there. An hour in a bathtub might be just what I need right now, I thought to myself. I carefully prepared my body for immersion, as meticulous as when I was a bride. Everything was clean, but my heart? Not quite open, but getting there.

It takes courage to ask God the same question once more, month after month, and really believe it is possible.

I walked into the warm waters of the mikvah and then it hit me – the sudden clarity that this act was the foundation of courage. It takes courage to walk into the life waters of the mikvah and believe, despite ultrasounds and statistics and despair, that life can really grow within you. It takes courage to ask God the same question once more, month after month. It takes courage to really believe it is possible.

Did I have that courage? I decided that yes, I did. I wanted to be a mother who loved fearlessly and courageously, and I could be a woman like that today.

When I submerged my hair under the waters, I prayed that just like the mikvah was a womb, a place of rebirth, life would take hold within me. I prayed for the miracle I knew only He could bestow. Because those of us who have struggled with infertility have seen the world uncovered. We know that there is no drug, no procedure, that can create life – it is really only God. He gave children to the barren matriarchs, and He can do the same thing to women at IVF clinics in modern New York City.

It only takes the courage to ask.

November 7, 2010

Give Tzedakah! Help create inspiring
articles, videos and blogs featuring timeless Jewish wisdom.
The opinions expressed in the comment section are the personal views of the commenters. Comments are moderated, so please keep it civil.

Visitor Comments: 19

(19) Julia, December 12, 2014 2:50 PM

What a beautiful story. I am in a similar situation - one that is so difficult. I pray that Hashem will send us a healthy, happy baby. May I ask what prayer you use for infertility when in the mikvah?

(18) Liora Pier, December 28, 2010 11:42 AM

Also Struggling With Infertility and Faith and Courage

Dear Katie, I so much relate to how you feel. I am 40 and am at my twin sister's house awaiting the delivery of her fourth child. I have not been able to carry a pregnancy or even conceive the rest of the time. I found the mikveh to be a deeply spiritual experience where I could come to Hashem very intimately about this most tender agonizing topic and trust my future, and my womb into His hands. I appreciate your courage to share your experience. It touched my heart and gives me hope too. May Hashem make you like Sarah, Rebekah, Leah and may I add like Hannah. Shalom, Liora Pier

(17) yehudis, December 26, 2010 1:53 PM

very inspiring article -

Your article was very inspiring. The courage you have found within- not only to know your feelings, but to so eloquently express them, will help many others facing this same challenge. May you be blessed with all your heart desires.

(16) Anonymous, November 25, 2010 5:00 PM

I felt the same way...

My husband and I have been going through fertility treatment for over one and a half yrs. Somewhere in middle of treatment, I started dreading going to the mikveh, and looking at it as a sign of my failure to conceive. I was shocked and comforted to see this article. I, too, had to change my mindset about going to the mikveh. My husband and I spoke it over, and instead of looking at the mikveh as solely a means through which I can conceive, I now look at it as I did when I first got married: a means through which I can reconnect with my husband. My husband and I are still going through infertility. However, I thank Hashem that I have a good marriage. My husband is so supportive, and i've learned that as much as I yearn for children, a happy marriage is hard to find, and I am lucky that I have one.

(15) Shoshana, November 22, 2010 2:01 AM

You have courage

You have courage in sharing your innermost feelings and thoughts. I wish you hatzlocha and good things....

See All Comments

Submit Your Comment:

  • Display my name?

  • Your email address is kept private. Our editor needs it in case we have a question about your comment.

  • * required field 2000
Submit Comment