By: Annalisa Hefner
Eight months pregnant is a beautiful but uncomfortable state. After multiple IVF treatments and miscarriages, I was finally nearing the end of my miraculous, easy pregnancy. Awesome… but there were also the swollen ankles, insomnia and sheer exhaustion of hauling my much larger self through the world. Not always so awesome. Then one day, my husband surprised me with the chance to try floating while I was pregnant, and life utterly changed.
Hubby, aka Jim, is a devotee of Joe Rogan’s podcast, and that is where the spark to try floating began. Rogan is quite a proponent of floating, and in this particular episode raved about how much it helped his wife cope with the many discomforts of pregnancy. So, first chance we got, we headed to Float Lounge in Laguna Beach, where these two warm, beautiful souls named Jeff and Rosie welcomed us. After a brief intro, JIm headed to his room and I to mine.
As instructed, I showered in my private, beachy, quiet room and opened the hatch to enter the tank. The air was warm and still as I ducked through the hatch and laid back into the welcoming buoyancy of the water. Floating was effortless, like reclining on a waterbed without having to feel the mattress, weightless. I’m not claustrophobic, but I’ll admit that the warm, dark, enclosed space took a little getting used to. My hosts had prepared me for this, so I used a rolled up towel to prop open the hatch for the first minute, then removed it and settled into the groove of my first float.
Rosie had shared that most babies get very active in the womb during float sessions, but quite the opposite happened for me. My little one stretched her arms and legs in all four directions and became really still. Now, I was floating with her just as she was floating in me. Time lost shape in the tank, and soon, I was in a calm, meditative world where there was nowhere to go, nothing to do but to breathe and be.
I have come to learn that every float is different, but my first float was epic in so many ways. I typically have a very noisy brain, but somehow in the tank, my brain just stopped for awhile. At one point, as I drifted through a calm, vast space, having lost the boundary between my skin and the water, I heard my own steady heartbeat and the faster, joyful drumbeat of the new little life within me. I don’t know how that’s possible, but I heard it, the magical soundtrack of my experience.
At some point after an hour, Rosie, then Jeff came in to gently tap on the tank to tell me my time was up. I was so relaxed and detached, I just kept floating, until a very worried Jim came to bring me back to real life. I showered again to get the salt off, dressed and emerged into the lobby, all with a ridiculous grin spanning my face. Jim looked shiny and relaxed; turns out, he was also inspired. “I’m changing directions,” he said. “I’m opening a float center.”
And here we are. Our daughter Sierra is almost two, and we are weeks away from beginning to welcome others into the warm, open and life-improving world of floating. I’m glad floating found us, and I’m pretty sure that once you try it, you will be too.