End of an Era

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

I decided this week to take a leave of absence from volunteering as a peer counselor at the crisis pregnancy center.

It was not a decision I made lightly, because being a part of their center for the last 2 years has been very rewarding and challenging and worthwhile. But as we try to discern how our family is going to expand, it gets more difficult. And I think it is subconsciously stressful because most weeks, I come home from my shift with a headache. At this point, I don't really need any more subconscious stress!!

When I first started, people around me were surprised that I chose that place as my place of preference to spend some volunteer time. I was surprised, too, given that the clients I would see have stumbled over the very thing that I had been striving towards with all my strength. But somehow, God allowed me to reflect His love and mercy to those clients that I saw, without allowing me to bring my infertility baggage into the counseling room. It was really amazing, and I thought I could go on forever.

But I really think it affects me more than I realize, and until now, I have just pushed it aside. But if we are going to be figuring out what path to take to expand our family or even just trying to be as healthy and strong as we can to try (hope, pray, beg) to conceive a healthy baby on our own, we need to make sure we are in the most supportive environments. Even now, because I have close friends who have been blessed through adoption, I had always cringed when I saw a girl who proclaimed that she could never "give up her baby" for adoption. Would I be able to deal with that as nonchalantly if we were waiting to adopt, even to do embryo adoption? Because we believe those birthparents are also making an adoption plan for their embryos, too, which takes the same selflessness.

So, long story short, I need to find a new volunteering opportunity. (I am technically on a "leave of absence from the pregnancy center, but I am feeling that it might be a while 'till I return, if ever, as a peer counselor.) I think donating your time to others not only helps them, but it helps you, too. The places I have volunteered have enriched my life in amazing ways! I volunteered at the Ronald McDonald House from 2004-2008, and I loved it there. My first thought for my new place is the SPCA (where we adopted Bert). Where do you volunteer?

10 comments:

TeeJay said...

I think it's very smart of you to rid yourself of something that may be causing you added stress. And I'm sure it's hard to counsel women/girls who consider their pregnancy a "crisis" rather than a blessing. You are very stong and I admire you for even staying with it as long as you did.

Katie said...

What a difficult decision, but it sounds like you made an excellent choice for yourself at this time. Doing the right thing is tough sometimes. I volunteer with Resolve, actually. I help the local chapter coordinate speakers and education meetings for our support group. It's a way to help others, but I'm also finding that it helps me, too.

Jessica said...

That must have been a hard decision, but I'm glad you are taking care of yourself emotionally. I volunteer for a charity that help children with cancer. I love children and cancer has affected my family so I felt it would be a good fit. It is hard to see the sick kids but making them smile warms my heart.

Bridget said...

I think you made the right choice. Any stress you can get rid of is for the best! Have you looked into volunterring at a YMCA?

Maegan said...

I agree with the above comments - that was probably a good move for you at this time and I really hope you can find something that you can pour into without stressing yourself out. :) I volunteer with Big Brothers Big Sisters as a mentor and I have really enjoyed being able to get out each week and do something fun with my match (she's 12). BUT I've encountered a lot of matches that have come from unstable homes or foster situations (like my match) and it has been hard to see kids on the side of abandonment. My neighbor volunteers for a golden retriever rescue and she really enjoys it.

hollytraveling said...

First, my utmost admiration to you for a. volunteering your time and b. doing the work you did. That's more than selfless given what you're going through and nothing short of amazing. I do not presently volunteer, but have wanted to do so for the local battered woman's shelter. I'd imagine that would be just as taxing. Good luck in whatever future endeavor you choose.

sonja said...

I am honestly amazed and impressed at your strength to have volunteered there for so long while dealing with IF. I honestly would have fallen apart. It makes sense though to take a step back if that's what your heart is telling you.

Re: your comment -- too funny about your dream!! That cracked me up. Hey you never know what can happen!

Saying prayers for you. *hugs*

the misfit said...

I have always admired you volunteering there. I've been interested in volunteering at a CPC for years (and repeatedly missed the boat with places that were offering training when I wasn't around and so forth), but I always thought as a single girl and a virgin with a good education and strict parents I would be a pretty serious aggravation for the women who came in. Then I got married and within less than a year had a diagnosis of infertility, and thought, I have a way to relate to people now - something about the profundity of the experience makes it make sense. And I'm still interested in doing it, but I don't know whether I would be strong enough. I even tried to get involved with a crisis pregnancy counseling role last year and then realized the organization did something completely different from what I thought (and required a schedule and language skills that I don't have). So I DON'T volunteer - I feel as though I have been trying for years and looked into a slew of organizations (and this is really true), and any of those might have worked out and none did. In law school I volunteered with the high school youth ministry...maybe I should start doing that again. It was incredibly rewarding.

Ashley said...

I'm sure that was a difficult decision to make, but it sounds like you made the best for you.

K said...

I volunteer as a Chemo Angel through an organization of the same name that pairs letter writers with an adult or child going through chemo. I absolutely love it, and I highly recommend it, especially if you enjoy writing (which you do b/c you blog) and have any inkling toward stationery.

I have to say that I'm glad you're stepping away from the pregnancy crisis center. I never understood how you were able to volunteer there given the infertility, and I'm glad you're taking care of yourself.