I want to work with children

Can’t believe I am typing that, but I do.

When I was in AmeriCorps approximately one thousand years ago, I tutored learning-disabled third-graders, and I tutored ESL/EFL kids and teens throughout college and grad school #1. Have volunteered with FreeArts New York, working with little kids and teens, making art (and doing some in-the-moment art therapy), and did music therapy with kids in the Bronx once. I’ve been drawn toward working with kids throughout my life, really, but when I decided to go back to school for an MSW in clinical social work, I focused on gerontology because I thought that would be the most practical thing to do (there is a huge need, and I was trying to figure out where the world’s needs and my skills overlapped). I love working with older adults. But the truth is, not as much as I love (loved) working with kids.

Then the losses happened. And you know the rest. The difficulty being around little ones when you are experiencing pregnancy loss. Wanting to, but feeling that absence.

Writing that post It’s not envy; it’s absence was a big deal for me. It had been incubating for a long time and for some reason that experience at TJ’s made it impossible for me to keep it inside any longer. But once I’d released it and made tangible, and I heard back from all of you, and we hashed the whole thing out, a new space inside started to open up.

Teary on the couch in DH’s arms at 3 a.m. NYE, I said, “I have got to turn this around. This is not working! For me or for anybody.”

And that’s when I started talking about wanting to volunteer again to work with children. “I need children in my life, and I can’t have my own right now. But there are kids out there who need people like me…”

I have this love of children, and some rudimentary skills in working with children in need, but I am keeping it to myself. There was a time for self-protection, but I want that time to be over. And I bet by putting myself in direct contact with kids, exposing myself to that world again, I can begin to overcome some of these feelings of pain and loss that are triggered simply by seeing a little one’s face.

Do I have what it takes to move into this new phase? To be around children and their families and then go home to my life without children? I have no idea.  But I want to at least start exploring it. I think the experience could be remarkably healing. Never before in these three years has working with kids seemed like a possibility, so I’m taking this openness as a sign that I might be able to do it.

Here are some options I am looking at:

Ronald McDonald House: Volunteering to work with children who have cancer, and their families, in a hospital setting.

Family and Children Services: Nursery volunteer.

VIBS: Childcare volunteer: “Childcare Volunteers help model healthy relationships and safe boundaries with children, while a parent is participating in counseling.”

Long Island Volunteer Center: Various tutoring and mentoring volunteer positions.

Big Brother Big Sister: But it looks like they have a waiting list for big sisters and are in need of big brothers right now.

That’s all I got for now. We’ll see what happens. I’m not ready to volunteer yet, but maybe writing this post will motivate me to consider this further.

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8 Comments

  1. My husband decided this year that he’d like to volunteer as a big brother. I think it’s so amazing of you guys to be able to offer so much of yourselves to children, especially when experiencing infertility and miscarriage. As for me, I’m that jerk who still finds other kids kind of annoying while still wanting my own, so perhaps I should volunteer too in order to get over my desire for children. ;)

    Reply
    • Ha! DH and I were talking about this…I said: You know, kids can sometimes be quite annoying. Maybe it’ll help us through the long wait to have a family to be reminded of kids’ annoyingness. (:

      Reply
  2. Nyforlife

     /  January 8, 2014

    Good for you for recognizing that you have gifts you should share with the world and not being afraid to make yourself vulnerable around children. From personal experience, I can tell you it is much different (and healthier) than spending time with a friend’s baby or being caught unawares by one. I hesitate to suggest this, but there is such a need…have you considered hospice? Not necessarily for a child client, but as a family volunteer. I did it for three years. I would play with grand kids while their parents visited, I would run errands, read books, write down recipes… I tended to stay away from the more child focused activities bc a friend had a 3yo in chemo and it was too close. But hospices have a real need for people with a MSW and a love of children. Or you could look into those camps for families with an ill child like camp Sunshine in Maine.
    That being said, the McDonald house has (for reason above) become my favorite charity. Everything they do is well done, professional, and caring.
    Realizing you have a value to the world outside of reproducing is so important and gets lost in the infertility struggle. I am so proud of you for getting there!

    Reply
    • That’s a great suggestion! Because I worked as a SW in a nursing home for the past year, and was a therapist for homebound elderly (too frail to leave their homes) who sometimes were close to hospice-stage, I might have an easy time getting accepted as a volunteer in hospice. Thank you for the suggestion and for the cheerleading. (: It’s something I’d really like to pursue—I need to decide if I should hold off until after the FET… because if FET results in mc and I have a crisis-situ I don’t want to leave anyone hanging. But I’ll work out the logistics.

      Reply
  3. NotSoNewtoIVF

     /  January 8, 2014

    This is such an amazing step, I think you’re right there are alot of kids that need someone exactly like you in their life x

    Reply
  4. I totally get it. And I think that envy has become an ugly 4-letter word. Jealousy is coveting what others have. But you don’t want another person’s child — you want your own. Envy, the way I see it, is simply wishing you had what someone else does — without taking it away from the person who has it. Envy is born of loss of some sort. I wish people would better distinguish between the two. It would make life a lot kinder to quite a few infertiles! Big hugs xoxo

    Reply

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