We all lead such busy lives, and it is tempting to try to simplify by eliminating outside commitments. This may be especially true for those of you undergoing fertility treatments, pursuing adoption, or adjusting to the decision to live a childfree life. You may think, “I have enough on my plate to deal with—volunteering for anything right now is just too much to ask.” Or you may be so blue about your own situation that you feel you wouldn’t be helpful to another person.
Many RESOLVE New England volunteers once felt exactly the same way. But most volunteers would tell you that volunteering has been a great experience, that it helped immensely as they went through the family building process—giving them back much more than they gave—and that it can help you, too. With summer just around the corner, now is a great time to offer your time and expertise to gel out our organization!
Help Others, Help Yourself
Infertility can be lonely and isolating. Some days you feel like the only one on the planet who can’t have a baby (especially with all the “baby bump” headlines in the tabloids). Talking to others about infertility helps you realize that you are NOT alone. And when you volunteer, you help others understand that they are not alone either. As you use your experiences to help someone else, some good comes of what you’ve learned, which somehow makes it all easier to bear.
It would seem fairly intuitive that helping others would make you feel good, but what about actual health benefits? Studies have shown that volunteering can play a role in increasing your overall sense of well being, alleviating chronic pain, and even reducing depression. A study conducted by Vanderbilt University analyzed levels of happiness, life satisfaction, self-esteem, sense of control over life, physical health, and depression. The study concluded that, “Volunteer work is good for both mental and physical health. People of all ages who volunteer are happier and experience better physical health and less depression.”
On a day when you give yourself injections, get bad news from the doctor, worry about insurance coverage, argue with your mother about how going on vacation won’t help you get pregnant, argue with your spouse that you can’t go on vacation because you don’t know where you’ll be in your cycle … wouldn’t it be a nice diversion to help someone else? Some studies say reducing stress helps your treatment and at the very least, it certainly makes life easier to bear. Consider it therapy—for free!
Get Back Some CONTROL!
One of the most difficult aspects of infertility is the loss of control you may feel. Whether it is the endless adoption paperwork or waiting for the test results on your hormone levels, things may seem completely out of your hands. Take charge of something! Work on initiatives to increase insurance coverage for infertility treatment. Host an evening program and be the friendly, welcoming face that greets attendees at the door. Give yourself the feeling of empowerment that comes from doing a good job, and from helping someone else.
Make New and Lasting Friendships
Have you found that your friends, whom you previously could talk to about anything, “just don’t understand?” That your mom or your sister somehow manage to say exactly the wrong thing when you talk to them about your infertility? Get to know people who know what you are going through. You will find that they may become lifelong friends.
A Final Thought
An RNE volunteer explained the benefits to her of volunteering this way:
“Finally, in the last year, I have discovered a type of therapy [for infertility] that has really made a difference in my life. I decided to volunteer for RNE to share my knowledge and experience with other people in my situation. I’m not exactly sure how this ‘therapy’ works, but I feel volunteering for RNE has decreased my isolation, my absorption with my own problems, and my feeling of being a victim. Somehow I’m changing the terrible negative of infertility into something positive by making a difference in other people’s lives. I feel healing is finally starting to happen where I need it most, in the dark shadows of infertility.”
Current Volunteer Opportunities
Volunteers are the heart of RNE. We could not provide the comprehensive programs and services we do without your help! Here are a few current opportunities.
- Fundraising Database Administrator: Do you have database administration experience? RNE seeks someone who can create a custom database to easily access and track our fundraising efforts throughout the year. Volunteer Now
- Event Hosts
- Office Assistants
- Grant Writers
- Graphic Designers
- Peer Group Leaders
- Social Media Champions
- State Captains