Remember how I bumped into a lady that I met on an online forum at the clinic a little while ago? We finally met up for real and had a very good time chatting over ramen on Friday. We exchanged notes on where we were at during our cycle, and shared a lot about our history. Her fertility journey is shorter than mine as she’s been trying for a bit over a year. She went off the pills at 38 and had the foresight to check her hormonal levels before she even started trying to conceive. Her FSH was elevated, and she has done three IUIs. She’s currently pursuing her first IVF cycle at my clinic before she turns 40 in a month but things aren’t going as smoothly as she has hoped. At one point during dinner, she expressed how things are getting so tough, that she questions why she has to go down this path, and that she gets jealous at her fertile friends. She started tearing up and continued to talk while wiping her tears away. Looking at her, my heart was full of compassion. I reached out my hand and held hers. I saw my 38-year-old self in her and could totally identify with her feelings. How many times can you actually look into someone’s eye and say “I know how you feel; I know exactly what you are going through”? Her current experience reminds me of my own sadness, jealousy, doubt, suffering, pains, sense of a loss of justice, fear, worry, loneliness, disappointment, impatience, and confusion the first year and a half of my fertility journey. I really do know exactly how she’s feeling. I can’t guarantee anything, but I am a good example that many of those feelings can and will pass. I am in a much better emotional place right now than two to three years ago. I know that she wants to try with her own eggs and it’s very hard for her to think about donor eggs. I just shared with her my own thoughts. I went from only trying naturally, to IVF, to many rounds of IVF and not considering donor eggs, to seriously considering donor eggs, in a matter of two years. As these invisible hands push us through our path, I see it more and more clearly what I desire and come to a place of determination to resolve this infertility debacle by trying third-party reproduction. This all takes time. I of course do not wish that she’ll come to this fork in the road in her pursuit of a baby. And if she ever gets to that point, she may well come to a conclusion that living child-free would be the path for her. It’s a very personal decision and it’s okay to make it whichever way that suits her and her partner. But I hope that my experience and my current emotional wellbeing will help her see that there is light at the end of the tunnel, although my circumstances are still the same as three years ago. I am glad I can offer support to her, letting her know that I’ve been there, and there are good days amidst those bad ones. Being able to help someone in a similar situation makes it a bit less painful to be on this journey. That’s one of the purposes of having a community, right?