Fertility & Pornography

Today Nathan and I went to the specialist for one of four tests we are doing to see why we have had one miscarriage after another, and whether or not there are any treatment options available.

We are moving forward with foster care, something we decided on and applied for before there were any miscarriages happening.

But the big news today was that right there at the doctor’s office, there was a whole basket of pornographic materials offered as an assumed and acceptable part of the medical process.

We declined.

But it brought up a good issue:  it’s one thing to work hard to avoid pornography, or even to manage any kind of addictions (mine are chapstick and snow cones, and I am not mocking).

But what do you do when the pornography finds you, even when you aren’t doing anything wrong?

It was such a violating feeling, and made me ill.

Ironically, my sobriety date is coming up.  It made me think of my first glass of wine, given to me by a therapist, and how it was my primary care doctor who said I needed to drink wine every night with dinner because it was good for me and healthy.   Now it’s been four years since I have had any alcohol, and what a world of difference.

I would never have believed it would make so much difference to just let go of alcohol and caffeine, to do the work of consciously knitting together my spirit and my body.

What do you do, when it is your doctor saying that alcohol is okay?

What do you do, when it is your doctor offering pornography as part of the process?

What do you do, when it is someone you respect, or an event you really want to attend, or a medical advice you are seeking?

I am not talking about other people’s choices or behaviors.  Other people are not held responsible for covenants that I made, only I am.  Even with addiction itself, no one can get better until they decide to do that work for themselves.   So nowhere on the continuum am I am talking about other people or what other people choose to do.

I am talking about me, four years sober and chaste/faithful and baptized, kind of wanting to point out that even when you are behaving yourself and making good choices, it’s out there, that stuff you don’t want.

It happens, just like that, when you don’t even know you are in danger.

I think that is part of why we have to be prepared.

I don’t mean just pornography or alcohol or anything, I mean for whatever covenant you have made.

For example, to make things more neutral, Nathan made a commitment for a year of no desserts.  His faithfulness to this personal covenant has taught us many things this year, and brought blessings with it.  But it was only weeks after he made the decision that we went to Israel, which is full of incredible dessert buffets every night.

Just like that, without even ordering dessert, he was surrounded.

How did he stay so strong in that?  How was he faithful?

That’s his story not mine, and I ought not be airing his business.

Excepting today, when I saw that basket full of pornography, right there at the doctor’s office, I felt attacked when we were not even doing anything wrong.

We were just there, together, trying to be a family, trying to be parents.

I think that’s why we have to make decisions ahead of time about what our standards are, where the line is for us, what we choose as acceptable or not, good or not, healthy or not for us.

I think it is part of how covenants protect us, the knowing ahead of time.

It was a fascinating experience, gaining this new testimony of how covenants protect us and strengthen us, and I am so grateful – even though it was super weird.

Except not, because we already knew the answer, so declining was easy.

But it seemed important to share, to testify, to wrestle… enough so that I came home and wrote an article about it for Deseret.  I will share it when it is published.

In the meantime, I look at Nathan (talking on the phone with his composer, unaware I am blogging about him at this very second) and am so filled with awe and delight.  He is so good to me, and so kind to me, and so funny and charming and tender.  He is patient, so that so many things I have botched up in the past I feel like I am finally learning, healing, and growing beyond.  He makes me more me, wholly me, and holy-me.  I love my life with him, even with all the hard things we have experienced, and even with all the hard work that a good and healthy and strong marriage can be, in all the seasons that come with it.

(Now he knows, because he can see it in my eyes.)

But it’s worth it, you see?

(Because he sees me.)

I can’t imagine putting this feeling at risk, the peace and joy and love that I feel.

It’s a love that is real, this love we share.

And it takes work to protect it, even when you least expect it.

But it’s worth it.

Because it’s real.

About Emily

I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints since 2009. I serve as a Chaplain, and work as a counselor. I got bilateral cochlear implants in 2010, but will always love sign language. I choose books over television, and organics over processed. Nothing is as close to flying as ballroom dancing - except maybe running, when in the solo mood. I would rather be outside than anywhere else, especially at the river riding my bike or kayaking. PhD in Marriage and Family Therapy, and currently doing a post-doc in Jewish Studies and an MDiv in Pastoral Counseling. The best thing about Emily World is that it's always an adventure, even if (not so) grammatically precise. The only thing better than writing is being married to a writer. Nathan Christensen and I were married in the Oklahoma City temple on 13 October 2012, and have since fostered more than eighty-five children. We have adopted the six who stayed, and are totally and completely and helplessly in love with our family. Nathan writes musical theater, including "Broadcast" (a musical history of the radio) and an adaption of Lois Lowry's "The Giver". He served his mission in South Korea, has taught song-writing in New York City public schools, and worked as a theater critic for a Tucson newspaper. This is not an official Web site of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

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