Pro-life activist and abortion survivor Melissa Ohden has written a new book that details meeting her birth mother — and forgiving her.
In the book, titled “You Carried Me,” Ohden, who survived a botched saline abortion as an infant, shares how she discovered the circumstances of her birth and describes her years-long search for her biological family, specifically her birth mother.
In an interview with TheBlaze, Ohden said she wrote the book because “this is a story that needs to be told.”
“I really felt like it was important that this story get out to people who are open to being pro-life or who don’t understand some of the circumstances surrounding abortion,” she said.
Ohden grew up knowing that she was adopted, but as a young teenager, was told by her sister that there was more to the story. She was horrified to discover that she was born alive following an abortion.
“It was shocking,” Ohden said. “I was devastated. You know, at fourteen years old, to find out your life was supposed to end… I was angry and I was scared. I was ashamed and embarrassed for many years.”
Ohden said she turned to an “unholy trinity” of coping mechanisms — sex, bulimia and alcohol — to deal with her feelings of guilt for surviving when she was supposed to have died.
“It was really hard for me to share, but I went through a really, really painful time in my life,” Ohden said. “I tried to get as far away from the truth as I could.”
She said that the decision to forgive her biological mother — and herself — lead to healing.
“Forgiveness is a huge part of my journey,” she said. “Accepting that I am who I am and I don’t need to be ashamed of that truly set me free. And I think that’s something a lot of people can relate to — you try to run away from something difficult or painful, but you just can’t. And my faith is what saved me from that. God put me on this journey and I’m thankful.”
After Ohden came to terms with her story, she began to search for her biological family. For years, the painful search yielded little fruit, as she did not have much information about her biological parents. Eventually, she was able to track them down, which lead to additional painful discoveries.
After making contact with a member of her birth mother’s family, Ohden found out that her biological parents had been separated by her maternal grandmother — who later coerced her daughter into an abortion. Ohden’s grandmother also hid her survival from her daughter after the procedure, and even tried to demand that hospital staff leave the infant to die. A nurse saved her life anyway.
“I was blessed that day,” Ohden said. “Even though my grandmother wanted me to be left to die.”
She said the fact that she could have been abandoned to die following the procedure is proof that such infants deserve to be protected by law, and that their lives shouldn’t be left to chance — as her own was.
“There are children like me that survive abortions on a regular basis,” Ohden said. “I could have died in that hospital and nobody ever would have known what was done to me, or that nobody worked to save me. They need to be legally obligated to help.”
“My life shouldn’t have been dependent on who was working that day,” she added. “But really, it was.”