By Hannah Hughes —
When Melissa Ohden’s mom left the abortion clinic more than 30 years ago, she thought her fetus was disposed of properly.
She was a 19-year-old college student and was told the baby in her womb would ruin her life. She was pressured to “terminate the pregnancy” quickly and “conveniently,” and she followed their advice, according to her testimonial video on Eternal Word Television Network’s YouTube channel.
But baby Melissa didn’t die from the saline infusion of toxic water that was injected into the amniotic sack to kill her. She was removed from the womb very much alive.
Melissa weighed less than three pounds. After nurses sustained her with hospital care, she was adopted into a loving home.
“God had a plan,” she says.
Today Melissa is married and an outspoken critic of abortion who has testified before Congress. She documents the trials and travails of finding out the truth of her origin in the stirring book, You Carried Me: A Daughter’s memoir.
At 14, Melissa was told about her adoption. But the news that her biological mother had tried to kill her hit like a tsunami. Negative emotions took root.
Under the crushing rejection of her biological mother, Melissa spun out of control with bulimia, alcohol and sexuality — all coping mechanisms to deal with the raw pain.
“It absolutely devastated my life,” she says. “I didn’t want anyone else to know how much I was hurting.”
How did she break the cycle of self-destruction?
“It was the grace of God that saved me,” she says. “I had to be willing to wake up and say, ‘I’m not going to do that’” anymore.
As she grew, married, and had children, Melissa kept thinking about her biological mom. Who was she? Under what circumstances did she resort to such a drastic procedure? What was she like?
She embarked on a quest to find her mother.
“I loved her,” she says. “My love for her deepens year after year. Now I know the truth of how she was forced into that abortion.”
Initially through correspondence, she began to get to know her mother, and she came to understand and forgive her mom, who suffered 30 years of agonizing guilt, hiding the painful memory of killing her child.
Her journey led her to embrace her mother and feel empathy for all women who feel cornered into abortion, she says.
She believes that child-bearing is a gift from God that corrupt people have tried to destroy. “It’s a love story that God wrote and man attempted to rewrite that whole story and God’s story wins in the end,” she explains.
Melissa finally met her mother face-to-face. They spent years corresponding, sharing and learning about each other.
Their ultimate meeting evoked powerful emotions.
“It was everything I could have expected and more to know that she spent over 30 years of her life believing that I had died at the hospital,” Melissa says. “You know how she suffered from immense regret and guilt. Then to have the opportunity to know that her child is alive and loves her and has forgiven her and get to meet face to face, yeah my excitement was for her. It was life changing.
Hannah Hughes studies at the Lighthouse Christian Academy in Santa Monica.