Sometimes you pick up a book knowing, or at least thinking you know what to expect; but it doesn’t take long to realize that you were wrong. And by the end of the book you’re left wondering how you could be so far wrong. You Carried Me: a daughter’s memoir by Melissa Ohden (Plough Publishing House, 2017) is definitely one of those books. I would like to summarize the whole story, but I promise I won’t need to include spoiler alerts!
This is the story of Melissa Ohden, founder of Adoption Survivors Network, and an outspoken advocate for the women, men and children impacted by abortion. Melissa has a story, and she knows part of it, that she was adopted, but suddenly she finds out that there’s more to it. She was the survivor of a botched abortion. She shouldn’t be alive to tell the story, but a nurse heard the child, supposedly dead, cry out and rushed her to the NICU.
The story is one of a search for answers, a growing process, redemption and forgiveness, and lots of surprises along the way. Her journey takes her to hospitals, schools, and even the floor of the U.S. Senate.
I consider myself pro-life, but recently I’m finding that pro-life is more than just being anti-abortion. It means being against the death penalty, but it also means giving people a chance to live. Pro-life takes on a new meaning when it goes beyond protesting at abortion clinics, to being willing to adopt a child that would be otherwise aborted. It means more than crying because of the atrocities being committed in other parts of the world because someone is a different race, religion or political persuasion- pro-life means being willing to support, sponsor, volunteer with and be a friend to refugees being forced to flee their homes.
And reading this book gave me a different perspective on the feelings that are likely to well up years after an abortion. Not just the women who underwent the procedure, but the father and grandparents of the not to be baby.
Melissa has a story that has been needed to be told for many years, and the fact that as she speaks around the world she meets other survivors, the fact that there is a network of survivors, means that this is one more reason that there needs to be changes to the way the public views abortion. It’s about so much more than women’s health issues, it’s about the long lasting effects on everyone involved, effects that impact people for years or decades.
Melissa is lucky to have undertaken her journey, it’s not one that everyone would be willing to take, but with the support of her adoptive family and her husband, it seems to have turned out well—for her, for the family and for countless others.
I cried as I read this poignant story, the history of a woman who was not supposed to be her to write the story. But I also laughed, and prayed for this brave woman and her quest to help others heal.
As we start a new administration in this country, an administration which has a stated goal of overturning or at least changing ROE-v-WADE, Melissa Ohden is sure to be a prominent voice. I wish her well.
One of the best books I’ve read in months! 5/5
I received a copy of this book from Plough Publishing in exchange for my review. I was not required to write a positive review.