Book Review: Melissa Ohden’s You Carried Me

I read You Carried Me, Melissa Ohden’s memoir last week and I can’t stop talking about it.

Melissa always knew she was adopted, but at age 14 she finds out that she survived an abortion attempt. She begins a journey to find out who her biological parents are and the circumstances surrounding their choice to have an abortion.

There’s so much more to this story, but I don’t want to give it all away. I highly recommend you read it!  It’s amazing to me how God’s hand was over Melissa’s life, from the very beginning.

Melissa says on her website: “I don’t believe God originally wrote abortion into my life, as God is the Creator of life, but when it was introduced by man, or in my case, a woman, He rewrote the story of my life around it, to create the story of a life that is more intricate, more redemptive, more grace-filled, than anything anyone else could have planned or written.”

I’ve never had a doubt in my mind that life starts at conception. As I said in a recent post, God says in his Word that he knits us together in the womb. There is so much evidence of this in the Bible. One of my favorites is when God tells Jeremiah: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”

And then I had the amazing privilege of getting pregnant and carrying my daughter for 9 months. A precious life was undeniably growing inside of me. At the beginning of our pregnancy, some tests revealed markers for potential genetic mutations in our child. Doctors asked us several times to consider abortion. Not a chance! Victorie was born 100% ok. And even if she had some genetic/developmental issues, it wouldn’t have changed the fact that she was God’s gift to us.

I’ve always found the way people use language to talk about this subject to be extremely manipulative.  If a woman is happily pregnant and then loses her baby, we call it “a miscarriage”. The parents probably already had a name in mind for the baby. All the family’s dreams and hopes for the child are dashed. We recognize this as a tragedy. And rightly so, as a life has been lost. We all sympathize/empathize with the family’s loss.

But if a pregnancy is unwelcome, if a baby is unwanted, some people refer to that life as a “fetus”or “a clump of cells” that needs to be “terminated”. This cold, clinical language encourages us to mentally and emotionally detach from the fact that we’re talking about a real living baby, no different from the baby I just mentioned above. The only difference is that one baby is wanted and the other is not.  Using these terms desensitizes us to the fact that abortion is murder.

This is a nuanced issue that I can’t do justice to as a side note in one post. I just wanted to point out that we should be(a)ware of how words are often used to play with our emotions or manipulate us to suit the message being conveyed.

If you want to know more, check out Melissa’s blog, or to get involved, find a local chapter of an organization, such as the National Pro-Life Religious Council, which deals with other sanctity of life issues as well, such as euthanasia. Bound 4 Life is another grassroots organization focusing on prayer mobilization against abortion.

On a more readerly level, I read an excellent novel last year by Jennifer Rodewald called Red Rose Bouquet. The protagonist of the book struggles with post abortion stress syndrome. It is a really lovely story about God’s redemption and I believe it could be a helpful and healing story for any woman who has lost children due to abortion.

I’ve never been bold enough to openly share my convictions with people outside of certain “safe” circles, but Melissa’s story inspired me! May this mark a new season of boldness and transparency for me.

I even wrote the author to tell her as much! (Who am I??)

Did you know about Melissa’s story before this post? Or perhaps that of another abortion survivor? Let me know if you decide to read her book! 

6 Comments

  1. Not a lot of people tend to focus on the the fact that women suffer with depression after an abortion. We’re so used to seeing it being celebrated as a victory for body empowerment, but the facts show, women suffer psychologically and emotionally after an abortion. It’s great that you pointed that out.

    1. Hi Anthony! Yes it’s true, many studies show just that. I didn’t know about it until I read that novel last year. It made me realize, as Melissa Ohden days, that abortion doesn’t just affect an individual-it impacts generations. 😞Thanks for reading!

  2. Hi Karina!
    I agree that the language used deceives and detaches one of the truth. Its inevitable not to go through depression even when we don’t know or understand thou shall not kill. We are heavy laden n darkened with the sin of abortion and our own souls cry out for us for redemption. I pray if any is there n reading this they run to Christ. He forgives, heals n restores. He did it for me.

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