Melissa Ohden: Surviving Her Abortion
By Jewel Taylor
The 700 Club
Original Air Date: November 9, 2010
“I had known ever since I can remember that I had been not only adopted, but I had been born about four months premature. I knew that I had been very sick and very tiny, and the doctors didn’t have a very good prognosis for my life. I didn’t have a lot of questions about that growing up, because I guess to me it didn’t matter because I was healthy. I was in a great home. I was loved, and life was good.”
But Melissa Ohden only knew part of the story. She was 14 when her older sister got pregnant out of wedlock and considered an abortion. Melissa’s mother, Linda, wanted to stop her daughter from having the abortion and told her daughters the shocking circumstances of Melissa’s birth.
“She said, ’We never meant to keep it from you. There’s no easy way to tell you this. Please know that we’ll always love you.’ Then she just kind of blurted it out. She said, ‘Melissa, your mother had an abortion during her fifth month of pregnancy with you and you survived it.’”
In 1978, Melissa’s teenage birth mother, walked into an abortion clinic expecting to walk out with her “problem” solved. She chose a saline injection to end the life of her five month old baby. When the procedure was over, a nurse heard her two-pound baby crying from the discarded medical waste.
Social services knew Mr. and Mrs. Cross wanted to adopt another baby girl. They didn’t know if they would take such a high risk baby.
Melissa’s mother Linda says, “When we first saw Melissa, her head was shaved from temple to temple, because she was too little to suck and they fed her intravenously. They told us all the things that could be wrong with her because of the premature birth, but as soon as they put her in my arms, I knew she was going to be fine. She was just beautiful. Absolutely beautiful.”
Melissa recovered completely, and lived a normal childhood until the circumstances of her birth were revealed. Now questions flooded her mind.
Melissa says, “The biggest question was, ‘Why? Why could you make that decision to end my life? Could I have been so unwanted and so unloved by them?’ Even though I knew that Jesus loved me and my family loved me, it could not take away the pain. For me, it made absolute sense to look for my biological parents. I wanted answers and then very quickly it moved to wanting to let them know that I was okay. I also wanted to let them know that no matter what, I’m still their daughter, and let them know that I also forgave them.”
Over the next 16 years, Melissa conducted an exhaustive and painful search for her birth parents. After gaining access to her records, she discovered her birth father had passed away. She was able to locate her maternal grandparents who responded to her efforts, but they decided it best not to contact her birth mother.
“In the letter, my grandfather included a couple pictures of my mother. When I looked at those pictures, I couldn’t recognize anything about myself in her. That was a huge moment in my life too. I went, ‘Lord, I get it. I’m not her. I wasn’t supposed to be her. I’m me and I’m a wonderful gift the way that You made me.’”
Melissa is now married, and there is no doubt in her mind that God saved her for a purpose. Part of that purpose, she says, is sharing her story of life with the world! She treasures being a mother herself.
“I know that was the Lord’s plan for me also, because all those years I just desperately wanted to be a mother. But I was very scared. I had to heal from a lot of pain about my life. I didn’t want to become a mother until I felt like I was whole.”
Ironically, Melissa gave birth to Olivia in the same hospital her own life was supposed to end.
“I used to drive past that hospital gripping the wheel of my car, because it was so hurtful for me to know that that is the building where I struggled for my life. Now I can drive past that hospital with my head held high, because it holds the most beautiful memories that I will ever hold in this life. There is no greater gift, I believe, that a woman can give than life to a child. And if she believes that she can’t provide for that child forever, the next best thing that she can do for that child then is to give them the joy of being with another family for adoption. People can say all the time, ‘You shouldn’t have lived. How could you have lived?’ For me that answer is very simple. It was the Lord. He had every hand in it. The Lord packaged me this way and He made me the person that I am to go forth and share His message.”
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