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YOU CARRIED ME by Melissa Ohden


A Daughter's Memoir

by Melissa Ohden

Pub Date: Jan. 9th, 2017
ISBN: 978-0-87486-788-6
Publisher: Plough

A memoir of mothers, daughters, adoption, and abortion.

“Many people think abortion is a discrete act that has no lasting effect,” writes Ohden, the founder of the Abortion Survivors Network, in her debut book. “They are so wrong! Abortion can’t be compartmentalized and is never forgotten. And its effects ripple through generations.” The author shares her feelings of shame, guilt, embarrassment, and anger when she learned, at age 14, that she was the survivor of a botched abortion procedure. Weighing less than 3 pounds at birth and suffering from respiratory distress, she was barely surviving when her adoptive parents took her home at 2 months old. Ohden always knew she was adopted: "it just was—a fact of life as ordinary as the sunshine in the morning, the starlight in the evenings, and the cozy walls around me.” Thankfully, she was supported by a loving family and welcoming church community. A childhood argument with her adoptive sister revealed the author’s birth story, and she spent a decade struggling to come to terms with having been an unwanted baby, turning her experience and insights into a rewarding career in social work. Upon locating her birth father, she reached out to him only to discover that he had passed away; her birth mother proved harder to locate. At the same time, her life continued forward with marriage and her own experiences with birth, miscarriage, and a second daughter, who was born with significant medical issues. She also continued to work toward resolving her religious beliefs with her experiences. Ohden's story is complicated, and she has impressively overcome significant emotional challenges. Unfortunately, the writing is merely average, and the narrative has the feel of a transcript or summary of events and emotions and how her faith saw her through.

Ohden’s perseverance is inspiring, but the presentation lacks the emotional and literary heft her important story warrants.