Growing up, Melissa Ohden knew that she had been adopted, and her birth had been premature, but what she didn’t know what that her birth mother attempted to poison her to death.
But it was in a way many nowadays would consider fine, as it was an attempted abortion.
“I grew up knowing I’d been born prematurely, that I had been adopted,” Ohden said. “What I didn’t know was that there was this great secret behind all of this. That I should have been delivered dead, and instead I was born alive.”
Ohden did not know until she was 14 years old the real story of her birth and what was attempted.
“I was meant to be poisoned to death,” she told the BBC:
In 1977, in a hospital in the US state of Iowa, Melissa’s 19-year-old mother had undergone an abortion using a toxic saline solution over five days.
Born at eight months and weighing less than three pounds (1.3kg), Melissa was placed among medical waste.
That was, until a nurse heard her weak cries and slight movements.
Melissa was rushed to an intensive care unit, where – against the odds – she survived.
Melissa learned at the age of 14 that not only did her mother try to abort her, but when she was born, she was left to die amongst medical waste.
When she found out that she was left for dead as a newborn, she spiraled into a dark hole of depression and developed an eating disorder.
“I turned my pain upon myself,” she said. “It was a lonely place. I developed an eating disorder, struggled with alcohol abuse. I didn’t want to be me.”
Years later, Melissa was able to track down her birth mother with whom she had the difficult chat with about her attempted abortion. She learned that her mother did not want to abort Melissa, but her biological grandmother forced Melissa’s mother to do so.
Melissa’s birth mother also had no idea that Melissa had lived through the abortion, she had been under the impression that the procedure was successful the entire time.
Melissa told the BBC:
What I learned was my grandmother – her mother – was a prominent nurse in the community, and that the local abortionist was a friend of hers.
Together they literally forced the abortion on my birth mother against her will.
They were able to bypass the hospital regulations and procedures that my birth mother would have had to go through.
So people at the hospital thought it was her choice, and she had no opportunity to fight back.
Unlike millions of other babies, Odhen was able to survive one of the cruelest things anyone could ever go through.
After years of fighting depression, Ohden found peace in her story calling herself “one of the luckiest people in the world. She now travels as an international speaker to tell others about her survival story and the importance of life.