A daughter’s anniversary reminds us that contraceptives can kill

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erikaThere is one anniversary that Karen and Rick Langhart would prefer never to remember, but how could they forget? Three years ago today, their beloved daughter, at the age of 24, succumbed to a fatal double massive pulmonary embolism. Erika Langhart (pictured, right) was a successful and passionate young woman who had graduated magna cum laude from American University and was planning to go to Georgetown Law School. NuvaRing, a hormonal contraceptive manufactured by the giant pharmaceutical company Merck, was the cause of her death.

“If you knew Erika, it was her spirit that made the biggest impression,” as a friend of hers wrote posthumously. “Erika put her heart into her relationships with her friends and family.” Erika is not forgotten by her parents, who like any parents who have lost a child, try to cope best they can. “We don’t speak about Erika in the past,” Karen told us in a phone call.… click here to read whole article and make comments



Marriage vs. smoking

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The News Story - Massachusetts town could be first in the U.S. to ban all tobacco sales

Policymakers have long sought ways to reduce the incidence of tobacco use, but one town in Massachusetts is considering perhaps the most drastic measure of all.
Residents of Westminster are debating a proposed ban on all nicotine and tobacco products. “But,” reports The Associated Press, “while public health groups are lauding the proposal, smokers, their advocates and shopkeepers alike are fuming.” While some residents believe that private behavior should not be legislated, others worry about the economic effects that will certainly follow if smokers begin driving elsewhere to feed their addictions. Asks one shopkeeper, “If this passes, what could be next? Sugar? Bacon?”
But research indicates that until the residents of Westminster—and the rest of the country—reconsider beliefs on marriage and family, remedies such as… click here to read whole article and make comments



Positive peer pressure - four tips

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Over the weekend, 19-year old Georgina Bartter collapsed and died at a Sydney music festival from a suspected adverse reaction to drugs. Reading that awful story in a Sydney Morning Herald article, one quote stood out to me – “She had allergies and it was extremely out of character."

It stood out to me for two reasons – because of the obvious pull of peer pressure that ended in tragic loss of life; but also because just that weekend, a teenage girl was asking me how to discourage her friends from getting involved in unhealthy behaviours: such as substance abuse, excessive drinking, and casual sexual encounters.

This kind of thing really goes to show how important it is to teach your kids the dangers of certain social activities. But I think it suggests a step further: teenagers should be taught how to talk to their friends about substance abuse and other… click here to read whole article and make comments



You are not yourself on the Pill

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About 10 years ago I attended an intensive personal development program. It involved activities from rope courses in southern California to building outhouses in a homeless camp in Mexico. The goal was to develop qualities such as courage, compassion, vulnerability. In one exercise, I had to stand in front of my five team mates, all sitting in a circle, and express a very personal desire so that the mere energy coming out of me would make them stand up all at once. We were in a room where about 50 other teams were doing the same. After a few attempts, I got my team to rise as one and the whole room to hear when I exclaimed with the power of conviction: “I want to be myself!”

Being myself now is amazing. I am more realistic and real, think with more clarity and decisiveness, know… click here to read whole article and make comments



In good times and in bad

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About six months before I started dating my fiancé, I was pretty fed up with guys. My recent dates had not quite been up to scratch. So I wrote a list of what I was looking for – corny, I know – but something that helped me to get the frustration out and remind myself of what I deserved.

Generous, honest, a hard worker, confident - the list certainly wasn’t shallow. But there was one thing that I probably missed: could I suffer with them?

This week I read a great article on how the most overlooked characteristic we look for in a mate is whether we can suffer with them. At the beginning of a relationship, it’s normal to focus on the positive side of things, especially as everything is exciting and the future seems to have a rose-tinged glow, full of possibility. But the fact of the matter is… click here to read whole article and make comments



More marriage, stronger economy

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The News Story - Being married has a lot to do with economic success, scholars say

Nationally syndicated columnist Michelle Singletary trumpeted the results of a new study by W. Bradford Wilcox and Robert I. Lerman this week that demonstrated that the retreat from marriage has a lot to do with the state of our national economy.
Summarizing their findings, Singleton writes that “stable, two-parent families decrease the chance of people ending up impoverished. . . . The median income of families with children would have been 44 percent higher in 2012 had we had the same level of married parenthood as we did in the 1980s, the report says.”  Singleton agrees, arguing that her own marriage is testament to the institution’s ability to pull men and women alike into better economic situations than they would have expected.  The gap between rich and poor will only… click here to read whole article and make comments



Childbirth rids you of creativity – true or false?

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“I would have been either 100 per cent mother or 100 per cent artist. I am not flaky and I don’t compromise…There are good artists that have children… they are called men.” These are the recent comments of English artist, Tracey Emin, who thinks that having children could be the difference between being a good artist or a great artist – as in, you can’t be a great artist if you have kids.

Anyone else's hackles raised in feminist indignation? Luckily not just mine - as evident by a comeback article by artist, Venus Backfire. She says: “As both a female artist, represented by a respected London gallery, and a mother, I don’t know what I find more offensive; that I can no longer be “good,” that I am perceived as “flaky,” or that I am apparently unable to commit fully to either my child or career.” And doesn’t she… click here to read whole article and make comments



Natural birth control - a man’s point of view

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Think of children in an inner-city context, growing up without knowing anything else. When they’re exposed to a country setting - or mountains, or the beach - it may be exciting, but it can also be uncomfortable and even scary for them. They’d rather retreat back to the confined, polluted and unsafe environment that they’re used to. We can all agree however that they miss out. In the same way, most men have been conditioned to women being on contraceptives. They can hardly imagine the world without them and they need help (hello women!); they need to be taken there the first time and shown that it’s actually a safer, better place to breathe.

That’s my story.

I came to natural birth control by accident. Twice, and the second time it took. The first time was when my wife and I had been married about three years. We decided to conceive our second… click here to read whole article and make comments



The high cost of modern heartbreak

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Heartbreak. It ain’t what it used to be. Seems like a weird thing to say, but you can call me convinced after reading this recent article from Time. Here are five parts of modern life that affect the dynamics of heartbreak:

People are getting married later

According to the statistics, over 50% of Americans aged 25-34 have never been married, but the majority hope to wed one day. This suggests that many of the people in this age group are still working towards that goal of love – as opposed to my parents’ generation, where the norm was to marry in one’s early twenties.

There are a few ways that this affects heartbreak. For one, there is not as much support for a working young professional as there would be for someone still living at home, where others are around to show them a bit of love. As well, heartbreak later in life is… click here to read whole article and make comments



Not the voice of my generation

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During one of the first episodes of the popular HBO show Girls, Lena Dunham’s character Hannah tells her parents, “I don’t want to freak you out, but I think that I may be the voice of my generation—or at least a voice of a generation.” Dunham, who rose to fame after the success of Girls and her “First Time” campaign ad for Barack Obama in 2012, has truly come to see herself as exactly that, the voice of my generation. But, is she? 

In her recently released book, “Not That Kind of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She's ‘Learned’”, Dunham echoes the themes of “Girls”, which include -- sex, dating, friends, food, mental illness and other issues facing young women today. But, as in the TV show, the underlying theme of every topic is almost always ...… click here to read whole article and make comments


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Family Edge looks at news and trends affecting the family in the light of human dignity. Our focus is the inspiring, creative, humorous, annoying, ridiculous, and dangerous ideas in the evening news. Send tips and brainwaves to the editor, Tamara Rajakariar, at tamara.rajakariar@

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