Couple combats war, post traumatic stress disorder together
Amanda and Robert Melicio on their wedding day in 2008. They met while serving in the Iraq war.
September 8th, 2012
06:02 PM ET

Couple combats war, post traumatic stress disorder together

By Rusty Dornin, Special to CNN

(CNN) - Roberto and Amanda Melecio share many of the same nightmares.

They don't like crowds, rarely trust anyone and both suffer serious bouts of depression.  Married since 2005, they are both Iraq War veterans, and each has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.

When Amanda Melecio came back from Iraq in 2005, she struggled to be the person she once was. "When I came home I couldn't socialize," Melicio says. "I have a lot of anxiety."

Her husband Roberto served as a scout and an Army combat engineer and disarmed bombs. "I was a human bulletproof vest," he jokes. He rarely sleeps and suffers from horrific nightmares. He struggles with his temper.

"We're not the normal couple. My wife and I are a rare breed." he says. "We happened to meet in the war."

While studies show women in the general population are twice as likely to suffer from post-traumatic stress as men, the rates for returning veterans are about the same - 20% for both men and women.

"We're definitely seeing more duel PTSD cases with returning vets," says Candice Monson, a clinical expert on how post-traumatic stress disorder affects couples.  "It's largely a product of the changing policy of women in the military. While women are not supposed to be in combat, the reality is they are."


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Filed under: Family • Health • How we live • Veterans • Who we are • Women
September 5th, 2012
10:48 AM ET

Opinion: Michelle Obama has redefined black women

Editor's note: Sophia A. Nelson is a columnist and political analyst. She is the author of "Black Woman Redefined: Dispelling Myths and Discovering Fulfillment in the Age of Michelle Obama."

By Sophia A. Nelson, Special to CNN

I still pinch myself every time I see her.

I still well up with tears every time she walks into a room. I stand taller, with a smile, every time she delivers a passionate speech about her deep love for her country or her commitment to the families of our military. I have had the privilege of sitting with her in the White House kitchen garden tasting honey and apples, interviewing her about her new book, and I have been blessed to laugh with her during the Christmas holidays as the White House photographer snapped our picture with the president.

But I still find it hard to believe that my first lady is a woman of color: a strong, beautiful, accomplished black woman. Michelle Obama is elegant, educated, and full of grace. But what makes her so special is that she is still a down-to-earth "sister girl" raised in Chicago’s Southside.

Opinion: Michelle's personal story a political triumph

On Tuesday night she told America, and the world, her story. But what she did for millions of black women and girls here, and around the globe, was humanize us. She softened us. She made us part of the American fabric in a way no one else ever could. Without ever uttering a word about race in her speech,  Obama’s very presence on the world stage - her arms well-defined, her dress fierce, her hair shiny-silky with a flip curl to boot - made us no longer invisible.

Michelle Obama convention speech dress dazzles, scores


August 29th, 2012
11:27 AM ET

Five things we learned at the Republican National Convention

By Paul Steinhauser and Kevin Liptak, CNN

(CNN) - The first full day of the Republican National Convention was heavy with female speakers and light on the red meat that normally fires up the base. Here are five things we learned from the convention's first night:

Ann Romney's speech lives up to expectations

Ann Romney spelled it out right near the top of her speech: "I want to talk to you tonight not about politics and not about party."

Instead, her mission was to present to voters a softer and warmer side of her husband, something that polls show isn't apparent to many Americans.

Read the full story


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Filed under: 2012 Election • Family • Gender • Politics • Who we are • Women
August 26th, 2012
08:29 PM ET

Romney on faith, family and private life

By Kevin BohnMelissa Dunst and Courtney Yager, CNN

(CNN) - It is a side of Mitt Romney the public often does not see - opening up about his faith, devotion to his family and his work as a Mormon overseas missionary and later church leader at home.

In a rare discussion of these topics, he described to CNN Chief Political Analyst Gloria Borger his 2½ years as a teenager serving as a church missionary in France. He said that period helped "ground my relationship with God" and cement his beliefs.

When Romney sat down with Borger this summer for CNN's documentary "Romney Revealed: Family, Faith and the Road to Power," it was while he was campaigning and fundraising in Indiana - and just a day before he secretly met with Rep. Paul Ryan to offer him the No.2 slot on the Republican ticket.

8 ways faith will matter at the RNC

While it might be expected Romney would be guarded and on message as he is usually is on the campaign trail, he was candid on a range of topics - from his private life to religion to his wife - areas he rarely has talked about.

As he prepares to accept his party's nomination for president, Romney and his team are trying to show the voting public a more personal side of the candidate.

Read the full post

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Filed under: 2012 Election • Family • Politics • Who we are
July 31st, 2012
05:17 PM ET

Nannies: The 'other' mothers

CNN's Lisa Sylvester looks into the role nannies play in raising other people's children on The Situation Room.

I'm her mom, not the nanny!

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Filed under: Family • How we live • Who we are
July 31st, 2012
08:00 AM ET

Obama's family tree connection to first American slave

By Lesa Jansen, CNN

(CNN) - His family tree has been linked to Brad Pitt, Sarah Palin and both Presidents Bush but now President Barack Obama may be related to the first documented African slave in pre-revolutionary America.

Ancestry.com, which bills itself as the world's largest online family history resource, on Monday released research and documents which it says shows the first indentured African American servant is an ancestor of President Obama's mother.

"We have two of the most significant Africans in our country's history being directly related to each other," Joseph Shumway, an Ancestry.com genealogist, told CNN.

Shumway was part of a team of four genealogists who say they worked more than 500 hours to establish the connection between Obama's family and that of John Punch, an indentured servant who was sentenced to a life of slavery after an unsuccessful escape attempt in pre-revolutionary Virginia.

The Ancestry.com researchers found the new connection to the president's African roots through an unlikely link, that of Obama's Caucasian mother.  President Obama's African American roots had previously been tied to his father's Kenyan birth. But as genealogists were pouring through documents tracing Stanley Ann Dunham’s ancestors, they found a connection to the Bunch family which had recently published DNA evidence that they had roots in sub-Saharan Africa. (see documents here)

Read the full post on CNN's The 1600 Report

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Filed under: Black in America • Family • History • Relationships • Who we are
If Marissa Mayer can 'have it all,' can you?
After being with her son for the first 12 weeks of his life, Jennifer Compton wishes she could spend more time with him.
July 19th, 2012
11:00 AM ET

If Marissa Mayer can 'have it all,' can you?

By Emanuella Grinberg, CNN

(CNN) - Depending who you ask, Yahoo's decision to hire Marissa Mayer several months into her pregnancy is either a boon to all working mothers or a misstep for the ailing tech company.

"Talk about lousy timing. She'll be taking maternity leave when she needs to be at work. Yahoo has enough problems without a part-time CEO," one commenter said in response to the Fortune article announcing news of her pregnancy.

Opinion: What signal is Marissa Mayer giving to Yahoo employees?

"It is quite possible that she can do both effectively, but it is not un-'evolved' to express concern," another said, referring to Mayer's comment that Yahoo's directors demonstrated "evolved thinking" in choosing to hire a pregnant chief executive.

"As a Yahoo shareholder, I am very concerned and have every reason to be."

It's possible that Mayer anticipated these reactions when she revealed her plan to work during her maternity leave so she could "stay in the rhythm of things." Her announcement reignited an already hot debate over whether women can "have it all" and how family leave policies make it hard to juggle a successful career and family.

Opinion: No one at the top gets to have it all

But Mayer isn't your typical working mother, and some believe her experience reflects the extreme demands that corporate America places on men and women alike and how that translates to national policy.

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July 18th, 2012
03:53 PM ET

Will the Vera Wang fairy tale fall apart at the seams?

By Sarah LeTrent, CNN

(CNN) - Last week, powerhouse wedding gown designer Vera Wang announced that she and her husband of 23 years, Arthur Becker, were separating.

"Vera Wang and Arthur Becker have mutually and amicably agreed to separate. They remain devoted parents to their two daughters," Mario Grauso, the president of the Vera Wang Group, said in a statement to CNN.

The couple married in 1989 when Wang was a design director at Ralph Lauren and Becker was a stockbroker at Bear Stearns & Co. Before her tenure at Ralph Lauren, Wang worked at Vogue magazine for more than 15 years.

Wang, 63, launched her label in 1990, a year after her own wedding, with a prestigious Madison Avenue address on New York City's Upper East Side. She opened Bridal House Ltd., as it was called at the time, because she noticed something was missing from bridal gowns during her own wedding planning: art.

Tamara Albu, an associate professor of fashion design at Parsons The New School of Design, said Wang revolutionized the way people looked at the wedding gown; she upped the sophistication and made the gown an expression of a state of mind, not just a marker of a special occasion.

"She understands women who embrace fashion. In her case, she markets the wedding gown as a personification of love and beauty, not herself," she said.

However, Wang's recent announcement has caused speculation as to whether her fairy-tale aesthetic will be affected by her own not-so-happily-ever-after ending.

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Filed under: Family • How we look • Relationships • Women
July 11th, 2012
03:51 PM ET

Official: Mom leaves mentally disabled daughter at bar, refuses to retrieve her

By Jack Maddox, CNN

(CNN) - An Illinois woman who left her mentally disabled daughter outside a Tennessee bar cannot be charged with a crime, police said Tuesday.

Police in Caryville, Tennessee, said the daughter is 19 and not assigned to a legal guardian.

"As terrible as it is, unfortunately there is nothing we can do," Assistant Police Chief Stephanie Smith said. "There is no doubt we need a law for mental health rights, but pending this investigation, we just don't know what else to do."

According to police, Eva Cameron stopped at the Big Orange Bar in Caryville on June 28 when her daughter, Lynn, needed to use the restroom.

The mother left Lynn by the side of the road and returned to her home in Algonquin, Illinois, according to Smith.

"(Lynn) didn't know her age, she didn't know her address, she didn't know her phone number and she didn't even know her name," Smith said.

Eva Cameron told the Northwest Herald newspaper in Illinois that she brought Lynn to Caryville because of its concentration of Baptists and because Tennessee has the "No. 1 health care system in the United States of America."

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Filed under: Disabilities • Family • How we live
June 27th, 2012
11:00 AM ET

Opinion: No one at the top gets to have it all

Editor’s note: Carolyn Edgar is a lawyer and writer in New York City. She writes about social issues, parenting and relationships on her blog, Carolyn Edgar. Follow her on Twitter @carolynedgar.

By Carolyn Edgar, Special to CNN

(CNN) -Anne-Marie Slaughter’s much-discussed article in The Atlantic, “Why Women Still Can’t Have It All,”  contains an inconsistency: after describing all the reasons why she had to give up her “dream job,” Slaughter writes: “Only when women wield power in sufficient numbers will we create a society that genuinely works for all women. That will be a society that works for everyone.”

It’s hard to imagine how well the utopian society Slaughter describes will work for female leaders. Those women will still be forced to struggle with the challenges Slaughter describes of trying to hold a position at the top of one’s field while maintaining one’s commitments to family and community.

The truth is, no one – male or female – who wants to work at the top gets to “have it all.” No one gets to be CEO of a Fortune 100 corporation, or managing partner at an international law firm, or United States senator – or President–without making significant personal sacrifices.

Opinion: Why is 'having it all' a women's issue?

I experienced this first hand. FULL POST

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