Porter perseveres after pregnancy

Diamond+and+Ny%27Omi+before+a+family+event.
Diamond and Ny'Omi before a family event.

Diamond and Ny'Omi before a family event.

Diamond and Ny'Omi before a family event.

Madison McGirr, Web Editor

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With America’s glamorization of teen pregnancy due to popular reality TV shows like “Teen Mom” and “The Secret Life of the American Teenager,” the importance of safe sex has been a facet to many health courses throughout modern years, even in Solon High School. In 2015, almost 230,000 babies were born to adolescent females (aged 15 to 19), totaling a rate of 22.3 births per 1,000 teenagers. One high school student affected by adolescent pregnancy is Diamond Porter, a senior here at SHS.

Last year, Porter was a star athlete and typical high school student at age 16. She had started dating a boy and soon after, realized she was pregnant.

“[I was] just shocked and disappointed in myself,” Porter said. “I knew my parents raised me to be a certain way and everyone is out here [having sex], but you never think something would happen to you like it did for me. I felt like I let myself down.”

Shortly after her discovery, she told her parents. Kamique Porter, her mother, took the news poorly at first but later offered a more understanding view. Kamique was a teenage mother herself, which gave Diamond a strong support system.

“I think that the [hardest] part of it was just letting her know that she can do it, but she might have to do it by herself,” Kamique said. “[She’s] not married, [she’s] young, [the father] may or may not be here, [I told her to] just accept the responsibility of being a mom, no matter what comes your way. You have to protect your baby at all costs, you have to be there no matter who is or [isn’t] there.”

Even with the initial negative reception from her parents, Diamond was adamant on keeping her baby. So after the initial shock, Diamond and her family worked out logistically how she would manage all of her responsibilities in the coming months. Diamond, not wanting to sacrifice anything, was determined to continue her athletic success.

Ny’Omi wearing Michael Jordan jersey.

“She played basketball up until her 20th week of pregnancy,” Kamique said. “I personally [advised her] to sit it out, but she said ‘No, let’s see what the doctor says, I have to play.’ The doctor gave her permission to play up until 20 weeks and that girl rolled on that floor and did her thing up until those 20 weeks. She finished the whole basketball season. That was a moment of total perseverance.”

Along with varsity basketball and school, Diamond also had to juggle a job at McDonald‘s. She described the tribulations she went through while being a student-athlete and part-time worker.

“I would go from school to basketball practice to work so my feet would start hurting really badly,” she said. “When I worked, I would sit down and I would have coworkers talking about me saying that I was lazy and don’t work, but I was in so much pain.  I handled everything the same way I did besides that though. I still had the same hustle, the same grind.”

Diamond also took on the role of parent graciously. She had booked every doctor’s appointment on her own, along with doing research on parenthood in her limited free time. Kamique described how badly Diamond wanted to provide for  her child.

“She just wanted to be a great mom,” Kamique said. “I would come home and she would be in her room with tears in her eyes and she’d be on the computer and say ‘I’m trying to figure out where I can go to school, where I can live…’ and I would have to calm her down. [I told her] we got this, relax, it’s gonna be okay. You have a great support system, if you’re ever tired, you have a host of family.”

Diamond, Ny’Omi and Kamique posing for a photo.

Diamond’s dexterity has not only been tested by her pregnancy, but also by her peers. While Diamond and her family were awaiting with open arms and hearts for her child, some of her schoolmates did not share the same caring attitude.

“People just talked down on me so much without knowing my background,” Diamond said. “They just assumed things about me. When I got pregnant people said ‘She’s a hoe’ and ‘She doesn’t know her baby daddy.’ Even my closest friends talking about it. There were lots of rumors about me.  People would say like my baby would turn out to be r******d and that I’m not going to make it far in life and stuff like that.”

The rumors about her didn’t faze her for long though, as her support system only grew stronger in response. Amari, Diamond’s best friend since her freshman year and her child’s godmother, gave moral support through hard times.

“I knew she would have it all worked out and could handle it,” she said. “ She’s always been very responsible and would tackle every obstacle given to her since we’ve been friends.”

Soon, Diamond gave birth to Ny’Omi  on July 17, 2017. After a rough two days of labor and cesarean section (c-section) birth, her daughter was finally in her arms. She said she believed all of the trouble she went through was worth it the moment she saw Ny’Omi.

“When I first heard Ny’Omi cry I just busted out in tears, doped up and everything,” Diamond said. “I was just crying. I was crying for a week straight. I would look at her and be like ‘That’s my baby, I made that.’”

Ny’Omi laughing at Diamond.

After Ny’Omi’s birth, Diamond made up her mind to become the sole parent of her daughter. Through working two jobs and going to doctor’s appointments alone, she has demonstrated the importance of establishing her role as a mother.

“I always said if one of my children had a child early, I was going to allow them to be the parent so that I could be the grandmother,” Kamique said. “I feel like a lot of times parents [of a teen mom] take that role of mother, then the [biological] mother ends up being the big sister. That doesn’t teach the concept of what the responsibility of having a child is. But to my surprise, Diamond was a natural and loves her baby. She’s a mom, it just clicks for her. Hat off, I get to be granny.”

Ny’Omi has given Diamond not only happiness, but motivation to succeed even more. Even with her busy schedule, she carves out time to make sure her baby is healthy and happy. Whether it’s waking up at midnight and staying up for hours to rock Ny’Omi back to sleep or spending countless hours making and attending doctor’s appointments, Diamond is dedicated to her child. Even Kamique has noticed her dedication and said she feels as though Ny’Omi has given Diamond a work ethic she’s never seen before.

“I’m proud of her,” Kamique said. “I love what having Ny’Omi has done for her. It’s grown her up a little quicker. Some of the frivolous stuff that teenagers do, or get into, she doesn’t care about that stuff anymore. She doesn’t have that desire to be in drama or be in the know. Diamond just wants to take care of her baby.”

While Diamond’s role as a mother has just begun, her future is still as bright as it was before teenage parenthood. Diamond plans to spend next fall attending Kent State University and commuting in order to raise her daughter at her family’s house in Solon. However, it’s just a bonus that Diamond has an opportunity to further her education. To her, Ny’Omi is worth more than anything.

“[She gives me something] to look forward to,” she said. “Something to come home to. Some people go home and eat some food, some people come home and watch TV, some people go home just to sleep. I get to come home and see her face and I [think] ‘I do all of this for you.’ I’m working, I go to school, I’m doing what I have to do for her just to come home and see her smile. I just hear her laugh and feel like I’m accomplishing something for a reason.”

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