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An Advocate for All

Between working on the Shelby County School Board of Education and becoming a dad, Reginald Porter is gaining a new perspective on life.

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Parenthood

Now the proud parents of 4-month-old twins girls, Sophie and Rowan, Sonya’s pregnancy came as a huge surprise. In fact, it was a discovery they made on the eve of Porter’s election on August 1st, 2012. “I have a plan for everything,” says Sonya, “and the plan was to be pregnant in December and have a baby in the summer!” So much for planning.

Once pregnant, the next surprise surfaced at Sonya’s eight-week ultrasound, “I looked at Reggie’s face and could tell something was wrong. Then I knew there were two,” she says, noting that twins run in the family.

To celebrate, Reggie teasingly suggested having an all-male baby shower, and Acting Superintendent Dorsey Hopson obliged, bringing 40 men together to share their journeys as fathers. There were many stories from the trenches. In fact, one dad talked about the helplessness he felt during his baby’s bout with colic, and as he broke down and cried, several other men joined him, understanding the frustration that comes when fixing something that’s impossible.

Sonya’s pregnancy went perfectly and at 39 weeks, she delivered the twins via C-section. Reggie cleared his calendar, taking off three weeks so they could both adjust to life with newborns. By that time, the board was strong and “they pushed around things on the agenda until I returned,” says Reggie.

Between parenthood, careers, and the school board, Reggie and Sonya have their hands full. At the moment, Sonya is a stay-at-home mom. But she’ll return to school in July. So how does this couple make it work? One of their golden rules is not to talk shop at home. “We don’t want it to burden us as a couple,” says Sonya. “Reggie will ask a question about how policy might effect parents, but it’s just an occasional thing, to get my input.” With more than 15 years in the system, it is input he values.

Becoming a father has given Porter new insights, “I can now empathize more with parents, and it adds to the motivation I already had. Some committee members didn’t think I could be on the committee without kids, but I’m an advocate for all.”

 

THE GOODS

Nursery decorating ideas: Pinterest

Disposables or cloth: Cloth diaper inserts by gDiaper

Favorite nursery item: Shadow boxes Sonya made featuring the girls’ nursery caps, bracelets, and gowns

How they told their parents: The couple bought two pairs of baby shoes but only gave one initially. “When we gave them the second, my mom flipped out,” says Sonya. “She cried all night.”

Favorite family outing: Walking their “first baby” Zoe, a Pomeranian, with the girls at Shelby Farms

 

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