The ultimate sacrifice—Redefining family

24 Oct

Mino, Nicci and Avery Johnson celebrating
Avery’s first birthday party. -Courtesy

By Stephanie McGee

This is another story from my teen mother series. I find it so amazing how each and every person has such a different story to tell.

Nicci Johnson never imagined the life she was about to encounter at the young age of 17.

Attending Cheyenne East High School, Nicci became emancipated after both her parents died in previous years. This is when she met her husband, Mino Johnson. “We got married in April 2012, I was 17 and he was 21,” said Nicci.

Four days after their wedding, Nicci’s husband Mino, being in the Marine Corps, was stationed in Japan. “We were waiting to be approved so I could move in with my him and because of the long process, I moved in with my in-laws,” said Nicci. “I decided to finish high school online to focus without any outside influences.”

Nicci finished high school October 2012, a year earlier than her regular graduating class. Still in the long process of trying to get approval to move to Japan, Nicci and Mino maintained a Skype relationship for about eight months. “I hardly went anywhere except maybe to the gym or lunch with friends,” said Nicci. “We were ready for a visit but tickets were expensive.”

Lifestyle change

Nicci said they talked about all the things they wanted to experience and one of them was to try having a baby. “I visited him in Japan for 23 days in December 2012 and after I returned to Wyoming I was late for my period, nauseous and tired and I had a few cramps,” said Nicci. “I decided to take my first secret pregnancy test in January, when it showed up positive I was dancing on the toilet in happiness and fear all at the same time.”

“On Skype later I showed Mino the test, he smiled so big, then said he’d call me back,” said Nicci. “He wanted to go tell his friend down the hall in the barracks and leave me hanging!”

Nicci said she was scared because she was 18 years old, living with her in-laws and her husband was thousands of miles away. “All I could think was am I going to be able to live with him, is he going to be their for ultrasounds or the birth, even the first few months of life at least?” said Nicci. “Most teen moms worry about whether the dad will have anything to do with the baby, I was just wondering if I’d have the option to have him there due to the military.”

“Most teen moms worry about whether the dad will have anything to do with the baby, I was just wondering if I’d have the option to have him there due to the military.” -Nicci Johnson



The big one-year-old. -Courtesy

A unique sacrifice

When Nicci found out she was expecting, her and her husband decided to request approval for her to be moved to Japan again, and they finally approved it.

“I was then 22.5 weeks pregnant, packing and getting ready to take a 24 hour flight(s) to Okinawa Japan alone and leave all my family and friends behind,” said Nicci.

“In March I had started college through Allied American University, a university that offers online learning degree and certificate programs for enabled working professionals, stay-at-home parents, military service members and disabled individuals,” said Nicci. “I tried to focus on my schooling. I was on the Dean’s list three times and the presidents list once.”

“The hardest part about starting my family, between marriage and having a baby, is that neither of my parents will get to meet my husband or my children,” said Nicci. “Dealing with that is hard but it definitely makes me stronger and I talk about my parents to Avery when I can.”

Make every day count 

“I had Avery September 2013, he is about 13 months now, and even though money is tight and things don’t always go as planned, being a young mother is amazing,” said Nicci. “I’m currently a stay-at-home mother and wife and I am hoping to continue my education and start my own baby clothing, diaper and accessory line.”

“…being a young mother is amazing.”

Nicci said she feels so great  knowing as a young mom, she was able to accomplish so much, especially living in a foreign country, which she never thought she would even get to visit. “However, it is very scary knowing any second I could be raising Avery on my own if my husband were to go on an exercise or deployment any time,” said Nicci.

Her advice for new mothers:

  • Use cloth diapers
  • Breastfeed
  • Find support groups through whatever resource possible
  • Do what you can to keep the dads involved. Whether you are together, separated or want nothing to do with each other, it’s good for the kiddos.
  • Put down the electronics. Time goes by too fast and there are so many things that you could be experiencing if it weren’t for your phone or computer.
  • Involve your kids in as much as you can but find time for yourself too. We all need a break.
  • You’re going to make mistakes. You are human. But kids will forgive you and eventually understand why you do the things you do. Kids don’t always understand things, so sometimes you have to put yourself in their shoes to realize.
  • Make sure that you’re open-minded as a parent, but stand by your opinions whole-heartedly.

“Time with your kids and lots of love is all they truly need.”


Other blogs by Stephanie:
Car enthusiasts start out small to make it big
The ultimate sacrifice—Forever a teen mom

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