Embracing a New Rhythm with Melissa Sonico

What does the fourth trimester mean to you?

The fourth trimester is still all about a smooth transition for Johanna into the world—and snuggles and sleep and love.

Tell me about your transition into motherhood. How has your identity as a woman shifted?

I was just thinking about this the other day! There’s definitely not as much spontaneity now; or, at least, it’s a different sort of spontaneity. I can’t just decide to go to the beach on my own, or meet some friends for dinner. Things are a bit more regimented but that’s okay. I would have to say motherhood has made me more in tune with being a woman. There’s a quote in Sheila Heti’s Motherhood: “You are not going to be a different woman entirely, so just be a slightly altered version of her, and relax.”

How do you take care of yourself in the Fourth Trimester?

Taking care is very subjective, and for me it’s a lot time with music and books and my bed! Also one-on-one time with not only myself but with my husband, and with Harrison.

For 9 months, the only home your baby knew was the warm comfort of your body. How have you been able to help your little one transition from womb to world?

All the closeness. I’ve just been enveloping her as much as possible— not too worried about smothering her! I did the same with Harrison and he’s pretty independent for the most part.

How have you discovered your new rhythm with baby?

I like to think I’ve gotten a rhythm down, but whenever I do, she takes another leap and we have to adjust again! But it’s so worth it.

Talk about how you trust your instincts as a new mama.

As a new mama to two, I try to figure out a balance with Harrison and Johanna and how to deal with feelings of not being able to be there for him as much as I used to be. It’s rough, but he’s such a sweet smart boy and I make sure to communicate with him and give him some mama time just the two of us.

How have you embraced your new life?

It’s definitely been a work in progress! I take things as they go more so than with Harrison and learn to be okay with plans being shifted and interrupted— most people are so understanding about it anyway!

A lot of people say “Sleep when the baby sleeps.” I found it absolutely impossible to do that. Any tips for people like me and first-time moms?

Same here. It was an impossibility with Harrison and Jojo seems like she’s the same. I just try to push through it; also having a support system like my mom and my husband gives me time to myself. It takes a village for sure.

When did you find using the Embrace carrier most helpful?

Disneyland! Anytime I feel like we’ll be out walking or with other people it’s nice because I know she’ll feel secure and even fall asleep for naps when she needs to and there isn’t a crib or bassinet available.

Can you give me an example of a time you asked for help? How have you built community around your new life as a mama?

I do a few different things for work, like teach college English, sell my jewelry, and various social media campaigns that take me away from home sometimes. I can always call on my sister or mom or Johnny, to help me have some time for my work. I also have my mama friends that I’ve met through Harrison’s classmates at Montessori. It’s helpful to have mom friends to lend a hand or just to listen when you need to vent!

Photos credit: Morgan Pansing

Christina is a mama, conservationist, DIY’er, vintage fanatic, dog lover and the Ergobaby director of community.

She is passionate about babies, babywearing, birth, yoga, natural living, and healthy eats. When not online reading and writing about all of the above, she can be found spending time with her daughter, creating their family story in Los Angeles.

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