Jessica Bates

writer | reader | mother | lover

Birth & What Came After

Everyone has a mother. Many of us have children in our lives, even if they aren’t ours by blood. Children take a lot of work. After Jessica Bates gave birth to her first child in 2014, she wrote poems about birth, motherhood, breastfeeding, and sleepy baby days. She also wrote about fears that come with mothering, and the bond of family across generations.

Jessica wanted to bring to light some of the issues, complications, joys, fears, and major feelings that parenting bring out. With encouragement and support from her writing club The Paper State, she birthed her second child in the form of this book.

Birth & What Came After: poems on motherhood was published on May 9, 2017. It’s available on Amazon (in print & on Kindle) and in local Nashville boutiques, including From Nashville With Love & Atmalogy.

You can hear Jessica Bates and Barbara Demske, founder of The First Latch breastfeeding community, talk boobs, babies, VBACs, and beyond on episode 2 of The First Latch podcast. You can also hear Jessica read the poem Weaning there, the poem that Barbara connected with while feeding her (probably) last nursling.

Jessica has twice been a guest on Everyday Poetry with Sandee Gertz on Radio Free Nashville. The first show featured Birth & What Came After, and the second show highlighted Jessica and Sandee’s female writing influences.

Since releasing Birth & What Came After, Jessica has connected with mothers in person & online who have all been in the trenches of fear, loneliness, and soul-crushing love that are the postpartum period.

In March, Jessica took over the No Bullshit Motherhood instagram account for a few days and shared her poem Feeding from Birth & What Came After, as well as a portion of a piece on her recent miscarriage. She received such an outpouring of love, support, empathy, and commiseration that she published her full miscarriage piece in hopes that it will help others heal as it helped her heal.


*The cover photo for Birth & What Came After was shot by the incredible Nashville-based international wedding photographer Jennifer Cody.*

“This beautiful book of poetry fell into my lap just very recently. I was nursing my youngest son who is 22 months old reading a poem on weaning. The emotions that overcame my soul I’m not yet able to articulate, but I knew instantly I needed more. I am so incredibly thankful to have found this work of art. Breastfeeding and motherhood changes us in our core and we are all connected in this way. This is an amazing gift for any mama you know.”

— Barbara Demske, The First Latch


“An authentic look into the journey of motherhood. It is raw and pure and captivating. It tugged at my heart strings and ached into my womb.”

— 5 star Goodreads review


“Each poem gives a beautiful, truthful glimpse of the precious and painful moments before and after the birth of a child. It shows the strength & bond of women, family, and ourselves, & it surprised me with a dabble of death. Heartfelt and full of themes that connect us all as mothers, it is exceptionally written and should be shared. It made me laugh, and cry, and gave me new perspective. I will read it again & again & enjoy it more each time.”

— 5 star Amazon review


“Jessica Bates definitely has a way of weaving words into a gorgeous tapestry, and I look forward to reading more by this author.”

— 5 star Goodreads review


Jessica Bates


Jessica Bates Writer

Jessica Bates is a writer, a Nashville native, and a reading enthusiast. Her grandfather sold books to schools and book fairs, so she grew up around lots of books.

Jessica loves clubs. She frequents a monthly writing club & a monthly creative club that is working through The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. Jessica also runs a book club where she reads great books (and some weird ones, too), and enjoys discussing them over coffee, wine, or tea.

You can find Jessica on Instagram, where she loves sharing her current reads & other randomness. She also blogs haphazardly. To stay in the know about Jessica’s future writing projects, sign up for her newsletter. She emails once a month at most & is very serious about privacy. (So serious that her current WIP is a novel about privacy…)

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