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writer, reader, mother, lover

My first book is for sale & I’m feeling feelings

Jessica bates birth poems motherhoodSince my son was born 2+ years ago I’ve been writing poems. Some were typed on my phone in the sleepy morning hours before dawn, cradling a newborn.

Some poems were scratched into journals that live haphazardly around my home. Some poems were typed hurriedly on my computer. I started collecting them in Scrivener. I realized, wow, I have enough for a book. So I fleshed them out, added a few poems that seemed worthy additions to the collection of birth & motherhood poems.

My friends in my writing group (Hey, Paper Staters!) listened to many of these birth & motherhood poems before they were complete.

They nodded and encouraged me, and they gave me excellent advice on edited them further. They told me, YES!, publish them!, when I expressed slight fear or doubt. Most of them (practically all of them) didn’t have children, and still the poems resonated with them. They had mothers, of course.

So, with the poems complete I began formatting the inside of the book. I created a cover with a photo my motherhood poems Jessica batesphotographer friend shot years ago when my boy was still a baby. We took that photo of me nursing on a whim. I had seen a photo of Katie Vigos, founder of Empowered Birth Project, on Instagram. She was nursing her son nude, and it was beautiful and tastefully done. I sent the photo to Cody Emberton, an excellent photographer and old friend. She jumped on it! She said, “I have free studio time next week, come in and let’s do a breastfeeding photo shoot!” And I almost lost my nerve, but I went through with it. The cover photo from my book is a perfect symbol of the softness, the grace, and the sacrifice that comes with motherhood, breastfeeding, and parenting. I will forever treasure the photos from that shoot. The photo inspired a Canadian artist, Priscilla Charbonneau, to paint a portrait of me nursing my son! She graciously allowed me to include a photo of her painting at the end of my book.

And then it was time to release. The feelings!! I had pretty much moved past the fear of sharing my poems, of having them in the world to be judged or hissed at. I believe these poems aren’t just for mothers (though mothers will probably really empathize with them). These poems are for everyone.

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. And I wanted to bring light to some of the issues, complications, joys, fears, and major feelings that having a child bring out. So, I birthed my second child in the form of this book, Birth & What Came After. It’s available on Amazon.

I’ve had such wonderful support from my friends & family. The support floored me. I was a heaping puddle of feelings, crying into my wine. I think this book would make an excellent Mother’s Day gift for any mom you adore. Or just buy it for yourself. Or tell your friends.

It’s my heart on a platter, and I’m ready for you to take a bite.

And if you’ve read Birth & What Came After, please take a quick minute to leave a review on Amazon. As an independent author, reviews help tremendously, and I would be forever grateful if you wrote some words on how these poems touched you.

Thanks so much. I feel like I’m flying.

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