Order a signed, personalized copy of Birth & What Came After: poems on motherhood by Jessica Bates.
an excerpt from the poem Feeding
O, drink from me, sweet son
who came from the black depths
of my body.
You latch on and power up,
drawing energy from my currents.
I shoot you little shards
of bone and with them your body
continues its work, building the bone, brewing the blood, fattening
the folds of you.
You suck and I tingle from skull to heel,
struck with a tuning fork and humming
in the blue light of a darkened bedroom.
I try to feel my own edges in the
low light. I send my mind to the
outer edges of me — where do I end?
I send myself to my innermost edges,
and I see that in both directions
I am infinite.
About the Book
Birth & motherhood transform us, and they shake our foundation with sacred, unconditional love. These 56 poems reflect on birth, motherhood, breastfeeding, raising children, confronting fears, and feeling joy in a fleeting moment. Jessica wrote the book to feed her own hunger, as the words flowed freely after she gave birth to her son in 2014. She updated the book in the summer of 2018, because so many readers had written messages to her wanting to write their own poems. Now the book includes 10 writing prompts in the back to spark your creativity.
Birth & What Came After is the perfect gift for a new or seasoned mother, and it’s also a great read for those of us who aren’t mothers. Birth is universal. We all came from woman, so let’s celebrate the power to give life.
Jessica’s read her poems twice on the First Latch podcast. In episode 2, she reads the poem Weaning and discusses how Birth & What Came After came to be. In episode 25, Coping with Loss, Jessica reads several poems about her miscarriage, and sharing them has helped her heal. Her miscarriage poems will be released in a follow-up collection to Birth & What Came After, coming in the Spring of 2019.
Jessica Bates released Birth & What Came After on May 9, 2017, and since then she has been floored by the amount of mothers, doulas, birthworkers, and humans who have connected with her words.
Leaked Box, a curated gift box for breastfeeding mothers by the woman behind the NormalizeBreastfeeding Instagram account, selected the book for her September 2018 box.