Jess Urlichs gets raw and honest about motherhood in Beautiful Chaos

Jessica Urlichs has always had a passion for poetry – but not in the way you might expect.

Jessica Urlichs doesn’t keep a poetry book on her bedside table, didn’t study it in school, and she doesn’t readily recite verses from ‘the greats’ at the drop of a hat. Jessica’s relationship with poetry is much more personal – and it’s one that she’s been cultivating from a young age.

From as young as five years old, Jessica found that writing poems was a way to tap into her emotions and express feelings in a way that would touch others’ hearts. Her talent was immediately clear. “When I was in primary school, I wrote a poem that my teacher read at her wedding,” she shares.

So how did she develop her unique writing style, without considering herself a dedicated fan or student of ‘the craft of poetry’?

The answer is simple: trust in her own emotions and a willingness to be vulnerable. “Poetry can be different than what we think it is,” says Jessica. “It doesn’t have to be cryptic, and you don’t need an extensive vocabulary to be able to write. I think you just need to be able to paint a picture . . . as long as you have one sentence that reaches in or speaks to somebody else’s truth, that can be enough.”

While she wrote a lot as a child, over time, Jessica lost touch with her writing self. While she had several blogs that she’d use to dabble in writing, it wasn’t until she became a mother that she decided to tap back into her love of poetry.

“Writing in general – whether about motherhood or life, like through journalling – is such a powerful way to express how you’re feeling, make sense of things and connect with yourself.” Though she didn’t intend her writing to be so focused on themes of motherhood, becoming a mother was the catalyst for her to pick up the pen again.

“A lot of people think that when you become a mum, you put a handbrake on your career or your life. But so much can evolve and change within you.” The more she wrote, the more Jessica found herself writing about the ups and downs of being a mum. As the first of her friends to have a baby, she felt lonely in some of the experiences she was going through, but writing helped her make sense of everything that was happening within and around her.

By the time she had her second child, Jessica decided that it was time to share her poems with the world. She set up an Instagram account and began posting her poems for all to see.

I think vulnerability breeds vulnerability, so by putting out my truth, I reached other peoples’ hearts and put words to their own stories and feelings.

While the poems were written to help Jessica make sense of what she was going through, the message resonated strongly with others around the world. Today, she has over 400K followers on Instagram, a testament to how resonant her writing is with fellow mums, friends of mums and even grandparents.

And if you think it sounds nerve-wracking to share something so vulnerable with so many strangers, Jessica says – well – it is!

Penguin, RRP $32.99

“I often get nervous before posting,” she says. But knowing that the messages in her poems can help others gives Jessica the courage to keep sharing. “Even though some of my raw and vulnerable pieces were from a long time ago, I know someone will be going through that exact same thing at that moment and need to read it,” says the author.

Vulnerability is a key theme in Jessica’s work, and her latest project is no exception. Her new book, Beautiful Chaos (coming 5 March), is a compilation of some of Jessica’s most raw, honest poems about motherhood – capturing everything from pregnancy to school age.

And trust us, it will make you teary.

The book will also come in audiobook format, narrated by Jessica herself, who is one of the rare humans who doesn’t balk at the sound of their own voice. “Recording the audiobook was amazing,” says the author, though she did find herself getting emotional while recalling some of the memories captured by her poems.

Whether readers decide to reach for the physical copy or listen to the audiobook during their commute or while cleaning the kitchen, Jessica says her goal is the same. “At the end of the day, I want people to read this book and feel like they are seen. Understood, seen and heard.”

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