Hello! My name is Erin Willer and I thank you for checking out The Scraps of the Heart Project (SOTHP)! After enduring years of infertility and loss, I am proud to be the mother to three angel babies lost to miscarriage, O.B., B.W., and Te Fiti, as well as Matilda Plum and her twin angel brother Milo Juniper who died three hours after they were born 2-8-13, and Fyodor Rain who was born 1-12-15. 

 

One of the ways I have coped with my infertility and losses is to incorporate the study of reproductive challenges and baby loss into my line of research as a professor of health, interpersonal, and family communication in the Department of Communication Studies at the University of Denver. The idea for The SOTHP came to me in 2010 after my husband Mark and I had our first miscarriage. Although I had never scrapbooked before, I had a strong desire to create a memory of our baby who we call O.B. (for Our Baby). With my mom's help we worked for days to put together O.B.'s scrapbook, which today is one of my most prized possessions. At the time, Mark and I were amazed at the power that the scrapbook had in both healing our hearts and helping those close to us understand our heartbreak. In addition to making the scrapbook, I also started drawing and painting in the midst of my infertility and losses. I always liked art as a kid but had not really done anything artistic since high school. After my losses I wrote poetry but started feeling restless when my words were not enough to capture the depth of my emotions. That is when art came flooding back to me. I soon started sharing my art work on my blog Birthing HeARTiculations: Stories of Infertility, Loss, and Motherhood. Like our scrapbook my art and writing became a way to share my story and my babies' stories in an incredible healing way.

 

As a researcher who uses narrative and artistic methods both to understand and share people's experiences of trauma, I dreamed that someday through my research and teaching I might be able to work with other grieving parents in order to empower families and educate about baby loss through art. Today this dream is becoming a reality. With the support of the University of Denver's Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning's Public Good Fund Grant, Colorado Pregnancy and Newborn Loss Services, and the support of many other individuals who donated to our crowdfunding campaign, we are now offering creative arts workshops to bereaved parents who have lost babies. We have done activities such as scrapbooking, assemblage art, jewelry making, and yoga. My classes at DU have also engaged in service-learning projects that have lead to our children's book, Help Me Remember: A Storybook for Children and Families Coping with the Death of a Baby and our line of Live Out Loud grieving cards.

The Scraps of the Heart Project constitutes paticipatory action research, which means that we are working with members of the baby loss community in order to identify and address their needs through research. Please peruse our website for more information. Whether you are a family member of a baby who has died, a health care provider, a researcher, an artist, or someone who simply has a passion for this work, we would love to have you join our collective.  

 

With peace and (a healing) heart,

Erin

 

 

 

  

The Scraps of the Heart Story

storytelling and

artmaking

 
to
EMPOWER

families         and 

                      Educate

Communities

 

 

about baby loss

Stories are the only enchantment possible, for when we begin to see our suffering as stories, we are saved.

-Anaia Nin

Feet, what do I need you for when I have wings to fly?

 

-Frida Kahlo 

A word is dead

When it is said,

Some say.

I say it just begins

to live that day.

- Emily Dickinson

Stories are the only enchantment possible, for when we begin to see our suffering as stories, we are saved.

-Anaia Nin

© 2015 The Scraps of the Heart Project

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