In our Hearts is an illustrated book presenting images, words and reflections by mothers who live apart from their children.
Their frank and often harrowing stories offer a glimpse into the pain and loss, stigma and rejection experienced by women who, for whatever reason, are deemed by the state as not being able to live with and bring up their children.
The mothers had been supported as a group over a period of several years by creative facilitators at WomenCentre, and had amassed a substantial body of creative work. As well as personal stories, there were drawings, puppets and a set of stunning masks representing the mothers’ “inner critics.”
When WomenCentre realised this collection had the potential to change perceptions among professionals and others, Andrassy Media was approached to develop it into a book.
We wanted to do justice to the quality of the material by designing a book that would support the women’s desire to challenge prejudice but also convey the message of hope in some of the stories.
In our Hearts was a collaborative process, with the mothers involved throughout as the drivers and shapers of its development.
Midway through the process, the University of Huddersfield heard about the book. Impressed by both its content and design, the university offered to support its publication. This meant it could be printed in a far more substantial run than the group had expected, ensuring the mothers’ voices, stories and wisdom will reach the wider audience they so richly deserve.
You can order copies of In Our Hearts from WomenCentre.
“Working with David has been an opportunity to learn – the balance between giving the pieces space to breathe on the page while ensuring the message and voice of our work is heard. David worked sensitively with the women’s material giving time to each stage of the process, offering alternatives, providing care over the finer details which really matter and being open to ideas. From our raw material he was able to pull out themes which have ensured a quality end product which allows us to showcase the work we do. We hope to be able to work together in the future.”
Project Lead, Mothers Apart from their Children Project
“The book makes me so proud. I don’t think of myself as an author but if I can help other women by sharing my stories then that helps me. I think it is beautiful and I am so pleased to have been part of it, to see my story in print and have been part of a group that doesn’t judge me.”
Author and artist