Art for Perinatal Loss

Conference: The Paris Conference on Arts & Humanities (PCAH2022)
Title: Art for Perinatal Loss
Stream: Other Humanities
Presentation Type: Oral Presentation
Daphne Voormolen, University Medical Center Utrecht, Netherlands


The World Health Organization published an extended report in 2019 on the relevance of the arts on improving health and well-being. It clearly supports the implementation of art interventions and research in the arts and health. It calls for strengthening structures for collaboration between the culture, social care, and health sector.
Perinatal loss is a major life experience and often involves a difficult period of bereavement. Healing interventions focus on validating the grief, memory making, and expression of feelings. Another key component of perinatal bereavement is meaning making. With our art project we try to capture all different features.
In our maternal-fetal division of an academic hospital we are conducting a project called 'out of love'. Art made by and for women who lost a pregnancy. Women who lost their baby during pregnancy or around birth are invited to make a card in memory of their child. All the artworks are placed together on a large canvas mother-board that is placed on the outpatient clinic. This provides women with a way of non-verbal expression, with memory-making and acknowledgment of the baby. Furthermore, it facilitates in meaning making since they help provide comfort and support to women who see the art and know they are not alone. Responses so far are impressive and underline the value of art as a therapeutic medium in this specific area.

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