DANVILLE — A Danville woman has created a coloring book that she hopes will help ease emotions for mothers and their children as they navigate their way through the pain and fear of divorce.
Sara Woodard-Ortiz, 32, owns Heartly Broken, a web-based business that provides tools and support for mothers who are experiencing the challenge of going through a divorce or separation.
The idea for a coloring book was sparked after Woodard-Ortiz searched the Internet for resources to help her and her 21/2-year-old daughter, Olivia, get through her own marital separation.
What did she find? Not much.
“There isn’t a whole lot out there. I was looking for any resources to help us,” she said. “I could find information about the legal process and how to get another man, but there was nothing out there about how to talk to your kids about divorce.
“The women I’ve talked to say they’re worried about two things: finances and how the divorce is going to affect their child,” she said.
Woodard-Ortiz, who enjoys drawing, said she was inspired by the adult coloring book craze in which adults color as a calming and therapeutic exercise.
Not only that, but coloring is “an easy activity for mothers and children to do together,” she said.
Her coloring book, "Color through Divorce," contains activities for mothers and their children to work on together, inspirational coloring pages for mom and “connection questions” to help moms start a conversation with her child about divorce.
“I created 'Color through Divorce' to help the mother and her child stay connected and to facilitate discussions surrounding divorce so they can work through the pain and sadness together,” she said.
“I tried to keep the book as open-ended as possible as far as age of the children,” she added. “It doesn’t just focus on divorce but keeping a healthy balance.”
Using what she learned in graphic design school in Chicago and her experience as a website designer for the last 10 years, it took Woodard-Ortiz only three weeks to create the 54-page coloring book. She drew many of the drawings and doodles featured in the book by hand, she said.
“I didn’t do patterns like you would find in an adult coloring book,” she said. “For the moms, I tried to focus on inspirational quotes and corresponding illustrations.
“I wasn’t strict on the child’s side (of the coloring book). I made a bunch of doodles,” she said. “To get them to do activities together, I made one page that encourages them to color in food items and kitchen appliances and then maybe cook together.
“There are a lot of mandalas in there,” she said, explaining, “It’s a meditative activity you can do. It’s more intricate on the mom’s side (of the coloring book).”
The coloring book also includes 10 activities that mothers and children can do together, such as making pledges to one another.
“Stress and emotions tend to make people upset,” she said. “With my daughter, one of our pledges is if she’s upset about missing her dad, I’ll give her a hug.”
Another feature that Woodard-Ortiz calls “connection questions” is “sprinkled throughout” the book.
“It encourages the child to ask questions,” she said.
Next, Woodard-Ortiz plans to work on a version of her coloring book for dads.
“I haven’t forgotten about the dads. Dads going through divorce have been largely forgotten about and ignored, but they are hurting and struggling, too,” she said.
“I also have plans to create a planner to help get the technical/legal (divorce) stuff done and to focus on the healing part,” she said.
In addition, Woodard-Ortiz produces a weekly show on Blab with her friend Jenna Callahan who also is going through a divorce. Blab is a new social media website where users host live-streaming shows. The two women use Blab to share their experience with divorce and also feature monthly guests to help mothers in all areas of life from budgeting to stress-free Do-It-Yourself projects.
The Color through Divorce coloring book is available as a PDF download for $11.99 on Sara Woodard-Ortiz’s website at www.heartlybroken.com/colortogether. It is expected to be available in book format in January from www.amazon.com.
To subscribe to Woodard-Ortiz’s weekly show, visit: blab.im/sanensatisfied
For more information, contact Woodard-Ortiz at firstname.lastname@example.org.