There is life after childlessness, despite what the media, your friends, your mother and your inner bitch would have you believe! A meaningful and fulfilling life that makes sense to you because you custom-made
There is life after childlessness, despite what the media, your friends, your mother and your inner bitch would have you believe! A meaningful and fulfilling life that makes sense to you because you custom-made it for yourself.
This Gateway Women Reignite Weekend is for you if you’re:
- A woman who wanted to have children but it didn’t work out for any reason: infertility; didn’t meet a willing or suitable partner; your partner didn’t want (more) children; a chronic illness; a badly timed breakup, etc, etc. There are so many ways this can happen;
- Struggling with relationships with friends and family as ‘the odd one out’ and really missing having a supportive group of women friends to journey through life with;
- Wondering where your mojo went and where the hell to start looking for it!;
- Lonely and confused about your place in society when all you can see around you are mothers and families;
- Knowing that you need to make some changes to your life but feeling too tired, sad & uninspired to know what to try next;
- Worried about growing old without children and grandchildren;
- Furious that you ‘Did all the right things’ and have still ‘ended up’ in this difficult position;
- Ready for a Plan B (C, D or Z!) but are either convinced that you’ll screw it up, or scared that you’ll never find a meaningful alternative to a life centred on motherhood.
£295 Earlybird (by 18th December) // £350 full price after // Book with a £100 deposit
(Go to the bottom of the page to book)
This Reignite Weekend is led by Yvonne John and Lauren De Vere who have both been trained personally by Jody Day, the founder of Gateway Women.
Meet Yvonne John
Yvonne is a licenced Gateway Women workshop facilitator (GWS) and the author of 2016’s Dreaming of the Life Unlived: Intimate Stories and Portraits of Women Without Children. A gifted public speaker, she’s appeared on numerous radio and television programmes, including BBC Radio 4’s ‘Woman’s Hour’. She also blogs about her own evolving recovery from childlessness at Finding My Plan B. A graduate of GW’s 2016’s year-long Plan B Mentorship Programme, Yvonne is also a World Childless Week Champion. She works in the medical services industry and is also a talented photographer and singer. You can contact Yvonne by email email@example.com
Meet Lauren de Vere
Lauren is a licensed Gateway Women workshop facilitator (GWS) and lives with her cat, Mr Marvo, in Greater London. A solicitor by training, Lauren has undertaken in-depth personal development to heal the wounds of a difficult childhood, including attending and then facilitating The Essence Process. She first came across Gateway Women several years ago via Google, desperate to understand whether her struggle to recover from involuntary childlessness and a failed adoption process was unique to her and/or if she was going crazy. She’s been active both at a local level with GW Meetups in Chorleywood, as well as attending Gateway Women’s 2017 year long Plan B Mentorship Programme. Lauren has a special interest in supporting those childless women for whom a challenging childhood has been a contributing factor in their childlessness. You can contact Lauren by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Over the course of this Reignite Weekend you will:
- Unpick the assumptions that the culture has about motherhood (and non-motherhood) and let go of what doesn’t ‘fit’ you;
- Look at where you are holding onto unhelpful ideas and shame about the life choices you’ve made (and the non-choices too) which have led you to ‘ending up’ without the family you hoped for;
- Explore and express unresolved grief about your childlessness – grief which our culture neither acknowledges, understands nor allows (and consequently, neither do we, sometimes);
- Reexamine the dreams and goals you had for your life before you became convinced that having a baby was the only thing that mattered;
- Reignite your passion for your life and start thinking what your ‘Plan B’ might be for a meaningful and fulfilling life without children;
- Meet your new tribe – the wonderful, powerful, wise and funny Nomos (not-mothers). There are more of us than you realise and we’re not the bunch of ‘weeping weirdoes’ you might fear! In fact, we’re a pretty amazing and courageous bunch of women.
More details and to book
- Dates: Saturday 18th and Sunday 19th January 2020
- Times: 9.30am – 5pm
- Cost: £295 Earlybird (by 18th December), £350 full price after. Places bookable with £100 deposit (which also reserves the Earlybird price if applicable). All balances are due on/before 18th December. Once you have reserved your place, Yvonne or Lauren will be in touch to arrange your balance payment method – either PayPal or direct bank transfer. If you wish to contact Yvonne or Lauren about payment methods please email them directly at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
To book, please go right to the bottom of this page.
- Lunch & Breaks: Lunch will roughly 1-2pm both days and is not provided but there are plenty of places nearby and you can also take a refreshing walk in Regents Park which is right outside the venue. We’ll also take a morning and afternoon break of 15 mins.
- Where: One Park Crescent, 229 Great Portland Street Marylebone, London W1W 5PN (30 seconds from Great Portland Street tube station). Please note the correct postcode to use to find the front door is W1W 5PN not the one on the website. Click here for a map. When you get to the venue the correct door to use is opposite Pret a Manger and Great Portland Street Tube Station, to the right of “Pizza Express.” It looks like the photo shown here and says “International Students House” above it. The entrance on the Park Crescent-side of the building is closed at weekends.
- Accommodation: The cheapest option is a simple student room at International Students House, which you will be allowed to book as you are attending an event at the “One Park Crescent” Conference Centre which is in the same building. Make sure to ask for a room as far away from the student bar as possible! Contact the conference team here and tell them you attending a Gateway Women weekend. Slightly more expensive, but still very reasonably priced for central London is the Quaker-run B&B The Penn Club, about 15-mins walk away. If you don’t mind a 5-stop London Underground Tube journey to the workshop, the London Central City Road Travelodge (which is based in the ‘City’ Financial District) has very reasonably-priced rooms (around £50) at the weekend. This is when the area is very quiet but ask for an upper floor room facing the Inner Courtyard for maximum quietness. You can also find very affordable and central rooms to stay in on AirBnB
- How Many Women: In order to create an intimate and safe atmosphere, the workshop is restricted to 16 women only.
- Who is the Reignite Weekend for? Women of any age or sexuality, partnered or solo, who wanted to have children and for some reason, it didn’t work out. If you’re keen to move forward and create a meaningful and fulfilling life without children, it’s for you. If you are childfree by choice or still hopeful of creating a biological or adoptive family, this won’t be a good fit for you. Childless stepmothers welcome. If you’re not sure if it’s right for you, we’d be happy to discuss that with you before you book – just contact one of the facilitators above by email and/or they’d be happy to arrange a time for a quick chat on the phone.
- What is the cancellation policy? Your £100 deposit is non-refundable. If you cancel prior to 18th December you may request a refund of any payments made (minus your deposit). After that date, we can only refund your payments (minus your deposit) if we can resell your spot.
- Any other questions please contact Yvonne or Lauren at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Some feedback from women who’ve taken part in previous Reignite Weekends:
I can not say a big enough thank-you for the weekend! From booking the course to walking in through the door I felt that I was somehow taking a bit of control and if this was all I felt I’d achieved come the end, then it would still have been a positive step. However, I could never have imagined what a meaningful, spiritual and helpful weekend was waiting for me. Having the opportunity to meet Cathy and the other wonderful women was such a gift. Cathy has a great skill and natural gentleness which helped us all let down our guard and be vulnerable together. It really was an experience which will stay with me forever. It’s high up there on the list of things I will be proud of when I am 80! (Caterina, 40, UK).
It was a stimulating weekend. Lauren and Gen were welcoming, empathic & ran the event with care – they are great role models too. I have taken away many positive vibes and ideas (Caroline, 60, UK).
Having read Jody’s book (which put my pain into words – thank you) and engaged in my own personal therapy prior to the workshop, I was very much taking small steps on my childlessness journey. I have experienced bereavement in my life but had found the grief of childlessness so difficult to communicate with others, because the shame of ‘failing’ as a woman felt too much to expose directly to anyone. I have felt hopeless about life and my future and wondered how I could possibly make sense of the next 40 years, without motherhood. The workshop was hugely supportive in so many ways, deeply confronting in a positive way, and not least because it gave me a community of women that get it! I cannot describe the relief of finally being able to tell my story, and not feel pitied, judged negatively or dismissed. Instead, I was heard, validated, supported, and encouraged. Over the past few months, I have stayed in touch with the group and begun to foster friendships with warm authentic wonderful women who offer compassion at every stumble and celebration at every small achievement. Thank you. (Sarah, 46, UK).
It was such a supportive and brilliant course – so great to meet and share time with other Gateway Women, and it allowed me to challenge myself and see my way forward to my Plan B (Tilly, 48, UK).
I was very daunted (as I’m sure everyone is) about the workshop itself, but adding in the money and the distance it was definitely taking a chance and a risk for me, and it more than paid off. The facilitators were so lovely and welcoming and really helped to create what felt like a very safe, warm and loving environment. They gave us the time we needed to speak and really be heard and responded with such empathy. Being childless is something most of us can’t speak to our nearest and dearest about because nobody “gets it” so it was very refreshing to be in a room where everybody was in the same boat (albeit different circumstances). It was the first time I had ever been amongst a group of women where I didn’t feel alien-like or inferior. I even told the ladies how surreal it was to be there in a room with them knowing we all have this factor of our lives in common (Nicola, 34, Australia).
I attended this weekend with some ‘butterflies’ but it’s ended up being one of the best things I could have done. I’m more equipped than before I attended the event for moving on and getting to grips with my plan B. Best thing though was meeting the other Gateway Women and seeing I’m not alone… (Faye, 41)
Anyway, I did want to say a massive thank you to Lauren and Gen, they really were great facilitators for the workshop and I got a lot out of it (realizing this more as time goes on and I reflect back). I was in touch with Lauren before the weekend and she really did provide loads of much needed reassurance about attending the weekend, which helped to ensure I went and didn’t back out at the last minute! It was really powerful hearing everyone’s’ journey and finally realising that I wasn’t alone in the way I felt about being childless. The first day was really emotional, although I recognise needed to be done in order to let things out, address buried thoughts and understand about the whole grief thing which was very enlightening. I found the second day much more refreshing and helped provide some positivity to work on – I had hoped for a magic solution, but the workshop made me realise it’s just small changes in mindset that can make the biggest difference. We’ve since had 2 Meetups which I’ve found quite liberating really and hopefully can work on establishing some new friendships (Susan, 45, UK).
The weekend definitely exceeded my expectations and the strength I received from being in the company of such strong, yet similarly hurting women, is amazing. The realisation that I’m not alone and have real people to talk to who understand how difficult it is some days to navigate such a strongly biased society which thinks motherhood is the norm is huge. But it has also given me a friendship base of fascinating women that have stories to tell that don’t involve having a child, and opinions on life who I want to spend time with and get to know better. The other thing to mention is that the facilitators were brilliant. We were all so nervous about going and all had reasons not to turn up but did make it through the door and were welcomed with such positivity and calmness. It was a tough weekend having to face up to so many decisions made in the past or thinking about what the future might hold, but to survive and start living again I need to face these things. The weekend has given me a starting point and motivation to start finding my way and a support group to call upon. Thank you for starting this and giving hope back to us all (Simone, 49, UK).
I can’t describe the massively positive effect finding GW and attending a Reignite Weekend has had on my outlook, my life, my relationships, my ability to smile at babies and their mums again! (Kate, 43, UK).
I had absolutely no idea what to expect from the Reignite Weekend really, and just thought I’d give it a go and had nothing to lose, but from the minute I stepped through the door and received a welcome hug from the faciliators I knew I’d made a good decision. I only finished my last IVF cycle 2 months before, which was the end of my journey to trying to have children. So it was all really recent and raw for me, I was worried it may be too raw and I may start crying and never be able to stop. I knew I’d accepted that this was the end of the road (I had absolutely no desire to do any further treatment or try adoption or anything else for that matter) but accepting the decision and outcome, and dealing with the enormity of that outcome are two completely different things, and I definitely hadn’t recognised the importance of or made any progress with the latter. The faciliators were so kind and caring and funny and empathetic, and guided us through the various exercises at our own pace. I loved the weekend, and would love to do it all again! It’s the start of a long process for me, but I’m now taking steps to increase my happiness levels and to help me through the grief process, and I know I need some help in doing this. The group has stayed in touch through various mediums and this is an absolute support backbone for me. I love looking at our group photo, our tribe, it really helps remind me that there are other people (normal people!) out there going through something similar to me and that I’m not alone. I would definitely recommend the weekend – if you’re even considering it, I’d say that means you probably need to do it (Sally, 43, UK).
I really only had emotional room for the therapeutic side of the workshop and, for me, this was largely about the group discussion which took place, which was as powerful as I’d hoped. However, I was also surprised to find myself feeling more comfortable than previously (through the day 2 exercises) about the thought of embarking on a possible plan B mainly through the new understanding that this is actually largely about internal shift; my previous efforts have all focused on external change and have felt forced and I now understand why (Katie, 51, UK).
It was amazing to realise I wasn’t alone, other women shared the pain, anguish, fear that I did, each with their unique story and each wanting their life to move on, but not sure how or where. I took the plunge and signed up for the workshop not knowing what to expect, or if it “was my sort of thing” – and it was the best thing I could have done (Kristian, 42, UK).
I got more out of the Reignite Weekend than I could have hoped for. It was emotionally challenging at times but equally inspirational. To fully share my story with other women who not only understood, but listened and empathised as I did with their stories was really special. To realise it’s not just me that’s scared of everything, that it’s not just me who feels so lost and isolated was incredibly comforting. The facilitators created a safe, calm space with a welcoming energy where I think we all felt able to share, quite openly, our thoughts and feelings. The range of activities and the pace of the weekend was perfect. Plenty of time to reflect and I loved getting to be creative on the Sunday and realised how much I’d missed that in my life. It was a lot of money for me to spend as I’ve been out of work but definitely worth every penny and the progress I’ve made personally in just a week feels miraculous. Loving being part of our tribe and feeling excited about my future again (Jill, 34, UK).
After getting to a very low point I thought I’d try the workshop. It was a great weekend. Just having the chance to think and explore my feelings with likeminded people was so helpful (Leila, 39, UK).
The weekend was a moving, enlightening and powerful experience. I was so moved by the stories of all the other women. There was lots of crying and lots of laughing too. I feel an amazing (almost miraculous) connection with them which is alive and well on our post-workshop WhatsApp group… The weekend has helped me to embrace my grief in a way which I hadn’t allowed myself to before, and has given me lots of strategies to work through it. The weekend has also released a massive creative block which I didn’t even realise was there. Writing and drawing about my experiences seem to already be part of my ‘Plan B’. I am also thinking a lot about self-care and putting it into practice as much as possible – not a habit that I have been very good at previously. The facilitators were wonderful – they structured the days very skilfully and listened beautifully to everyone – holding everyone’s stories, emotions and reactions in such a supportive way. Being part of this sisterhood feels amazing. Thank you. (Carla, 42, UK)
The course was excellent; well structured, clear and relevant and which helped me to understand the trauma I’ve been struggling though after finding out that we can’t have children. I met some amazing women on the course whose stories of facing difficulties with so much dignity and courage will stay with me. Thank you for giving me hope (Janet, 47, UK).
I wanted to let you know that I thought the facilitators were wonderful – I honestly couldn’t have wished for better! Both had exactly the right balance of empathy, listening skills and (importantly for me) humour. They made us all feel very safe and able to share as much or as little of our stories as we felt comfortable sharing and they created a very open, warm environment for us to operate in (Sabina, 46, UK).
I attended the Reignite Weekend and I wholeheartedly recommend it. If you are feeling unsure about whether to go, I would say definitely do it. You will be in safe hands and in a very safe environment, sharing with other Gateway Women really helps and the exercises really get you thinking – in a good way (Laura, 42, UK).
I have been stuck in grief for a long time that hasn’t been shifting. [The weekend] helped me to understand exactly what I was feeling and why. Home now – I feel lighter, more positive and more gentle inside than I have felt for ages (Becky, 52, UK).
The weekend was supported and held with love. The facilitators guided us with care and gentleness and the activities flowed seamlessly and easily allowing each of us to find our way into acceptance, grief and moving on. Nothing was forced, unnecessary or rushed. It was surreal being in a room full of women who had very different stories but had the same thing in common. For this I am truly thankful to have experienced as it was so empowering to feel that I am not alone anymore. I am excited at the prospect of this group flourishing into long lasting friendships and it’s made me feel great that I’ve suddenly acquired a new set of friends after just 2 days! (Anna, 48, UK).
Reserve Your Place
This deposit will book your place on the Reignite Weekend. Your Workshop Facilitator will be in touch to arrange the balance payment.
Tickets are not available for sale any more for this event!