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 ONLINE 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.
GBP £295 (inc. Irish VAT).
all currencies accepted and converted automatically
Please only book if you are in/close to the UK/EUROPE timezone
(Scroll down for testimonials and to book)
This ONLINE Reignite Weekend is led by Melanie Dagg & Yvonne John of Gateway Women
MELANIE DAGG is a licensed Gateway Women workshop facilitators (GWS) as well as part of the GW Membership Community Support Team and lives in Morpeth, Northumberland. She is childless after unsuccessful ICSI/IVF fertility treatments with her former husband. She found Gateway Women after a frantic late-night Google search for ‘women who don’t have children and are happy’ and attended the Reignite Weekend with Jody in London in February 2014. Despite feeling very nervous (she considered not turning up at the workshop and going shopping in London instead!) it turned out to be a turning point and the beginning of her journey out of a black hole. Since then, Melanie has been an active member of the Gateway Women online community and leads her local Gateway Gathering in Newcastle. In 2017 she also took part in Jody’s one-year Plan B Mentorship Programme – The Online Bee. An actor by profession, Melanie is an experienced workshop facilitator and also has a counselling qualification. You can contact her directly at firstname.lastname@example.org and you can watch a short video chat between her and Jody here.
YVONNE JOHN is a licenced Gateway Women workshop facilitator (GWS) and the author of the book Dreaming of the Life Unlived: Intimate Stories and Portraits of Women Without Children. She is childless due to unexplained infertility. A gifted public speaker and passionate about creating inclusivity for black women and women of colour in the cultural narrative of childlessness, Yvonne has appeared on numerous radio and television programmes, including BBC Radio 4’s ‘Woman’s Hour’. She leads a private subgroup for Women of Colour in Gateway Women’s private online community (the only such support for black and brown childless women we are aware of) and is quoted extensively in the 2020 edition of Jody’s book in the section on ‘Grieving as a Black Woman or Woman of Colour’. She also blogs about her own evolving recovery from childlessness at Finding My Plan B. A graduate of Gateway Women’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 learn more about Yvonne in her own words in her guest blog for Gateway Women, The Black Woman in the Room, you can email her at email@example.com and you can watch a short video chat between her and Jody here.
Over the course of this ONLINE 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 – a 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 kickass Nomos (not-mothers). There are more of us than you realize 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 27th and Sunday 28th March 2021
- Times: 9am – 5pm UK time both days (See this in your timezone by clicking here.) Please note that British Summer Time begins on the 28th March, so Sunday’s timings will come forward by one hour from GMT to BST). North American and Antipodean-friendly times are offered at other times – see the current events calendar here.
- Cost: GBP £295 (inc. Irish VAT at 23%). All currencies are accepted and converted automatically. Go to the bottom of the page to book.
- Payment Plans: We are unable to offer reduced-price places because of the costs involved in offering this weekend including paying Irish VAT at 23%, facilitator training, fees & supervision, indemnity insurances, marketing, administration and many other digital and invisible costs. However, we are happy to discuss extended payment plans if that makes it possible for you to attend. Please contact one of the facilitators if you would like to explore this option.
- Questions: If you have any questions prior to booking (or afterwards) please contact Melanie directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
To book, please go right to the bottom of this page.
- Timings for the day: We will work in 4 sessions on Zoom, taking breaks/lunch in between. Please make sure that you are in/near the UK/EU timezone to be able to attend this workshop. North American and Antipodean-friendly times are offered at other times – see the current events calendar here.
- Session 1: 9am-11am
- MORNING BREAK: 11am-11.15
- Session 2: 11.15-1pm
- LUNCH 1pm-2pm
- Session 3: 2pm-3.30
- AFTERNOON BREAK: 3.30-3.45
- Session 4: 3.45-5pm
- See this workshop start time in your timezone by clicking here.
- Where: The ONLINE Reignite Weekend will run as a private online course within the private Gateway Women Online Community on MightyNetworks. The fee for this workshop includes 1-month’s free membership so that you can take part in your ONLINE Reignite Weekend and then stay in touch and deepen your connections with your sister participants and your facilitators from the weekend after the course has ended. If you wished to continue as a member of our community after that, you are very welcome to take up one of our regular membership options.
- How: Both Saturday and Sunday on the course are made up of 4 sessions, each one taking place on the Zoom video conferencing platform. This means that you will be able to see your facilitators and the other participants as if we were all sitting in a room together. The calls are private and secure and are not recorded. You only need a free Zoom account to access it. Even if you have never used Zoom before, you are welcome to join us and we are both very experienced in helping Zoom-newbies become comfortable using it. There will also be some basic stationery and other simple materials you will need to have ready to participate in some of the exercises and we will provide a full list of these when you book.
- How Many Women: In order to create an intimate and safe atmosphere, the ONLINE Reignite Weekend is currently restricted to 14 participants only.
- Who is the ONLINE 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 by any means, this won’t be a good fit for you. Childless stepmothers and those who have experienced adoption breakdown are very 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 Melanie at email@example.com or Yvonne at firstname.lastname@example.org and they will be happy to arrange a time for a quick chat.
- What is the cancellation policy? Your fee is non-refundable. However, you can transfer (once only) to a different Reignite Weekend if needed, and if you give us at least 2 week’s notice. Should you decide that you are NOT going to attend (or transfer) please let us know so that we can offer your place to someone else, as there will be a waiting list for places on this weekend.
- Any other questions please contact Melanie at email@example.com
Some feedback from women who've taken part in previous Reignite Weekends, including Online Reignite Weekends.
The Online Reignite Weekend was, as I’d hoped, a game-changer for me. It’s hard to put into words how powerful and positive the experience has been. I’d wanted to book a weekend for a while, so when this opportunity came up I jumped at it. Nonetheless, I felt a bit hesitant, afraid and vulnerable in the run-up: I knew it was a big step forward in (further) accepting my childlessness. The weekend exceeded my expectations and, whilst I’d have loved to have been with our group in person, the facilitators did a fantastic job of containing, supporting and holding us all together online. In a way, being at home was a good thing as I felt safe and could easily rest or do what I needed to do during breaks. I could always easily see everyone and felt very connected to the group. Our bond grew and grew over the course of the weekend and I don’t think doing things virtually got in the way of that. Virtual sessions – especially with emotional content – can be draining, but the days were really well-paced too. It was really lovely and comforting to have our private online group already in place ahead of the weekend – that helped alleviate some of my nervousness because I was able to share a little of my story beforehand. The incredibly kind and supportive responses, including from the facilitators, really reassured me. I think it’s also very comforting to know that the group and resources would remain available after the weekend ended – that there would be a continuation of support and guidance as I processed the experience over time. I think the most helpful parts of the weekend were the opportunity to connect with such a brave, kind and open group of women of all ages and backgrounds; and to spend a day looking at the past and present and a day looking at the present and to the future. The facilitators’ skillful, kind, compassionate, thoughtful and good-humoured input and support were also invaluable. I came away from the weekend feeling like I was shedding a skin – in a good way. I felt stronger, more focused, more confident, more hopeful, and more self-compassionate. For the first time since realising I would be childless, I was able to look back at a younger version of myself with pride and love, not regret and pain. I knew the weekend wouldn’t suddenly resolve everything, but it’s definitely helped me move further along in my recovery. I’ve learned so much from the experience and from connecting with the facilitators and our wonderful group. I’m incredibly grateful and can’t recommend the Online Reignite Weekend enough! (Regan, 37, UK).
I had been interested in attending the Reignite Weekend but hadn’t been looking forward to the travelling, nor to being away from home, so jumped at the opportunity to experience the weekend in its online format. I am used to facilitating online, but this was my first experience of being a participant in a whole weekend, online workshop. The online space felt safe, respectful, and with time for everyone to be heard, in a way that they wanted to share (there was no pressure at all.) Of course, it all feels very different when we are little boxes on a screen, but there was so much warmth and caring that it didn’t seem to matter. There was plenty of opportunity for short breaks, and the sessions felt engaging and spacious. The facilitators brought wisdom, experience, love and (I imagine) courage, and really held a potent space. Aside from being in the company of warm and open women who I could be with without needing any protective armour around those most tender parts of myself, the most helpful part of the weekend for me was thinking more deeply about the ways I’d internalised what the world says about childless women, and the impact of that, of not feeling good enough because I didn’t have children. I’m now able to let that deeply held and painful part of how I see myself go (because I now know it’s a ‘thing’) in a way I hadn’t been able to, before this weekend. Infertility and childlessness have been a painful journey for me, and also an awakening one. I liked that the Reignite weekend made room for our joy and laughter and emerging Plan Bs, as well as holding space for the weight of the hidden and buried losses and grief. I’d say to someone who is drawn to booking, it’s definitely a weekend well spent. I’m glad I did it, and it was definitely a healing and nurturing weekend (Jacqui, 49, UK).
This was a wonderful weekend, even though it was online – it was lovely to see all the women and it nearly felt ‘real’! I found it so healthy to share my feelings and situation with like-minded women in the same situation. I’m already feeling that the weekend has helped me and that I’m benefiting from it: I’m convinced this will indeed be the fact in the long run. Thank you to the facilitators and all the other women for these two beautiful Zoom days in front of my screen – I felt very much looked after and cared for (Mitzi, 52, Germany).
I had wanted to take part in the Reignite Weekend for a while but was also apprehensive as it meant confronting my grief and accepting my journey towards motherhood was really over. I put it off…(and off!) until I saw the weekend would now be run on Zoom and I could do it in the comfort of my own home. I wasn’t sure if we would connect in the same way online as in person but I needn’t have worried. I was joined by a lovely group of ladies with different stories and we were able to express our grief, share our feelings and tell our stories, plus, importantly, help each other look to the future. I felt very connected to the other participants and their stories. The exercises were well thought out and I got a lot from doing them. A lovely touch was a private online group being set up for us before the weekend started in order to meet each other and share anything in advance if we wished – we remain part of this group, which is great to keep in touch. Two weeks on I feel something has shifted; I am part of a new ‘club’ and have supportive women behind me. Although I have a way to go, the future looks more hopeful (Laura, 41, UK)
I decided to book on a Reignite Weekend about a year ago after reading a very upbeat post from a lady who had just attended one. It was a huge step for me to do this and I must admit to feeling fed up when the weekend was understandably cancelled due to Covid 19. So, when I heard that it was now available online, I jumped at the opportunity. On the first day we focussed on the present and the past and then the next day on the present and the future. It was a deeply intense and emotional journey but the energy amongst other ladies who ‘get’ the disenfranchised grief surrounding being childless-not-by choice was strong, despite our meeting only virtually. Many, if not all of us, were nervous but the facilitators were there for us throughout as they gently helped us to begin to tap into our inner selves and those deep-seated feelings regarding our childless-not-by choice journeys. The workshop provided food for thought as to how we may start to unpick those negative feelings surrounding our childlessness, rediscover our missing mojo and begin to dare to dream about what our Plan B may look like. Thank you for making the Reignite Weekend happen online – it was absolutely exhausting emotionally and mentally but it was one of the best decisions and investments in myself I have made. The path I was stumbling along to find a meaningful and happy plan B is no longer cast in complete shadow but now has some pools of sunlight along the way (Sarah, 54, UK).
I had often looked at Reignite Weekends but wasn’t sure that I needed to do this as I had already done quite a lot of my grief work. I was aware that I still had some blind spots though as I would occasionally be caught out by triggers. The opportunity to do this online from the comfort of my own home was also really appealing and just made this more accessible for me. I’m so glad I did sign up, as I did learn more about the way I was silencing my own story. It was great to be able to give myself this time. The facilitators were lovely and created a nurturing and safe space for us. Best of all, I met some really great women! It was lovely to connect with others and to continue to have the support of the same group through the network after the weekend was over (Sonia, 39, UK).
I was determined to get to a Reignite weekend eventually and finally did. It was MARVELLOUS. The facilitators did an amazing job, creating such a lovely space energetically and emotionally. The exercises were profound, and I found the two days to be so beautifully designed to help move us through the key issues surrounding childlessness. I am so grateful that you were inspired years ago to create GW and these weekends! (Millie, 59, USA)
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 a stimulating weekend. The facilitators 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).
By the time I found the Reignite Weekend I had already experienced “most” of my grief (as if grief were measurable!) alone and in long-term anxiety and depression episodes which I thought were just “part of my make-up” and would always be part of my life. Attending the weekend was like lifting a black cloud that I thought was mine forever. I suddenly knew that these grief episodes could be worked with, I could do the work required to learn from them and I didn’t have to do it alone as there is a whole community of women here with whom to share this enormously difficult journey and move on from it into a life I now find fulfilling and meaningful. The Reignite Weekend was the beginning of something and, just less than 2 years later, on it is going . . . . with a community of women I love. I don’t regret a penny spent on it and thoroughly recommend investing in it if you have a chance. (Clare, 55, 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. 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).
Since the weekend, I found I was able to explain my feelings in a different way to my husband, and he was full of questions and very interested and enthusiastic about what the Gateway Women community is doing for women and the impact it can have for a social change. He then told me that what I’d learned and experienced at the Reignite Weekend had enabled him to better understand my childlessness, something that had been quite a mystery to him for many years – that our pain is not just about our deep feelings of grief (which really is quite enough!!!) but also about all the other stuff from society that gets loaded on top of it that we also have to deal with. This realisation has proved to be so precious to me – and to my husband! Let me also say that the facilitators were also unbelievably kind, gentle, intelligent, brilliant and wonderful (Hilda, 45, Germany).
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).
A warm and heartfelt thank you to the facilitators for giving so fully of yourselves in facilitating our weekend. Your engagement and encouragement prior to the course was much appreciated which encompassed a sense of already being known in part and thus genuinely accepted. This I believe contributed to the precious gelling of the group overall. It did feel like a shared and bonded experience even though our stories were unique and your compassion for each of us was very evident. The content of the weekend was both interesting and creative – many thanks to Jody for her inspiration and commitment to bring this to us – and seemed to touch us all at different points on the way. The exercises were well explained by both of the facilitators and everyone contributed making it a dynamic process. They were both sensitive and positive at the same time and facilitated a great deal of trust within the group. This secure base gave us the courage to explore our grief and consider ways to embrace Plan B both individually and collectively. With appreciation (Melissa, 55, 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)
Reserve Your Place
Your ticket is not refundable. Please be sure that you will be able to attend LIVE during UK/EU timezones that weekend. Anything that you are not sure about, please email firstname.lastname@example.org before booking.
Tickets are not available for sale any more for this event!
march 27 (Saturday) - 28 (Sunday) GMT