september, 2019

14sepAll Day15Event OverThe Reignite Weekend : London 14th & 15th September 2019 and supporting World Childless Week

This Reignite Weekend supports World Childless Week 2019, Sep 16-22nd.
We are offering three free scholarship places to childless women on low incomes to celebrate the 3rd year of
World Childless Week.
We are extending the Earlybird rate of £295 for the entire workshop (usual price £350) and offering further concessions on request if needed).
Gateway Women will donate £50 of each paying participant’s fee to World Childless Week

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;
  • Furious that you ‘did all the right things’ and have still ‘ended up’ in this difficult position;
  • Ready for a Plan B but 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 (extended for entire booking period) // Book with a £100 deposit // To apply for one of the three free scholarship places or request a concessionary rate, see below

This Reignite Weekend is led by Melanie Dagg and Yvonne John, who have both been trained personally by Jody Day, the founder of Gateway Women.

Meet Melanie Dagg

Melanie is 48 is divorced and single 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 Women Meetup group 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.

 

Meet Yvonne John
Yvonne (48) is the author of “Dreaming of the Life Unlived: Intimate Stories and Portraits of Women Without Children” (2016) and has appeared on numerous radio and television programmes, including BBC Radio 4’s ‘Woman’s Hour’ to talk about her experience of recovering from the devastating grief of involuntary childlessness. A gifted public speaker, she also blogs at Finding My Plan B. A graduate of GW’s 2016’s year-long Plan B Mentorship Programme. Yvonne 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 and you can contact her directly on yvonne@gateway-women.com

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

  • Times: 9.30am – 5pm
  • Cost: In honour and in support of World Childless Week, the Earlybird price of £295 has been extended for the entire booking period (normally £350 full price) and £50 of all paying participant’s fees will be donated to World Childless Week. All paid-for places can be booked using the form at the bottom of this page and require a £100 deposit. As the workshop date is now near, all balances are due immediately, unless you make an alternative arrangement with Melanie. Once you have paid your deposit (or have arranged a scholarship or concessionary place with Jody) Melanie will be in touch to arrange your balance payment method, if applicable (either PayPal or direct bank transfer) and to provide you with all other logistical details about the weekend. If you wish to contact Melanie please email her directly at melanie@gateway-women.com
  • World Childless Week Free Scholarship Places & Concessionary Rates: to apply for one of the 3 free scholarship places or to request a lower-priced concessionary place, please email Jody, the Founder of Gateway Women directly and in complete confidence at private@gateway-women.com They will be awarded on a case-by-case basis. Please wait 24-48 hours for a response.
    To book a non-scholarship place, 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, right next door to Pizza Express. It says “International Students House” above it, as in this photo.
  • Accommodation: An affordable option 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 affordable 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, 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 biological children, it’s for you. It is not suitable for those who are still hopeful of creating a biological or adoptive family.
  • What is the cancellation policy? Your £100 deposit is non-refundable.  If you cancel prior to 14th August 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 Melanie melanie@gateway-women.com or yvonne@gateway-women.com

Some feedback from women who’ve taken part in previous Reignite Weekends:

I booked the Reignite weekend and wasn’t sure if it would be helpful. Right in the very first thing we did I could see, like in flashing neon lights, that I’m having a/the completely normal and natural response to a very difficult situation. Normal – I don’t get to feel that very often. The big breaths out of relief started then; there’s nothing like feeling normal to shift shame and worthlessness. The weekend went on to be poignant, empowering, informative, insightful and fun. It was also well held and contained throughout. It’s early days since my weekend, but I think I’ve made some good connections that will hold out and both support me now and celebrate me as I move forwards. I feel very grateful and would wholeheartedly recommend it (Alessandra, 43, 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).

Anyway, I did want to say a massive thank you to the facilitators – I was in touch before the weekend and she really got 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).

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 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, 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).

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).

Overall, I’m am extremely glad I attended. It has shifted things in my head, long held beliefs and the black cloud and negative attitude to myself and my situation. I think it was exactly the right time in my infertility journey for me to be there.  I had been sad and alone for so long and I was ready to move towards acceptance and letting it all go in favour of something more positive.  Before the weekend, I hadn’t even realised quite how bad I had been feeling for soooo long. Since then I have been much more positive and have learned to really like myself again.  I know there is a way to go but I feel good now, for the first time in about a decade. It was so helpful to meet other women just like me – diverse stories yes, but similar in so many ways. I could see how strong and brave and funny and cool all these chicks were – and that they were just like me – but I didn’t feel any of these things about myself – I do now! I am still in touch with them and this has been REALLY instrumental in feeling better about myself.  Our facilitator, was absolutely wonderful – so real and honest and it helped so much to hear her story and hear about her recovery too (Ella, 44, 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).

The Reignite weekend was… in one word, magical.  It was raw, authentic, real, hard, deep, true, and very much needed. It was eye opening and cathartic. The exercises were mind-blowing and put a lot of things in perspective – from my actual reality to my perceived life to a life I am in control to create. I realized that I am further down the path to accepting being childless than I had even thought.  It helped me find my voice again and prepare for the real world of triggers and thoughtless comments and difficult situations. I actually heard myself laugh, a true, deep belly laugh, when I hadn’t heard myself laugh in years – Years! And most importantly, I found a few sisters who will forever be in my tribe. I am tearing up just thinking about the profound friendship and love I have for these ladies.  For that alone I am wholeheartedly grateful (Claire, 41, USA)

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 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).

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).

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!

Time

september 14 (Saturday) - 15 (Sunday)

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