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;
- 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 centered on motherhood.
£295 Earlybird (by 6th February) // £350 full price after // Book with a £100 deposit
(Go to the bottom of the page to book)
This Reignite Weekend is led by Gen Smyth and Debbie Norman, who have both been trained personally by Jody Day, the founder of Gateway Women.
Meet Gen Smyth
Gen, 46, has been involved with Gateway Women for the last few years after hearing Jody on the radio and realizing she wasn’t alone… Unable to have children due to recurrent miscarriages in her 30s, she now lives in South Croydon with her partner and their lively rescue dog. After attending one of Jody’s Reignite Weekends in 2014, she jumped at the chance to do the year-long Gateway Women Plan B Mentorship Programme, which she graduated from in 2016. Regularly on the Gateway Women online community as “JennyWren”, she has a particular interest in supporting women with mental health problems, driven by her personal and professional experience as a mental health occupational therapist. Contact Gen directly with any questions at email@example.com
Meet Debbie Norman
Debbie is 50 and lives in Rugby Warwickshire with her second husband and two cats. Childless herself due to spending most of her fertile years recovering from the traumatic domestic abuse of her first marriage, Debbie found Gateway Women after reading about Jody’s work in a women’s magazine in June 2014. Wasting no time, she attended her first workshop with Jody shortly thereafter, and continued her healing by attending private sessions with Jody. Since then, Debbie has studied to deepen her practice of self-compassion and has also taken part in the ‘Online Bee’ a year-long mentorship programme run by Jody and in 2017 was invited by Jody to be one of the first women to train to lead the Reignite Weekend. Debbie has been an active and passionate member of the Gateway Women community both on and offline, organising and attending local GW Meetups whilst continuing her path personal healing and growth. A hospital healthcare practitioner, Debbie sees the opportunity to lead others through the Reignite Weekend as a way to share with others the healing that childless women can offer each other as we support each other with kindness and compassion to heal our lives and create new futures. You can contact Debbie directly on 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
- Times: 9.30am – 5pm
- Cost: £295 Earlybird (by 6th February), £350 full price after. Places bookable with £100 deposit (which also reserves the Earlybird price if applicable). All balances due on/before 6th March. Once you have reserved your place, Gen or Debbie will be in touch to arrange your balance payment method – either PayPal or direct bank transfer. If you wish to contact Gen or Debbie 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./li>
- 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.
- 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.
- What is the cancellation policy? Your £100 deposit is non-refundable. If you cancel prior to 6th March 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 Gen or Debbie at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Some feedback from women who’ve taken part in previous Reignite Weekends:
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).
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, Debbie, 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 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)
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).
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 Gen and Lauren 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 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 would like to say how lovely Debbie was over the weekend. I am in awe of her ability to listen to our stories and empathise in such a caring way. She is clearly a very sensitive and caring person and I cannot thank her enough for her patience and kind words. The experience of meeting the other woman was very powerful and empowering for me and I am grateful to Gateway Women for allowing us all the time to discuss a myriad of topics and emotions, some of which continued in the pub on Saturday night (Sylvia, 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).
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).
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).
One of the best things about the course was simply committing to the idea of it and attending. The intention to face the situation and work through it has now undeniably resulted in action. To be in a group of other women from different backgrounds, all coming to terms with childlessness for different reasons normalised what has been a very scary, isolating thing. Despite the structure, there were plenty of spaces to dream. For me, listening to other women talking about their loss re children triggered warmth and hope for my own situation. By empathising with them and accepting their pain it was easier to understand and accept my own. I also liked the emphasis on reclaiming the lost parts of ourselves, through brainstorming, art work and conversation. I was expecting a bit more future life planning but by the end of the course realised that once the grief is attended to properly a plan will probably emerge. The message to take it slowly, use each other, books and whatever resources work for us, was more realistic than the grand schemes I had in mind. The only way it could perhaps be improved is if we could have scheduled another weekend in a years time to see where we are at! (Zita, 53, UK).
The weekend was very touching and meaningful for me. Our facilitator was fabulous, as was her authenticity, which we all loved. She told us her story so we felt we were all in a group together, all on the path to healing and balance together. I’m older, and wish I had known about you 8, 10, 15, 20 years ago when I was 47 and going through my own deep confusion. Now at 67, I can see how lonely and invisible I felt (Margaret, 67, USA).
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. Gen and Lauren 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)
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 had ideas about what my plan B was, but thought they weren’t worthy enough. The weekend has made me realise that there’s nothing wrong with my plans. As Gen said, ‘There’s nothing wrong with living an ordinary life’ and that’s the one thing that’s stuck with me. Thanks to the weekend I’ve now got some great women I know I can talk to now and who will understand. I hope the Reignite Weekend will continue to help women all over the world for many years to come (Lisa, 39, 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 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)
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!