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february, 2020

15febAll Day16Event OverThe Solo Reignite Weekend : London 15th & 16th February 2020

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 Solo Reignite Weekend is for you if you’re:

  • A woman who wanted to have children but it didn’t work out for any of the many, many reasons this can happen: infertility, the lack of a willing or suitable partner, chronic illness, a badly timed breakup, unexamined ambivalence, economics, etc, etc;
  • Currently not in an intimate partnership;
  • Struggling with relationships with friends and family as ‘the odd one out’ and really missing having a safe & 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 couples, 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 to embrace the idea of a Plan B but deep down either convinced that you’ll screw it up, or scared that you’ll never find a genuinely meaningful alternative to a life centred on motherhood and will really just be making do with a ‘second best’ sort of life…

£295 Earlybird (by 28th January) //  £350 full price after // Book with a £100 deposit // Payment plans available
(Go to the bottom of the page to book)

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

Meet Melanie Dagg

Melanie is 46 is divorced and single and lives in Morpeth, Northumberland. She is childless after unsuccessful ICSI/IVF fertility treatments with her then-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.  You can contact Melanie directly on

Meet Lauren de Vere

Lauren de Vere is 55 years young and lives with her cat, Mr Marvo, in Greater London. A solicitor by training, Lauren has undertaken in-depth personal development to heal from the wounds of a difficult childhood, including attending and then facilitating The Essence Process. She first came across Gateway Women several years ago via a Google Search, desperate to understand whether her struggles to recover from involuntary childlessness and a failed adoption process were unique to her and/or if she was going crazy. Through Gateway Women she found a hugely supportive network of other women in the same boat and has 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 women who have also had a challenging childhood, one that has coloured their lives and been a contributing factor in their childlessness. You can read about Lauren’s evolving understanding of the single, childless woman’s experience in Fairy Tales, Gremlins & Childlessness on the Gateway Women website. You can contact Lauren directly at

Over the course of this Solo 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 as well as exploring how not being partnered has impacted your life and your thoughts about yourself;
  • 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 and partner 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);
  • Re-examine the dreams and goals you had for your life before you became convinced that having a partner and baby were the only things 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 15th and Sunday 16th February, 2020
  • Times: 9.30am – 5pm
  • Cost: £295 Earlybird (by 28th January), £350 full price after. Places bookable with £100 deposit (which also reserves the Earlybird price should that still be applicable). All balances due on/before 28th January. Once you have reserved your place, Melanie will be in touch to arrange your balance payment method – either PayPal or direct bank transfer. Should you wish to arrange a payment plan for the balance, this can be arranged directly with Melanie by emailing her at 
    Please go right to the bottom of the page to pay your deposit, which books your place.
  • 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, not currently in a relationship, 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 15th January 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  at

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

It took me a long time (several years) to accept that I was feeling a deep sense of loneliness about my childlessness and I really don’t know what it was, other than reading the testimonials of other women in similar circumstances, that prompted me to sign up for the Solo Reignite Weekend and take a chance on reaching out. It did feel like taking a step of faith. Lauren and Melanie made the workshop a safe space. They reached out to everyone in a way that I can only describe as ‘bespoke’ — I felt liberated to be myself just as I was, unedited: an introvert, not great at social situations, feeling knackered and emotional from a tough week at work and longing to get a glimpse of the creative woman I used to be. The workshop provides unconditional acceptance, and I think that this is why it felt like a healing experience to be there. The support and friendship of the other women is also a huge part of why the workshop works. I came away feeling understood, on common ground with other women and having shared not only our grief but our sense of purpose that we can make our lives better. For anyone wondering whether to attend a workshop, I’d say go for it (Lena, 52, 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, UK).

The Solo Reignite weekend in London was such a well timed event, having had a miserable time since November recovering from unexpected surgery to my spine, a relationship breakdown (linked to the former) followed by a Christmas with my very deaf elderly year old Mum-wondering who on earth will be looking out for me when I’m her age!  So, it was great to meet up with a group of lovely, bright, articulate childless women and not feel like a freak and to return home feeling a little bit less lonely. Lauren and Melanie created a very safe environment and it was great to have facilitators with lived experience. I would definitely recommend it to other women (Sara, 58, 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.  (Ella, 44, 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).

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).

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 faciliators 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).

Anyway, I did want to say a massive thank you to the facilitators, 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).

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 weekend was very touching and meaningful for me. Our faciliator 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).

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).

It was a stimulating weekend. The faciliatotors 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).

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 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 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 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 weekend was supported and held with love. Lauren and Gen 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).


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!


february 15 (Saturday) - 16 (Sunday)


One Park Crescent

229 Great Portland Street W1W 5PN