It's time to create a life that feels good again because sometimes...
- You’re terrified that you’re just going to ‘exist’ rather than ‘live’ the rest of your life…
- You sometimes feel like a failure as a woman for not becoming a mother and are scared that you’re not really capable of having a ‘Plan B’, whatever the heck that is!
- Your work bores you to tears these days but it feels like it’s all you’ve got so you hang on in there even whilst dying inside each time you have to deal with yet another office pregnancy…
- You’re struggling to give a damn about your health, fitness and wardrobe any more and feel older than your years…
- You hate being the ‘odd one out’ around your friends and siblings: either feeling angry when you’re not included in ‘family-friendly’ stuff, or distressed and freakish when you are…
- You’re furious that you ‘did all the right things’ that your mother, school and society said you ‘should’ and look where it got you?!
- You’re exhausted and uninspired about your life and feel that your thwarted dreams of motherhood have left you a hollowed-out husk without an ounce of energy or imagination left…
- And at the back of your mind, sometimes you worry about becoming one of those friendless old women who dies alone and is eaten by her cats…
If this sounds like you some days, then 2020 is definitely the year to join Gateway Women's unique, ground-breaking, life-changing Plan B Mentorship Programme and change the record!
Perhaps you’ve wanted to change aspects of your life before and have found it very hard and are thinking that this won’t work either? Maybe you feel that surviving childlessness is quite enough to deal with on a daily basis in a world gone motherhood-mad and that the idea of ‘thriving’ or ‘having a Plan B’ all seems like a bit too much to consider?
That’s why this programme is so special as it understands where you’re starting from and very gently guides you, month by month, towards a new way of inhabiting your life as a childless woman. Created by Jody Day, author of the best-selling Living the Life Unexpected, psychotherapist and founder of Gateway Women, and refined over several years with groups both in-person and online, it’s based on her experience of recreating her life after the heartbreak and identity loss of childlessness and that of the thousands of women she’s worked with.
One of the major concerns many of us have about finding our Plan B is that we have no idea what it might be – and that’s absolutely fine (and perfectly normal!) Because, you see, Plan B isn’t really a ‘thing’, it’s just a shorthand way of describing getting from where you are now to a place where you feel at peace, fulfilled, purposeful and excited about your life and future again. (It’s just shorter to write!) Doing so isn’t a straightforward path for any of us, but there are definitely things that can help, and that’s what this program is for. It works, and here’s your chance to find out why.
The Online Bee costs GBP £95 per month (USD $125), payable in advance monthly, quarterly or annually. All currencies accepted and converted automatically. See below for enrollment information.
This program is based on Jody Day’s experience of working with thousands of women like you over the last nine years and is the absolute creme-de-la-creme way of engaging with this exceptionally powerful body of work. The Online Bee is an online version of her live Plan B Mentorship Programme and combines cognitive and emotional work at a deep internal level with practical external strategies to create a very powerful learning experience. Change isn’t easy and refocusing your life after the heartbreak of childlessness has its own challenges as you may have lost faith in our very ability to chart your life course or know what you want anymore… The Online Bee doesn’t expect you to be turning up feeling at your best and full of beans but if previous cohorts are anything to go by, you’ll be a lot closer to feeling like that by the end!
Meet Your Beehive Leaders for the 2020 Online Bee Course!
For 2020 we have two online ‘Hives’ for you to choose from, both running exactly the same program but in different timezones: one for UK/EU women led by Karin Enfield de Vries and one for North American women led by Elizabeth Grambsch. Both women were invited personally by Jody to lead these programs for you because of their exceptional personal and professional qualities, which you’ll get a little taste of in the video chats with Jody below. Both Karin and Elizabeth have participated in the Online Bee themselves in the past, as well as having attended and trained to lead the Reignite Weekends. You are in very safe and wise hands, and Jody is still on board behind the scenes supporting them as they support you as well as popping into the course monthly to lead an additional live group video conference call for you (also recorded) on each month’s topic.
KARIN ENFIELD DE VRIES is the UK/EU Beehive Leader for the 2020 Online Bee (presented in English). She’s a licensed Gateway Women workshop facilitator (GWS) and Gateway Women’s European Lead. Bilingual in English/Dutch she lives on the Dutch/Belgian border with her British husband and cats and is childless due to a hysterectomy at 33 as part of her treatment for cervical cancer. She works in Business Transformation and Change Management, guiding people and corporate teams through transformations and is currently studying Grief Counselling at a Post Graduate level. An alumni of Gateway Women’s 2017 Online Bee Plan B Mentorship Programme, Karin is a 2019 World Childless Week Champion and is particularly interested in developing a better understanding of childlessness due to cancer, including amongst the medical profession. She speaks at Oncology Conferences about her experience and in 2020 will be the face of a major Dutch health education initiative to raise awareness of cervical cancer. As well as co-facilitating Reignite Weekends in the UK and leading a monthly GW Benelux Meetup Group, in 2020 she will lead the Reignite Weekend in Holland (in both English and Dutch) as well as being the Beehive Leader for the UK/EU Online Bee. Karin runs the Gateway Women Benelux website (in both Dutch/English). You can email her directly at email@example.com
As Karin says: “Being part of the Online Bee was life-changing for me. Being part of a larger community of women going through the 12-month programme together, discussing the various topics every month, really delving into the different layers of the grief that we’ve all experienced dealing with childlessness – it really helped me to acknowledge to that it was something that is bigger than me – that I couldn’t do it on my own…. The power of connection through the course is still, for me to this day, something incredibly valuable.” (Hear more in the video above)
ELIZABETH GRAMBSCH is a licensed Gateway Women workshop facilitator (GWS) and lives with her husband near Minneapolis, MN USA. She is childless due to health-related issues and after 12 years of healing efforts, she had her last miscarriage at 42. Elizabeth has a Master’s degree in Human Development and, after working in university and hospital settings for many years, founded Crescendo Learning Center LLC where she teaches, coaches, consults, presents and performs with clients of all ages and with a variety of organizations on using applied neuroscience to improve communication, enhance creative self-expression and optimize human performance. She is a graduate of the Gateway Women’s 2017 Online Bee, and trained with Jody to lead the Reignite Weekend in North America and has a special interest in supporting those childless women for whom chronic illness or traumatic injury have contributed to their childlessness and/or painful or triggering communications with medical staff have complicated their grief process. Having had her own experience with this she is now offering her Beyond Words Mentorship Program for Practitioners to help them develop trauma-informed communication skills, including for women facing infertility. Elizabeth is passionate about bringing Gateway Women programs to North America and excited to be supporting the first North American Online Bee in 2020. You can contact Elizabeth directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
As Elizabeth says: “Doing the Online Bee was actually magical. I don’t use that lightly [….] Part of it I realized in hindsight was that you structured it in a way that it flows so beautifully. […] through the Online Bee I did the deeper work and I feel that the slower unfolding and allowing me that space and timing with the material really afforded me quite a transformation in my life – a transformation in the way I see myself and the way I see other women. It helped me find my voice.” (Hear more in the video above).
Here's what a month of The Online Bee will be like...
- 1st Saturday of the month – all the course materials for the month ahead will be available to access including 3 videos created by Jody exclusively for The Online Bee, workshop exercises, reading materials, etc. These will be all be hosted on the MightyNetworks course platform so you’ll be able to access them on your computer, iPad or using the MightyNetworks App on your smartphone. All videos are closed captioned so that you can watch with the sound on or off as you prefer and also available as written transcripts.
- After you’ve watched the videos and reviewed the materials, you’ll probably want to get into a conversation with your Hive sisters which you can do in your Hive forum (a private group on the Gateway Women Mighty Networks platform, not on Facebook!) Your Beehive Leader will be part of your Hive forum and able to answer any questions you may have about the topic and to help you reflect on how it relates to your own, unique experience of childlessness.
- 2nd Saturday of each month – your Beehive Leader will host a live, online, group video conference call for your Hive using the Zoom platform (you only need a free account to access). You’ll be able to see the other members of your Hive on the call (or you can participate by audio only if you’re feeling shy). During this 1-hour call your Beehive Leader will help you think and feel your way towards new solutions to current and old problems and support you as you continue to build both your internal resources and your external plans. They will talk through how you’re doing with each month’s topic as well as what else is going for you around your childlessness. The calls are recorded, so if you’re not able to make it, or don’t like live calls, you can listen again later.
- UK/EU Hive – Karin’s Zooms will be on the 2nd Saturday of the month at 6pm London time (GMT in winter, GMT+1 in summer).
- North American Hive – Elizabeth’s Zooms will be on the 2nd Saturday of each month (time to be confirmed).
- 4th Saturday of the month at 1800 GMT (London, UK time) Jody will host a live Zoom call, along with the Beehive Leaders, reflecting further on the month’s topic and allowing time for a Q&A. You can attend live and/or watch again later.
- Homework: Some months there will be some recommended reading that you’ll be asked to do to prepare for the following month’s topic (in addition to sections from Jody’s book Living the Life Unexpected). You will receive a reading list of these 5 books (it’s not every month) once the course begins – the first additional book doesn’t need to be read until Session 3 in April 2020 so really no need to rush for now! We will recommend audiobook versions wherever these are available.
- Please remember that this isn’t school, so if you can’t manage the homework for any reason, that’s fine! You can always revisit it at a later date if you wish. You’ll have lifetime access to the course materials.
The Online Bee Session Topics
- Online Bee Session 1: The Power of Owning Our Stories
- Online Bee Session 2: Meet Your Gremlins
- Online Bee Session 3: Self Compassion
- Online Bee Session 4: Social Identity
- Online Bee Session 5: Letting Go & Moving On
- Online Bee Session 6: Understanding our Relationships
- Online Bee Session 7: Value & Self Worth
- Online Bee Session 8: Befriending Your Body
- Online Bee Session 9: The Meaning Map & Your Plan B
- Online Bee Session 10: Creating a New Kind of Elderhood
- Online Bee Session 11: Holiday Remix
- Online Bee Session 12: Endings and New Beginnings
The Online Bee in a nutshell
- Get the experience of doing Gateway Women’s sell-out live ‘London Bee’ Plan B Mentorship Programme, but from the comfort of your home.
- 36 unique ‘workshop’ style videos, 3 per month, filmed exclusively by Jody Day for The Online Bee for you to watch and keep forever.
- Exercises, homework and further resources to download each month and keep.
- Personal support from your Beehive Leader and your sister Bees to brainstorm, imagine, develop and refine your Plan B, whether that’s an external change like a new business idea or career change or an internal shift such as working on how to respond differently to difficult treatment from your family or wider society. (It’s absolutely OK if you have no idea what your Plan B is yet!)
- Optional 1-hour monthly group Zoom video conference calls on the 2nd Saturday of each month with your Hive and your Beehive Leader for those members who wish to participate. Available to listen again later. (UK/EU Hive, 6pm GMT; North American Hive time TBC).
- A members-only Hive online forum on the MightyNetworks platform where you’ll be able to access mentorship directly from your Beehive Leader as well as the support, friendship and sisterhood of your Bees. Your online group will remain active after the course ends for as long as you wish.
- The Online Bee 2020 starts on 1st February 2020 and ends on 31st January 2021 (12 sessions).
- Each Hive will be restricted to 20 members which, in our experience, will mean that there will usually be about 10-12 members active at any one time for you to interact with. Once the course has started no new participants will be able to join.
- Cost: The Online Bee costs GBP £95 per month, payable in advance either monthly, quarterly or annually (at GBP £1,045 which will give you one month free of charge). If you choose to pay in USD this will be approx. $125 per month or USD $1,375 annually). You can pay in ANY local currency and it will be converted automatically by PayPal. You can cancel the program at any time if it’s not for you but no refunds are provided. No payments are taken until you have enrolled and been accepted onto the program. Any questions about payment methods, currencies, etc – please ask your Beehive Leader when you email her.
- Technical requirements: access to an internet-enabled computer, laptop, tablet or smartphone. Preferably one with a camera/webcam for the Zoom chats but you can also dial into these calls by phone if you wish.
- Required reference book to own (in paperback format) is Jody Day’s 2016 book Living the Life Unexpected: 12 Weeks to Your Plan B for a Meaningful and Fulfilling Life Without Children. You don’t need to have read it, or to read it before the course starts if you’re not quite ready to yet.
- Lifetime graduate access to all materials, videos and the private online community for the course.
To apply to join The Online Bee please reach out to the Beehive Leader closest to you.
She will then send you a questionnaire and arrange a time for an absolutely no-obligation 20-minute Zoom/Skype call with you. This is a chance to ask her absolutely anything you want (no questions are too weird for us, honest!) so that we can each feel that this is the right program at the right time for you. We appreciate that this is a substantial investment of your time and money and we want to make absolutely sure that it’s right for you.
Click here to email UK/EU Beehive Leader Karin Enfield email@example.com
Click here to email the North American Beehive Leader Elizabeth Grambsch firstname.lastname@example.org
More Testimonials from past 'Bees'
I signed up for the Online Bee course without hesitation but I had a lot of doubts that first month. Did I really need to revisit this old wound of infertility? Did I really think an online course would give me the connection and support I might need? Did I have the energy to do all the work? But the understanding, compassion and clarity that I received kept me going that month and through the remainder of the program, allowing me to transform my life in a way I didn’t even realize was needed or possible. I thought I had worked through the grief of my infertility and failed adoptions but I didn’t understand the ongoing cultural impact and sense of shame I struggled with on a daily basis. It had become my new normal and I kept my focus on everyone else to the detriment of my own wellbeing. By the time I turned 50 I was feeling quite alone inside even though I had a full life on the outside. This all changed when I connected with my Bee community and worked through Jody’s program, a combination of exercises and resources for moving through this particular kind of grief and presented with the right mix of humor and practicality. By the end of the program I had moved mountains in my life and so had all my new community of Online Bees. Jody has created a program that will change women’s lives and I recommend you don’t hesitate to sign up if you have the chance. (Evelyn, 51: USA)
When I signed up for the Online Bee I felt I had a lot of unresolved issues around childlessness. I wasn’t even sure how to articulate these, as I lacked opportunities to share them. At 47 I was still hanging on to the possibility that maybe a miracle could still happen, whilst also knowing I needed to find a way to let go.The course helped me find my voice, tell my story, start to grieve for all that felt lost, and search for new meaning. And I learnt how to navigate all this with more self-compassion than I’ve ever had in my life. Having a place to share fears, frustrations, sadness, confusion, to both give and receive support within an incredibly supportive group, is a very powerful thing. I found it amazing the connections which could be built through an online programme, and actually I think it suited me better, to be able to do things at my own pace, and to feel less inhibited than I might have done in person. I have started to be able to look ahead with a wiser mind, and to face issues around money and ageing which were totally off my radar prior to doing this course. This is a major achievement! I love that there is still ongoing contact with the group after the year is complete, and I also love having all the resources – reading material, books, etc to refer to when I need to. Thank you Jody and all the group for a life-changing course. (Lana, 48: UK)
- The Online Bee is a game-changer. It carefully and lovingly walks you through 12 different topics over 12 months to help you go deep and unpack your grief. Where there was fear, shame, and darkness prior to starting the Online Bee, there is now joy, love, laughter, and light in my life. Much of my anger has dissipated and the constant feeling of being stuck in a rut has shifted. An unexpected bonus from the program is a few dozen new friendships with women warriors just like me. I highly recommend this program. It is the best gift of self-care you can give to yourself. (Maria, 48: USA)
- When I signed up for the Online Bee, it was in the middle of December and I felt about as dark as the sky looked most of the time – so I knew something had to happen to change my life in some way. I really liked the idea of having ongoing support and liked Jody‘s style of writing and speaking in her videos, so I thought I had nothing to lose by trying the program (especially since you could decide to cancel every month if it is not for you after all). I‘m very glad I signed up because it was a safe space to turn to in a difficult time, and in the end it covered so much more than I expected – it really is an inventory of your entire life. The most important things I got out of the Online Bee is feeling understood and learning to be kind to myself. I felt massive shame and was not even aware of how much I beat myself up about having “failed“ – it was absolutely healing to learn that I am not alone and to feel that I really have done nothing wrong. Looking at meaning and the idea of creating meaning for yourself instead of waiting for it to happen really helped me to look at what can be meaningful for me now, and how I can take tiny steps to get there. It took a while for everyone to get used to interacting in an online group, but it is a great way of having the support when you need it and being able to take things at your own pace and choosing quiet times when you need them. I started out by being very shy about sharing information or even my picture in the first month – and ended up meeting some other Bees in person later in the year and it felt like meeting old friends. The course provides so much material on all areas of life – from the inner critic to your finances and aging without children – that it really feels like the course itself does not end after a year. You get a big toolbox and can go back to it for a long time afterwards. (Wilda, 40: Germany)
- Doing the Online Bee has widened my horizons, given me positive tools to use, and helped me gain a deeper understanding of who exactly I am. The programme gently and expertly guides us through a process of working with the self, which is very accessible. This is something I will remember for the rest of my life. I’ve often watched Jody’s videos thinking “Oh, if only everyone else could hear this”, or “that’s just such a great way to explain how life is for me”. I have made some lovely friends along the way and think we will carry on sharing our lives. There is such respect there now for each of us as sisters of suffering and now healing. I wouldn’t be without it now as my Bee sisters give me exceptional support. (Caroline, 54: UK)
The first time I heard Jody speak was late at night on a Canadian radio program. Before that moment, I’d been quietly attending to my shame and disappointment with how my life had turned out (childless and partnerless) by going on big adventures, switching to more meaningful work, and putting an enormous amount of resources into self-improvement. Yet despite all my efforts, I still felt on the outside of life, looking in but not quite able to be in it. That night, hearing Jody describe her own journey and Gateway Women, I felt found. Jody’s interview made me understand that there was a tribe and I was already part of it. That alone was enormously comforting. What had felt like deep personal failure was, in fact, something much larger than myself. I went to the Gateway Women website, got Jody’s book and, eventually, joined the online community. All that was a slow and halting process. I’d do some work around it and then back off, dabble in the online community and then take a break. When I heard about the Online Bee program, the self-help junkie in me perked up, but I was reminded of my many past attempts at online programs that I paid for but never got fully invested in, and also my naturally slow pace. I was concerned that a new chunk of work every month would be overwhelming and I wasn’t sure I wanted to spend a whole year focused on my grief and shame. I wanted to escape it, not dive head-long into it! In the end, it was isolation and the desire to feel I was making progress that propelled me to sign up. I needed to not be alone in my childlessness any longer and I needed to feel I was moving along a path in some kind of ordered way with someone leading me. The Online Bee addressed those two things beautifully. I have a sense of connection to the other Bees in my group. I have real, live people across the world that care about how I am doing and want to know how my journey is going. And I care about them too. Through the monthly modules, I was able to systematically address many of the things I’d known needed my attention but, until I had a structure to follow, had been hard to approach. The homework and activities provided the prompts to get me moving and the monthly calls helped me process and digest what I was discovering. At the end of the year’s program (which I stayed involved in right to the end and continue to be involved in as a ‘Graduate Bee’) I feel collected, less scattered and solid in my commitment to keep living and hoping and gently being (or bee-ing, as it were) my way into my Plan B life. (Kate, 43: USA)
- Thinking about joining The Online Bee, I asked myself, “Why would I torture myself with all that old stuff again? It was 30 years ago – it’s not like I’m crying into my cereal every morning anymore. Besides you’re too old to learn how to manage all the tech of an online course. You don’t even do Facebook! And I don’t like the idea of discussing such intimate stuff other than face to face with someone I really trust. It’ll be a bunch of strangers!” But boy was I glad I did. It was hard and confronting but, manage each section as and when you’re able, and you’ll feel able to dream and plan and prioritise and laugh again in ways you’d forgotten you could. If you find your dealings with the world often leave you angry or frustrated or embarrassed, like you’re walking around in a bubble or holding yourself apart, or you go ”offline’ regularly on weekends or say you don’t feel up to it when invited to something – if you drink or eat a little too much and just can’t seem to bring yourself to declutter the stuff that came to you from your parents place when they went into care – then ask yourself: are you managing these dark emotions, or are you just suppressing them? Facing them is hard, but once it’s done the joy of connection and relationships and the wonder of life will be yours. I’m talking about the passage from existence to a life fully embraced. Of the golden side of the coin being burnished because it knows and accepts and is OK to revisit the dark. Go for it – don’t live in the basement of your life any longer. (Sarah, 55: Australia)
- I can’t say enough about the Online Bee! When I found out that Gateway Women’s mentorship course was going to be available online, I knew I had to take it. To be honest, I was very overwhelmed when I first started but I got so much encouragement to keep going and wow – thank goodness I did. Now, looking back over the year, I wouldn’t be where I am emotionally today without having gone through all the materials, Jody’s videos, and the support of the incredible Bee community. I finally faced my pain and allowed grief to heal me. I can’t say that I am fully “healed” but I now have the tools and the support I need to face each day. For the first time in 12 years, I feel I am learning to hope again…. (Nicole, 41: Canada)
- I did have a bit of an internal struggle signing up to The Online Bee – actually filled out the form three times and never submitted until the fourth! But once I committed to the course I felt relieved knowing I was going to face childlessness head-on. What the course gave me was more than I could have imagined – Finally feeling like I belong, knowing my Bees always have my back unconditionally and being equipped with strategies to respond to insensitive comments/people has allowed me to feel control in settings that used to be almost unbearable at times (work, family, socially, etc. you name it). My mindset has changed with this course and it is refreshing to be able to openly talk about my childlessness, where in the past, I don’t think I knew how. The self-compassion strategies are something I practice every day — they are simply the best!! (Marie, 49: USA)
- Before I found Gateway Women I felt lost, alone, isolated, wistful, sad, stuck, angry…these are some of the words I wrote during an exercise the Reignite Weekend. That weekend gave me a sense of connection and community and I no longer felt alone and isolated. In time and with the continued involvement in the Gateway Women online community, I lost the angry, stuck and lost feelings too. And I learned that being wistful from time to time is OK for me. With all that change and growth I wasn’t sure what more the Online Bee could do for me… turns out a lot! So many of the topics we’ve explored – self-care, finance, befriending our bodies, social identity and elderhood – are relevant to any woman and I found the 12-month process of monthly reflection has provided an incredibly solid foundation that has given me back courage and hope – the good feelings I’d been missing in my 40s… and particularly the feeling that a world of possibility does again exist for me. That’s huge! Thank you so much – the stories and activities throughout this program were and are inspiring and comforting. I will always be grateful for Jody for being inspired to develop these supports (Sally, 49, Canada).