What can I hope to gain from this retreat?
Many motherless daughters have not had the experience of sitting in a room of women who understand their innermost challenges, triumphs, and fears. In addition, many of us were silenced in the past or told that we needed to be “over” the loss after a brief period of time. At a Motherless Daughters Retreat, you will be listened to and supported. Your story will be validated and respected. You will also learn ways to create new connections with your mother, and to honor the unique individual that you are, as both her daughter and as a female in your own right.
What is the daily schedule?
A typical retreat begins on Thursday at 5 p.m., with dinner at 6 p.m. and an evening program* that runs until about 9 p.m.
On Friday and Saturday, breakfast starts at 8 a.m. Our program* runs from 9 till noon (with a yoga class from 9 to 10 a.m. on Saturday). After lunch we meet again from about 1 to 3 p.m. You have free time from 3 p.m. until dinner at 6 p.m. After dinner, the evening program* runs until approximately 9 p.m.
On Sunday we have breakfast at 8 a.m., and then a closing program* before the retreat ends at approximately 11 a.m.
* “Program” refers to a unique curriculum developed for this group, including story sharing; story reframing; writing prompts; experiential exercises; and fireside talks in the evenings.
What will the group be like?
The group will be a diverse collection of women from all over the U.S. (and sometimes from abroad) who have lost their mothers to death at various ages, and from many different causes. Women who sign up for these retreats do so because they feel ready to examine the impact their mothers deaths have had on their lives, and participants will find they have many experiences in common. Most group members arrive saying they’d felt alone and isolated with their stories for many years, and leave saying they have a new and large group of soul sisters they can stay in touch with now.
I was very young when my mother died and I have few or no memories of her. Is this group still for me?
Yes! At each Early Loss retreat, we typically have several women who were pre-school age or younger when their mothers died. We have exercises to help you re-connect with your mother no matter how old you were when she died, and tools to help you learn more about her after you return home.
My mother is still living but we are estranged, or she is otherwise unavailable. Can I attend this retreat?
We acknowledge and appreciate the many forms of mother loss that exist and the unique pain that results from them. However, the long-term effects of a relationship that is disrupted or damaged due to abandonment, rejection, addiction, mental illness, or other forms of absence can be substantially different from those that result from an early experience with death. For that reason, at this time Motherless Daughters Retreats are offered only to women who have lost their mothers through death. For a list of recommended resources for women who have experienced other forms of mother loss, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Why do you divide the retreats by age?
Some Motherless Daughters Support Groups welcome women who were any age when their mothers died; others are offered only for those who were children or teenagers at the time of loss. We have found that our four-day retreats work best when women are grouped by age at time of loss. The experience of losing a mother at age six, for example, when one’s developing personality is shaped by the death, is very different from the experience of losing a mother at age thirty, for example, after a close and consistent adult relationship has already been formed and needs to be mourned. Dividing the groups by age is not meant to be exclusionary, but rather to ensure that each retreat best meets the needs of its participants. We strictly adhere to the age limits for this reason.
What if I need individual attention during the retreat?
Claire and Hope can be available for brief individual therapy and coaching consultations on site if needed. We strive to create an environment in which each of our participants feels safe, secure, and supported. But the most important support is likely to come from the other women in the group. You will find them to be enormously caring and attentive to each other, and conversation typically flows freely within the group. We also encourage you to reach out to them during the retreat.
What if I have powerful emotions I can’t control?
This is one of the most common concerns we hear prior to a retreat – the worry that once we peel the lid back on emotions we’ve kept stored up for so long the crying won’t ever stop. We promise you, the emotions released won’t consume you. More likely, they’ll bring you a sense of relief. And you may find that “falling apart” for a brief period of time allows you to put yourself back together in a stronger configuration. We are trained to help you do that, and we make sure you are in good enough emotional shape to go home.
I have dietary restrictions. Can they be accommodated?
On the registration form you will be asked if you have any food allergies, sensitivities, restrictions or preferences in your diet and our chef will accommodate them. We easily accommodate vegetarians, vegans, and those on gluten- and dairy-free diets.
How can I share a ride to and from the site?
Typically, several group participants live driving distance from a retreat and can either carpool together or offer a ride to someone who’s flying in. Other participants may all be arriving at the same airport at the same time and can either rent a car together or share a shuttle. About two months before the retreat we’ll set up a closed Facebook group, where participants can introduce themselves and post their flight information to start organizing carpools. We will have information for a shared shuttle service between the Atlanta airport and the Dahlonega Spa Resort in April, and suggestions for transportation between area airports and local train stations and the Guest House Retreat Center in November.
What should I bring?
Our site in Dahlonega has a hot tub, so bring a bathing suit and sunscreen if you’d like to use it. You’ll also want to pack exercise clothes for a morning yoga class and walking shoes for hiking. Beyond that, bring toiletries, layered clothing, and snacks for your room if you’d like them. Also please bring a photo of your mother for a display table. We supply all materials for the workshop. And we provide plenty of tissues.
Is there any follow-up? What happens after the retreat?
At the end of the retreat we discuss re-entry to home life, including how to explain the retreat to loved ones and how to engage in helpful self-care. Approximately one week after the retreat we hold a one-hour conference call where everyone can check in and share stories from their post-retreat week. The Facebook page remains active so the group can stay in touch and offer support and advice long after the retreat ends.
What is your cancellation policy?
Up to 60 days before the retreat start date you can receive a full refund minus a $200 cancellation fee.
Within 60 days of the retreat start date the registration fee is non-refundable.
We regret that there can be no exceptions to this policy.