What can I hope to gain from this retreat? 

Many motherless daughters have never 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 we needed to be “over” the loss after a brief period of time.

At a Motherless Daughters Retreat, you'll be listened to and supported. Your story will be respected. You will also learn how to create new connections with your mother, and to honor the unique individual you are, both as her daughter and as a female in your own right.

What is the daily schedule?

A typical four-day retreat* looks like this:

Day 1: group meeting at 5 p.m., dinner at 6 p.m., and an evening program** from 7 until about 9 p.m. 

Day 2:  breakfast at 8 a.m., daytime program** from 9 till noon. After lunch we meet from 1 to 3 p.m. You have free time from 3 p.m. until dinner at 6. After dinner, the evening program runs until approximately 9 p.m. 

Day 3: breakfast at 8 a.m., yoga class from 9-10, daytime program** from 10 till noon. After lunch we meet from 1 to 3 p.m. You have free time from 3 p.m. until dinner at 6. After dinner, the evening program runs until approximately 9 p.m. 

Day 4: breakfast at 8 a.m., and then a closing program** before the retreat ends at approximately 11 a.m.

* Retreats led at independent sites such as 1440 Multiversity may follow a different or longer schedule. Please contact us directly to inquire about the daily schedule.

** “Program” refers to a unique curriculum developed for your specific group, including story sharing; story reframing; journal writing prompts; experiential exercises; guided meditations; and group talks in the evenings.


Who will be in the group?

The group will be a diverse collection of women from all over the U.S. and Canada (and sometimes from overseas) 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. Participants find they have many experiences in common. Most group members arrive saying they’d felt alone and isolated with their stories for years, and leave saying they have a new group of soul sisters they can stay in touch with now.

Motherless Daughters Retreats does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion (creed), gender, gender expression, sexual orientation, age, national origin, disability, or marital status in any of its activities or operations. We are committed to providing an inclusive and welcoming environment for all participants and, whenever possible, choose retreat sites that are ADA compliant.

I was very young when my mother died and I have few or no memories of her. Is this 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 mdretreats@gmail.com.

Why do you divide the retreats by age?

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. 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 each group's age criteria for this reason.

What if I need individual attention during the retreat?

We strive to create an environment in which each of our participants feels safe, secure, and supported. Group leaders can be available for brief individual therapy and coaching consultations on site if needed. But your most helpful support is likely to come from the women in your group. You’ll find them to be enormously caring and attentive to each other, and conversation typically flows freely. We encourage you to reach out to them during the weekend.

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 bottled 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 emotional shape by the time you’re ready 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. We can easily accommodate vegetarians, vegans, and those on gluten- and dairy-free diets.

How can I find rides to and from the retreat 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. Upon registration, we also send out information about arrival, departure, and transportation between area airports and local train stations and the retreat site.

Do you offer financial assistance?

Every retreat group "pays it forward" by starting a scholarship fund for the next group. The number of scholarships available varies, depending on the size of each fund. We can typically offer one to three partial scholarships (of up to one-half of the registration fee)  per retreat for women who cannot otherwise afford to attend. Special preference is given to single mothers; women of color; LGBTQ+ individuals; college students; and women in financial distress due to health crises. For information about financial assistance, please email info.mdretreats@gmail.com.

What should I bring?

You’ll want to pack exercise clothes for a morning yoga class and comfortable walking shoes for afternoon walks/hikes at some retreat sites. 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 two weeks after the retreat we hold a one-hour conference call where everyone can check in and share stories from their post-retreat weeks. The Facebook page remains active so the group can stay in touch and offer support and advice long after the retreat ends. Graduates of the Fly It Forward retreat also join the larger community of alumni online.

What is your cancellation policy?

Up to 60 days prior to start date: refundable minus a $150 service fee;

Up to 31 days prior the start date: refundable minus a $300 cancellation fee;

Within 30 days of the start date: non-refundable.

Organizers reserve the right to cancel the retreat up to 30 days before start date if minimum enrollment has not been achieved. You would then receive a 100% refund of the registration fee. We suggest you purchase travel insurance when you book airline tickets to avoid flight cancellation fees.

We regret that there can be no exceptions to this policy.

Please feel free to contact info.mdretreats@gmail.com if your question has not been answered here.