CNBC Couples Retreat
March 7-10, 2024

The ultimate opportunity to take some time for yourself and connect with other couples who understand the reality of involuntary childlessness.


Imagine wanting something so badly, like having a family, and then suddenly that dream is swiped away. Life throws curveballs that can really mess with the plans we had in mind. As a couple dealing with the weight of involuntary childlessness, the journey is a rollercoaster of emotions, surprises, and uncharted emotional territories. Sometimes tough times make couples even stronger, but let’s be real – sometimes these tough times can rock the boat big time.


Although you know that something needs to change, it can be challenging when the outside world doesn’t recognise the complexity of your grief and not know how to support you. I remember those feelings so vividly.  

Now looking back.. 

I wish I had known earlier the importance of connecting with a community of loving and supportive people who actually understand where we were coming from. That’s why I’m so excited to invite you to this Couples Retreat in Colombia – a safe space to connect, share and feel empowered with like-minded couples for a long weekend. 

Each of my retreats are unique, yet they all share a common objective: to leave you feeling calmer, more at peace, and confident to carve out your own path, say no, take risks and to embrace new opportunities. Most importantly, you’ll come away with the inner knowing that you don’t have to face this alone. We’ve got your back!

Childless Not By Choice - Couples Retreat in Colombia

After talking to hundreds of childless couples we know what we DON’T want for the next 40-50-60 years..

  Feeling angry thinking: “Why us?”

  Feeling guilty thinking: “If only we had…”

  Feeling depressed thinking: “Who are we, not being parents?”

  Feeling lonely thinking: “Nobody understands”

We’ve been there, done that… 


Instead, we’re working hard on consciously creating our new (unexpected) future…

  Not FIND meaning, but CREATE meaning and purpose in our life and in our relationship.

 Not HOPE for the triggers to get less, but CREATE tools to cope with the daily rollercoaster of emotions.

 Not WAIT for people to listen and understand, but CREATE connections with like-minded people who really get us, and inspire us.

It’s not easy every day… (grief is not something you ‘get over with’) but we believe that one small step can start a ripple effect of positive change in your life. Curious to learn more?

Childless Not By Choice - Couples Retreat in Colombia

Step 1

Let us know that you're interested

Step 2

Schedule a 'get-to-know-us' call

Step 3

Pay & Pack your bags

Reset, Reconnect & Refocus - Together!

Childless Not By Choice - Couples Retreat in Colombia

Have you ever heard of the term ‘Couples Retreat’ before?

It’s a time to be intentional about reconnecting with your partner, a designated time away as a couple to refresh and reset your relationship (no matter how good it is!).

I organise walking & hiking retreats around the world for childless women to come together and connect in a safe and supportive environment. But after multiple requests of women to organise something which they can join with their partner, I created the first ever CNBC Couples Retreat, which I’ll be hosting together with my husband François de Neuville.

Sounds fun! How does that work?

Join me and my husband in Bucaramanga, Colombia from March 7-10, 2024. 

This retreat isn’t just a getaway; it’s a game-changer. As a couple dealing with involuntarily childlessness, you aren’t alone here. With expert guidance, heart-to-heart sessions, and activities that bring everyone together, you leave with a new sense of belonging and a roadmap for a fulfilling life that’s way more than just parenthood. 

Colombia’s not just the backdrop; it’s where you find back the strength to navigate life’s twists and turns, together.

This CNBC Couples Retreat provides a space for both of you to:

  • Develop new friendships and connections with like-minded couples going through similar experiences
  • Learn practical strategies to cope with the emotional and psychological challenges of childlessness
  • Reflect on your personal values, goals, and aspirations and how they have been impacted by your experience of childlessness
  • Explore ways for effective communication with your partner, family, and friends about your childlessness experience
  • Reduce stress and anxiety, improve emotional resilience, and develop better self-awareness
  • Develop self-regulation skills to manage difficult emotions associated with grief
  • Share your stories and experiences and listen to and learn from others in a supportive and non-judgmental environment

In short, this promises to be an exciting and engaging weekend where you can develop new friendships and connections with like-minded people who REALLY get you, and discover practical tools to navigate the unique challenges of childlessness.

Price: $1999 (per couple)

What Others Say About Previous Retreats

"This weekend transformed me in a way I can't quantify in words and helped start to heal wounds I didn't know ran so deep. I am eternally grateful for this opportunity."
"What an experience to be with other women who have struggled through infertility, women who empathise with my journey and actually understand where I am coming from."
"I am so grateful to meet such an amazing group of people!!! For the first time I can look forward to a future that seems so full of possibilities instead of being afraid of emptiness."

Our Program

Childless Not By Choice - Couples Retreat in Colombia

Today’s theme is “Disconnect to Reconnect” – Disconnect from everything that doesn’t support your well-being and give yourself the time and space to recharge. Day 1 is all about deeply connecting with yourself and others.

Today’s theme is “Release & Surrender” – Notice your emotions, acknowledge your experiences, and allow them to move past you. Day 2 is all about emotionally letting go of negative emotions in a healthy way.

Today’s theme is ‘Rediscover Your Roots’ – Recreate a solid foundation. Roots form the basis of our personality, they define our being. On day 3 we rethink our life, and explore how we can live in alignment with our personal values and desires.

Today’s theme is “Spread Your Wings” – Jump into a created life. Wings give us the freedom, to go out in the world and explore new things. On day 4 we express our innate curiosity, and discover new ideas and opportunities.

Meet Your Host & Guide Rianna Hijlkema

My name is Rianna, originally from The Netherlands, but currently living in Mexico. I’m a multi-passionate serial entrepreneur living a nomadic life for the past 12 years (7 of them with my husband). Traveling to 40+ countries and working on four continents has taught me to approach life (and business) with resourcefulness and resilience.

Sounds pretty good, right?

Yup, until infertility knocked on my door. The first 4 years I’ve kind of wasted my life (even though I was laying on white sandy beaches, hiking mountains and ‘living the life’) on the inside I felt so terribly lonely. Nowhere could I find friends who understood the challenges I was facing while going through IVF.

Over the years I became lonelier and lonelier. The constant uncertainty and waiting had put my life on hold and the emotional rollercoaster of infertility took over my marriage, my relationships, my work, my body, in fact, all of me!

We live in a society that glorifies the “never give up” mentality. We celebrate those who persevere through tough times and achieve their goals against all odds. We admire those who possess unwavering grit and determination, and often hold them up as examples for others to follow.

But there’s a darker side to this cultural value of persistence that we don’t often talk about.

When we prioritize grit and determination above all else, we can easily fall into the trap of neglecting our own well-being. We push ourselves to the brink of burnout. We forget that success is not just about achieving our dreams, but also about maintaining balance and taking care of ourselves along the way.

Quitting is not always a sign of weakness, but instead a sign of courage and self-awareness.

After 6 IUI’s, 3 IVF’s, ten thousands of dollars, relationship challenges, and being really close to a depression. It was enough… Quitting was our act of self-love. Trust me, that was the hardest decision of my life! “Oh, you didn’t want it badly enough!” – is what I heard last week and that stings. We don’t feel like we gave up. We decided that there was only so much that we could actually deal with.

If there’s one thing we know about being childless, it’s that it can be a wild ride. Unsolicited advice, pregnancy announcements, feelings of overwhelm, and questions about the meaning life. This rollercoaster of emotions is hard to grasp for the outside world. And making new friends as an adult is challenging. As childless couples we don’t have ‘the school gates’, the birthday parties, or the swimming lessons to find each other.

That’s why… I started organising a monthly women’s circle and (in-person/virtual) retreats, to offer a safe space for childless women to reset, reconnect and refocus – together. And the funny thing? All of the participants are women I met on Instagram. Friendship is not about who you’ve known the longest. It’s about who walked into your life, said ‘I’m here for you!’ and never left your side!

 Those connections became a huge part of my recovery as I worked on my overall health and well-being. If I was a doctor I would prescribe friendships for everyone, but I’m not so… I provide opportunities instead!

And this CNBC Couples Retreat in Colombia is one of them!

The ultimate opportunity to connect with people (like me!) who understand the triggers, confrontations and other emotions that arise on a day-to-day base. Together, we are going to cry and laugh until our bellies hurt!


What Others Say About Me

"I am beyond grateful for your quality time and effort to guide me. You've inspired me to follow my heart and intuition as of lately.

Thank you for pushing me to really evaluate what I wanted, it helped so much.

Also thank you so much for your insights. Your words mean so much to me and just being around your energy fills me up with inspiration."
Carolina M.
Student Master Therapy/Psychology
"I felt lost and emotionally out of balance. The support that Rianna gave me, was the perfect gift to help me move forward. The framework she is using clarified many things, which led to revelations during the week, which helped me make new decisions. Rianna guided me to open up the different layers and then helped me flip this information into something practical for the future. Rianna was a crucial piece in the transition that I was going through."
Laura - testimonial women empowerment coach Rianna Hijlkema
Laura Giosh-Markov
Positive Discipline workshop facilitator, Parent consultant, Counselor, and Music Therapist
"I contacted Rianna, because I was going through a deep down. I was feeling lost, I didn’t know where to start, I was overwhelmed with self-doubt and I had no clarity at all on where to go, or even to start. I resonated with Rianna and was provoked by her way of living her life. Rianna gave me the tools to sit down, work through them and understand why I feel a certain way. Rianna does an amazing way of guiding; very encouraging, supportive, but also challenging."
Maria Kacharava
Support Service Team Leader

"A unique and empowering experience"

Frequently Asked Questions

While this CNBC Couples Retreat is specifically for those who are involuntarily childless, it is important to note that the group is made up of a diverse range of people with different relationships, experiences, backgrounds, and perspectives. We have participants who come from all walks of life. My focus is on creating a supportive and empowering environment where EVERYONE can share their experiences, learn from one another, and connect with others who truly understand what they are going through.

This retreat is not about dwelling on negative emotions or wallowing in sadness. Rather, we will be exploring ways to find meaning and fulfillment in life despite the challenges of involuntary childlessness. Our sessions will include mindfulness practices, outdoor activities, and discussions on topics such as self-care, resilience, and cultivating joy. We believe that this retreat will be a transformative experience for everyone who participates, regardless of their gender, age, or background.

Being childless-not-by-choice is not a one-and-done kind of thing. You don’t get over it and move on. You will still have times when you wish things had turned out differently. That’s ok. It’s ok to grieve the life you didn’t get. It’s ok to be angry. But remember, even though you have to do it all by yourself, you don’t have to do it alone. We’ve got you!

  • Are you going through the emotional rollercoaster of childlessness and find it hard to share your experiences, feelings and thoughts with your partner, friends and family?
  • Are you done with receiving well-meaning but unhelpful (often even hurtful!) advice from your surroundings?
  • Are you feeling that other couples are dealing way much better with childlessness than you do?

If any of these are true for you, I get it. Because they were all true for me too!

After talking to hundreds of women who are childless not by choice, I know now that not taking action can leave you stuck in grief for decades, maybe even your whole life. Just existing and not living can lead to anxiety, depression and loneliness. And I believe that life is too freaking short for that!

Increase your clarity and confidence alongside a tribe of inspiring people.

This CNBC Couples Retreat will take place in San Gil, Colombia. 

Ticket: $1999 (per couple)

Please read our terms & conditions at the bottom of this page.

Additional VAT may apply, depending on your location.

We’ll meet on Thursday March 7th at 12 pm local time in Bucaramanga.

We’ll drop you off back in Bucaramanga on Sunday March 10th, 2024 at 2 pm local time.

If you are interested, but can’t make these dates/timings, reach out to me (email: and I will keep you in the loop on upcoming dates! 

With your reservation confirmation, I will email you a detailed packing list (nothing you need to buy specifically). 

Having a travel insurance is highly recommended. 

  • Connection call (virtual, 2 weeks before arrival)
  • Transportation from Bucaramanga to San Gil on Thursday at 12pm.
  • Transportation from San Gil back to Bucaramanga on Sunday at 12 pm local time.
  • 3 nights in standard accommodation
  • Daily three times vegetarian/vegan/regular meals
  • Daily morning, afternoon & evening circle sessions/activities hosted by Rianna & François
  • 2% of your full payment will be donated to support girls and women empowerment initiatives in Nepal
  • Airfare & transportation to Bucaramanga, Colombia
  • Arrival visa (free up to 90 days)
  • Insurance (health & travel) 
  • Personal expenses (alcohol, souvenirs, etc)
  • Additional requested meals and drinks

Questions, doubts or something else?

Making an investment in yourself is scary. I totally understand.

Please reach out to me at if you have any questions, or book a virtual coffee chat to get a feel of what it would look like to spend some time together.