Holding sacred space for women with Rhea Dempsey

 
Photography by Leah Robertson and David Michael for Dumbo Feather

Photography by Leah Robertson and David Michael for Dumbo Feather

“i struggle so deeply

to understand

how someone can

pour their entire soul

blood and energy

into someone

without wanting

anything in

return

i will have to wait till i’m a mother”

Those beautiful words are from poet Rupi Kaur and they celebrate this conversation, which is honour of motherhood for mother’s day.

Today’s episode is a treasure, honouring women at her most powerful and profound - a woman in labour.

I was invited to guest host an episode of the heart-stirring Dumbo Feather podcast earlier this year, interviewing birth attendant, childbirth educator and counsellor Rhea Dempsey.

For more than thirty years, Rhea has been helping women/birthing person and their partners to feel empowered and more prepared when navigating child birth. Known around the world for her earthy pragmatism as a birth support attendant and educator, she’s attended more than 1,500 births (!) and knows a thing or two about how our attitudes to birth can be better.

Rhea is a passionate advocate for natural birth - where it’s safe and possible. Her journey to this work began at the birth of her own first child, where the medical process was so at odds with her body’s natural instincts that she discharged herself and her baby from hospital early. So began a career change from P.E. teaching to become one of Australia’s most revered birth attendant and educators today.

Rhea has the most poetic and lyrical expressions in the way she describes birth, that I was hanging on every phrase. You’ll notice it too, it’s a joy to listen to. We spoke about everything from why our attitudes towards birth have changed so dramatically since the 1980s, how we can hold sacred space between a mother/birthing person and their baby, and how we can provide unconditional support however their story unfolds.

For mother’s day I would like to honour my own mum - Maxine - who has a heart bigger than her body and has spent my lifetime pouring it into me. She’s also this show’s number one supporter, and I’m fairly sure that when we launched inflated the numbers of people listening it - because I know she was listening to the first episode on repeat. I’d also like to honour my step-mum Amaya, grandmothers Joyce and Brenda and the collective of wise women who have raised me. May the mothers in all our lives feel loved, held and cherished not just for mother’s day but every day of the year.

Photography by Leah Robertson and David Michael for Dumbo Feather

Photography by Leah Robertson and David Michael for Dumbo Feather

Photography by Leah Robertson and David Michael for Dumbo Feather

Photography by Leah Robertson and David Michael for Dumbo Feather

 
 

“When you’re in that birthing space and you’re feeling it, witnessing it, that intensity of that transformation for a woman’s as she’s birthing - it’s so powerful and strong.”

Rhea Dempsey

 
 
Photography by Leah Robertson and David Michael for Dumbo Feather

Photography by Leah Robertson and David Michael for Dumbo Feather

Photography by Leah Robertson and David Michael for Dumbo Feather

Photography by Leah Robertson and David Michael for Dumbo Feather

Things to Check Out After Today’s Episode:

You can learn more about Rhea’s work over at Birthing Wisdom

  • Rhea’s conversation with Berry Liberman, Dumbo Feather’s heart-stirring editor-in-chief here

  • You can find out more about Dumbo Feather over at their website, instagram or podcast page.

  • We'll be sharing some beautiful mother's day resources and ponderings via our newsletter on Sunday (Mother's Day). Receive yours by signing up to Mindful Mail.

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Keep Listening:

  • Have you been enjoying All Being Well? It would mean so much to me if you would Subscribe, rate and leave an honest review. It helps other people to discover the show. Another option is to share this episode with your mum, a mother figure or a loved one in your life to spread the love.

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Kayla Robertson