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Lady's Hands, Lion's Heart: A Midwife's Saga Paperback – March 15, 2010
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Top Customer Reviews
Now, I hate spolier reviews, so I won't spoil the book by revealing what happens, but I spent an hour crying after I finished the last chapter-- which I actually finished alone on my couch at 2AM-- probably not a great idea. I felt like I had been punched. You can't make me your friend and then slap me in the face!! The feeling didn't leave me for days.
This book is an emotional rollercoaster. I felt giddy, then happy, then crushed. But the whole thing isn't a bummer (there is a light at the end of this birth canal).
Just read it. All the reviews are true. This book is THE one.
My opinion of Carol Leonard is tricky so I will be careful not to make this review something that it shouldn't be. On one hand she was a revolutionary in her field. She helped pave the way for birth to become, in many instances, a beautiful, nonstressful event. Not everyone is blessed with that kind of experience, I know. Thinking back to what birth used to be...my grandmother was "knocked out" for her deliveries, my mother was alone, without her husband beside her...it's truly amazing the changes that have occurred in this area, in very large part to her and her fight for women's rights in childbirth. I also found myself amazed at her strength in the face of difficult situations, be it a difficult birth or severe critics of her profession.Read more ›
Let me explain: in my admittedly limited and very finite universe, vaginas are for fun and especially for putting things into, they are not for pushing out babies.
This book is all about pushing out babies and the intense physical, emotional, and family stuff that comes along with it. That's stuff I've never personally experienced, or actually thought about all that much.
In the reality of the world and the female experience of vaginas, most women in the world push a baby out of their vaginas at some point. Carol Leonard is all about giving women the opportunity to do this in a way that honors their bodies and their individual experience and is not medicalized, sanitized, and dehumanized. In other words, she's a midwife, and has become a powerful and noisy proponent of undisturbed birth. Starting in the 1970s she has fought against the medical takeover of birth by empowering women to make their own choices about their birth experiences. This means that she's attended thousands of births in rural New Hampshire and caught babies in all sorts of peculiar circumstances, many of which she writes about in this book.
I learned a hell of a lot about the birth process and especially the power of women's bodies in this book. Even if I never give birth, this book was so worth reading, just to know and understand how strong women are. Also, Carol Leonard is really hilarious, and approaches her work as a activist with a big heart and a huge sense of humor. Behold these few sentences about teaching women about their bodies and encouraging self-exams:
"Susie and I are Abbott and Costello with a speculum.Read more ›
I find myself thinking about various parts of this story during the day. I love her humble beginnings & I could totally see myself falling into midwifery the way she did (although I'm not sure lay midwifery the way she learned it is even an option anymore) and I can't agree more that book & class training doesn't even compare to hands-on, in-your-face real-life training. And she are so ballsy, I love it. I appreciated the ride she took me on, and certain women have stuck with me, especially the poor, abused women who endured so much. I don't know that I would have had her patience to deal with some of the men she had to encounter.
One of my favorite parts was after reading about Lynn Richards' VBAC, I immediately sent her a message & said, "hey! I just read about you in the book I'm reading!" It's so amazing to be a part of this incredible community of the most amazing women I've ever met.
Carol, I feel like there's more I want to say, but I am going to sign off now with an enormous Thank You in my heart for sharing your experiences with the world. And I'm so grateful to my hostelmate who recommended I read your book.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great book! Couldn't stop reading, especially because it's a true story, with good information for midwifery students!Published 26 days ago by olideane
Best book I've ever read. Do yourself a favor and delight in this woman's story!Published 7 months ago by Emily Benner
I loved this book! This pioneer in home birth tells a great story, teaches midwifery on every page and shows us courage! Read morePublished 15 months ago by Bethmchoul
I LOVE this book!! I have been following Carol's blog and posts on Facebook daily and decided to buy the book so I could skip back and forth. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Jessica P.
Love this book! Approaching my due date w baby #3 I was told about this book by my CNMW. I couldn't put it down and then I went into labor at 40.2 weeks and had our little boy. Read morePublished 18 months ago by Christina M. Pessia
I absolutely love this book! Carol is an amazing story teller.Published 21 months ago by nicole kedzie