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Comment: This item is in good condition. All pages and covers are readable. There are no stains or tears. Dust jacket is present if applicable. May contain small amounts of writing and/or highlighting. Spine and cover may show signs of wear. May not contain supplementary items. We ship within 1 business day. Big Hearted Books shares its profits with schools, churches and non-profit groups throughout New England. Thank you for your support!
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Lady's Hands, Lion's Heart: A Midwife's Saga Paperback – March 15, 2010

4.7 out of 5 stars 82 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Carol Leonard, a "foremother of the modern midwifery movement," is a NH Certified Midwife who has been practicing for the last three decades. She is a co-founder of the Midwives Alliance of North America (MANA) representing all midwives in the US, Canada and Mexico, serving one term as President of MANA.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 312 pages
  • Publisher: Bad Beaver Publishing; 1st Printing edition (March 15, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0615195504
  • ISBN-13: 978-0615195506
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (82 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #724,185 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I waited a long time to post this review...because I had to digest this book. It was wonderful (at first)-- the stories were touching, and funny. I loved reading about all the home births and crazy politics surrounding midwifery. The stories are so wonderful and touching... I felt like I had made a friend... like I was actually there experienceing this entire journey with the author.

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.
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A book review is supposed to be a readers opinion of a book and the talent (or lack thereof in some cases, but not this one) of the author in weaving a good tale. This book is Midwife Carol Leonard's memoir; this is a book that is clearly very personal to her. As someone who initially went to college to become a nurse with a focus on Labor and Delivery, and who was blessed to have three wonderful midwives deliver three out of my four children...number four seemed to think my husband and the nurse in the room at the time was more than audience enough for him; he's still impatient and a 7 year old man on a mission to this day...I was immediately drawn to this book. The birth stories were all so incredibly beautiful, be they difficult or textbook. I have forever loved the idea of birthing at home, in an environment that is purely your own, in whatever atmosphere is comfortable to you. I regret that I never got to experience that part for myself. Each story was a miracle and I'm so grateful to her for sharing her experiences.

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.
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Format: Paperback
I have never been so viscerally affected by a book as I was by this one. Seriously, never. I squirmed, I clutched at my heart, I cried.

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.
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Format: Paperback
I finished this book last night & was just completely bowled over. I loved everything about it. Carol has created something wonderful & I feel honored to have been invited to share in her experiences. A thought came to my mind yesterday: why has it taken me this long to know about Ms. Leonard?? I'm relatively new to the Midwifery/birth scene, so I knew a few names before the Midwifery Today conference, but she is such a major figure, I can't believe I took my meeting her so casually! I guarantee that next time I have the opportunity to meet her, I'm going to be all goo-goo eyes & star struck. It's not a promise, it's just the way it is. LOL
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.
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