Friday, September 18, 2009

Lady's Hands, Lion's Heart: A Midwife's Saga (memoir)

Lady's Hands, Lion's Heart: A Midwife's Saga by Carol Leonard is the author's recounting of her early years as a midwife. Inspired to become involved in women's health by her own traumatic birth experience, the author began working at an abortion clinic when her son was still a newborn. From there she began her midwife apprenticeship, without even knowing what a midwife is, by shadowing a country doctor who still made house calls and delivered babies at home in the 1980s around New Hampshire. Ms. Leonard eventually becomes a skilled and sought-after midwife in her own right, builds a practice, becomes an advocate for midwifery and helps institute legislation to legalize midwifery, falls in love with and marries her back-up obstetrician, and . . . well, I don't want to give the rest away.

It's a good story, covering a period of about ten years, full of drama, adventure, and love - and, of course, riveting birth stories. I love the birth stories! Made me relive my own - especially my two at-home births - and pine for another. One story in particular spoke to me - one in which the midwife catches a baby with Down syndrome. Like my own experience having Finn at home, I saw the parallels between the author's experience and what must have been my own midwife's experience when Finn was born: suspecting something but not wanting to alarm or distress the parents, and wanting very much to preserve the loving, peaceful atmosphere of the baby's entrance into the world.

One thing I noted is that this is a self-published book. It's well-written and professional-looking, but a tad unpolished, I thought. Still, a very good read, and I'm willing to pass it on now to anyone who wants it.

1 comment:

  1. I may come back to this one later. I just started Midwives. DiN has been taking up all of my (albeit limited) reading time lately.