About the Book
No sleep for twenty hours. No food for ten. And a ward full of soon-to-be mothers… Welcome to the life of a midwife.
Life on the NHS front line, working within a system at breaking point, is more extreme than you could ever imagine. From the bloody to the beautiful, from moments of utter vulnerability to remarkable displays of strength, from camaraderie to raw desperation, from heart-wrenching grief to the pure, perfect joy of a new-born baby, midwife Leah Hazard has seen it all.
Through her eyes, we meet Eleanor, whose wife is a walking miracle of modern medicine, their baby a feat of reproductive science; Crystal, pregnant at just fifteen, the precarious, flickering life within her threatening to come far too soon; Star, birthing in a room heady with essential oils and love until an enemy intrudes and Pei Hsuan, who has carried her tale of exploitation and endurance thousands of miles to somehow find herself at the open door of Leah’s ward.
Moving, compassionate and intensely candid, Hard Pushed is a love letter to new mothers and to Leah’s fellow midwives – there for us at some of the most challenging, empowering and defining moments of our lives.
What I thought
My own child bearing days are long gone. Once you’ve been there though, I don’t think you ever forget the most painful, exciting, awe inspiring event of your life that is child birth; as the song goes – Nothing Compares. Since giving birth is probably one of the most intense times you’ll go through as a woman, you’re probably unlikely to forget the midwife who was there to help you deliver your baby.
When this book came up on Netgalley I jumped at the chance to read it. I really enjoy anything medical related and after reading the first paragraph of the synopsis I was even more eager to read this. With references to the “NHS Front line”, and “working within a system at breaking point” this had echoes of a book I read towards the end of last year by Rachel Clarke – Your Life in My Hands which was so insightful as well as touching.
Well this book lived up to and even surpassed expectations. I enjoyed every page. Leah comes across as such a kind and dedicated professional. She shares with the reader her reasons of why she went into midwifery, shares some wonderful stories of the more unusual birthing experiences she has encountered during her work. She also shares the sheer exhaustion that she feels at times. Working 12 hour night shifts, coming into work feeling ill but not wanting to let her overworked and understaffed colleagues down. Struggling with labour ward bed shortages and the total overwhelm that is often felt by NHS staff working in an underfunded and very overstretched health service.
With compassion and an obvious dedication to her role, Leah Hazard paints an insightful picture of what life is really like for a midwife working on the NHS front line of maternity services.
If you liked the TV programme One Born Every Minute, you’ll love this book. There’s no playing up to the camera here, just true life stories that will melt your heart, break your heart but make you smile too.
Publication date for this book is 2 May 2019 and is available on Amazon to pre-order
With thanks to the publisher Random House UK, Cornerstone via Netgalley for an ARC
Photo Credit for baby picture: Wayne Evans via Pexels.com