Hard Pushed by Leah Hazard @hazard_leah @PenguinUKBooks #midwifery #NetGalley


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.

Hard Pushed: A Midwife’s Story

Leah Hazard was and still is a real midwife who has decided to share her personal journey from her first day as a student on the labour ward to present day. There is sheer joy, heartache and understaffing where no day is ever the same, it is literally a warts and all account of midwifery.

What does come across in the book is the strong bond between these midwives that can call upon each other for help when things are not running to a textbook birth. No matter how many babies a woman has each one is unique through pregnancy, labour, and birth. It really is an anything can happen event. Leah shared the highs and lows of the job and how certain people make an everlasting impression. The rule equipping a room for every new mum is to prepare for the worst and hope you just don’t need all these torturous looking instruments.

From the textbook birth to stillborn babies Leah takes the reader sensitively through them all. Even with today’s technology, some things are not picked up from blood tests or scans. This leaves the midwife in a position of keeping a mum and any other family members calm while a pediatrician is sent for. Heartbreaking and shocking for all. Although distressing for the midwife they have to stay professional, seeing to the medical and emotional needs of the mother as well as cleaning and preparing the baby for the parent or parents to spend time.

Leah has written a hard reality check novel on the work life of a midwife whose job must be emotionally draining as well as so very rewarding sometimes two or three times a day or night. A book every woman thinking of becoming a midwife or mum should read!

I wish to thank NetGalley and the publisher for an e-copy of this book which I have reviewed honestly.

Leah Hazard
Leah Hazard grew up in the United States and graduated from Harvard University before moving to the United Kingdom to pursue a career in journalism and the arts. The birth of her first child promoted her to change direction; she is now a midwife and continues to promote positive change in the maternity services.

Twitter: @hazard_leah

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