Hard Pushed: A Midwife’s Story
by Leah Hazard
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.
Leah Hazard’s work in the maternity wards of the NHS frontline 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, Leah 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; Mrs Bhatti, a Bangladeshi lady who insists that Leah simply must write her own elaborate thank-you card; and Pei Hsuan, who has travelled hundreds 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 the most challenging, empowering and defining moments of our lives.
Until reading this book, modern day midwifery wasn’t really a career I’d ever put much thought into. Of course, I knew that the role existed, and I’ve watched a fair amount of ‘Call The Midwife’ but I hadn’t really sat down to think about the huge range of work required of midwives in a modern day hospital.
“Hard Pushed” is a frank, honest memoir written by Leah Hazard, an NHS midwife, practising in a maternity unit in Glasgow, Scotland. This audiobook was narrated with a strong Scottish accent, but Leah herself was born and raised in the United States, eventually leaving a career in television to pursue her lifelong interest in women’s health after the birth of her first daughter.
Following Leah from her first placement in oversized scrubs, right the way through to her work as an experience midwife, this book was a real eye-opener for me. It was full of interesting details about midwifery, the NHS and lots anecdotes, some of which completely blew my mind! It was fascinating to hear the stories of all of the different women and families who walked through the doors of the maternity unit. Some were moving, some frustrating and a couple humorous as well.
I’ve enjoyed most medical memoirs that I’ve read, and this is no exception. I’d definitely recommend it if you are a fan too.
Overall rating: “Hard Pushed” is a really enjoyable medical memoir. Following midwife Leah Hazard on her journey to become an experienced midwife. Full of interesting stories and anecdotes, this was a great 4 stars for me!