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Hard Pushed: A Midwife’s Story

4.24  ·  Rating details ·  537 ratings  ·  106 reviews
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
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published May 2nd 2019 by Hutchinson
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“For fans of Adam Kay’s This Is Going to Hurt and Christie Watson’s The Language of Kindness,” the blurb on my press release for Leah Hazard’s memoir opens. The publisher’s comparisons couldn’t be more perfect: Hard Pushed has the gynecological detail and edgy sense of humor of Kay’s book (“Another night, another vagina” is its first line, and the author has been known to introduce herself with “Midwife Hazard, at your cervix!”), and matches Watson’s with its empathetic picture of patients’ ...more
Jun 21, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: three-star
A look at the world of modern midwifery through the eyes of a practicing NHS midwife. This was an easy read for me, and one I was able to finish over the course of a day. Like others within its genre, the author recounts stories of memorable patients alongside observations of the realities of the job.

Each chapter is handily labelled, although some are only a couple of pages long. It was interesting to read about patients with exceptional stories and heartbreaking to read others. The author is
This was a wonderful medical memoir written by a practising midwife.

Until I read this memoir I’d never thought about how hard mentally, emotionally and physically it is to be a midwife. Probably because before, during and after pregnancy all I was thinking about was the baby and how I was feeling. Never in a million years did I consider how the midwives were feeling or how their days were going.

This book was a real eye-opener and made me appreciate all the incredibly hard work that goes into
May 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book, as a woman who has given birth twice with no issues.
I found it an emotional read and was fascinated in the workings of a labour ward and delivery suite.
Reminded me how precious life is and what we take for granted with our amazing NHS.
We are incredibly lucky to have such an amazing healthcare system with such hard working staff.
Thanks for the opportunity to read and review this book.
Jackie Law
May 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Hard Pushed: A Midwife’s Story, by Leah Hazard, provides a timely reminder of how valuable the NHS is, and of the appalling demands currently being made of front-line staff. The author is a working midwife and shares stories of cases she has dealt with, and the conflicts regularly faced due to the spectre of rules and a lack of resources. It is not, however, polemic. Written with grace and generosity, this candid memoir presents the business of birth with clear-eyed understanding of expectations ...more
Susan Hampson
May 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
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
Monica Mac
Jul 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This was an honest but gentle account of what it is like to be a midwife in the NHS in the UK. A peek into the world of the midwife, a job which is exhausting and exhilarating and requires superhuman strength of character and body.

As a registered nurse, I found Leah's story very interesting indeed. I recall my own first steps as a nurse, as well as a couple of placements in maternity during my training, and I am in awe of midwives everywhere.

Loved the stories of some of the different births
Katy Noyes
Apr 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Hard to forget. A warts-and-all exposé of life inside an NHS labour ward. Emotionally wringing, it hits home.

We all know that the NHS is stretched. Most of us accept that the people within it are doing the best they can under insurmountable odds and ever-changing goalposts. Leah Hazard takes us inside the stirring doors of the maternity suites, where tears are shed and lives are changed. And where midwives give their hearts and bodies to bring babies into the world safely.

For any parent, this is
May 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
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Hard Pushed is a novel I just didn’t want to put down, because the content – although not something I could relate to myself directly (I haven’t had any children or helped anyone give birth!) – and the stories and information within Hard Pushed’s pages are completely fascinating!

I loved reading about the different women (and their families) that author Leah Hazard has helped during her career, and also the shorter but no less interesting chapters on general
Belinda Carvalho
Jun 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
My first medical memoir and a beautifully written tribute to the world of NHS midwifery. So many books about childbirth are sugar-coated, they over romanticise birth in an attempt not to frighten new mothers but Leah Hazard is a practising midwife and her account of the miracles and tragedies involved in childbirth seems authentic and brave.
I was so impressed with her lack of judgment and honesty in her recounting of many scenarios. Having given birth myself I thought that I knew a lot about the
Feb 15, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Time taken to read - 1 day

Pages - 304

Publisher - Cornerstone digital

Source - ARC (Netgalley)

Blurb from Goodreads

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
Mar 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: The Tory government, expectant parents,
*I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Full review:

Let me tell you: this book set me on an emotional rollercoaster, and some of the women's stories will stick with me for life and all I can do is commend Leah for being the kind of midwife that should I ever be pregnant I would wish to have. One of the many things I've learned from Leah's accounts is that my heart is too soft for midwifery - and, as Leah
Megan Jones
May 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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.

‘Hard Pushed’ continues the trend of medical memoirs, this time following midwifery. This is no bad thing and only heightens my
Eve beinguniquebooks
Mar 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
In this true memoir of life as an NHS midwide, we learn about how Leah starred her career after having her two children and how the patients she has helped have influenced her life both positively and at times also challenged her for the better through her career.

From a lesbian couple dealing with cancer and a new baby, young teen mum Crystal, a lady called Olivia trying to breast feed after her mum's influence and a woman escaping abuse, we see the trials each woman faces as she comes to meet
Rebecca Phillips
May 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A brilliant insight into the work of an NHS midwife. The beginning reels you in as she explains doing an episiotomy, which honestly made my stomach contort.

It's packed full of stories about patients; from a seventeen year old Chinese girl who is a victim of human trafficking to a lady who has experienced FGM and everything in between.

An eye opening read about the struggles of working long, gruelling hours, trying not to make any mistakes in a hospital that is oversubscribed and understaffed.
Diane Plant
Mar 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
My thanks to netgally and the publishers for allowing me to review this book.

I found this to be an enjoyable read as I worked in the health service for many years. I also recognised the frustration felt by the author to the under staffing of wards and departments as we also saw a rise in ward managers. I also over the years saw the loss of commitment by nurses being university trained. Basics like bed baths being an example.
So though I did enjoy the book it did seem to bring my frustrations to
Feb 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
An inside look at the working of a maternity hospital, from the perspective of a midwife.

Having had the privilege to work on a maternity unit briefly as part of my medical training, I recognise a lot of what Leah Hazard is saying in this. She has a humorous take on the struggles and realities of work within the NHS at present. I could tell how much she cares for her patients and understand the difficulty of being seen as too soft for the system. I hope people pick it up, read and get to see the
May 08, 2019 rated it liked it
I liked this book. I found the stories really interesting and wish there was more stories as I couldn't get enough of the stories. The stories within were happy, heartbreaking and made me want to hug the people within each story. Leah does it all even till breaking point and still helps people and my hat goes off to her. I can't wait to read more from her.

Thanks goes to net galley and the publishers for providing me with. copy in exchange for an honest review.
Jan 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Midwife Leah Hazard opens up the world of midwifery and how it isn’t just about the beautiful smooth births in her world. This was such a refreshing, heart wrenching, funny, honest account into her career and mind. What a selfless, hardworking woman who suffered stress and the politics of today’s NHS. Thank you.

Thank you to netgalley and the publishers for this arc in exchange for my honest review.
Kay Cugini
Aug 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book, very well written. Shows not only the courage and strength of women, but The same about midwives, they are our guidance and strength during labour yet we never think of how they mqy be effected, very Good book indeed.
Jun 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
There are plenty of medical memoirs popping up and I have to rate this one as one of my favorites. Leah Hazard tells stories of women, the women giving birth and the midwives who assist them. You can't help but admire the women in both roles and I loved each and every story, even though some of them are heartbreaking.
Emily Fordham
Anyone noticed the current literary trend for medical based memoirs? I think the genre was majorly boosted by the success of Adam Kay’s amazing ‘This is Going to Hurt’ last year and now publishers are bringing out more and more of them.... I love it!
I was lucky enough to pick up a proof copy of Leah Hazard’s ‘Hard Pushed’ from work a few weeks ago. I had a bit of an internal debate around whether reading a memoir by a midwife all about child birth mere weeks away from my due date was a good idea
Feb 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2019
Hard Pushed is a sensitive, thought-provoking and honest memoir. Leah trains as a midwife after having her own children and she is thrown in at the deep end, dealing with everything from stillbirths, FGM and human trafficking to a hippy named Star resisting any medical intervention during labour. After reading this book, you'll be very aware of the kinds of pressures midwives work under and why so many of them are sadly, but understandably, leaving the profession.

Importantly, it shines a bright
Bookish Chat
Apr 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
When I saw Leah Hazard's bookHard Pushed (Hutchinson)my interest was immediately sparked. I have birthed a fact I have birthed two, and I had two quite different labours. I won't bore you with the deets! I knew i'd be interested to learn about the midwives roles, not only in pre-natal care and labour itself but also in post-natal care.

Leah Hazard has been a midwife for some years and Hard Pushed takes you right back to the rigours of her years of training, the anxieties around
Apr 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Hard Pushed is a compilation of short snippets, stories of the women who have come through the doors at an NHS hospital and been treated in triage or on the labour ward by Midwife Hazard. She writes honestly, informatively and emotionally about the thoughts that a midwife has when dealing with women in a wide variety of situations. Each story imparts something different – a new experience, thought or emotion, and there’s a running commentary on the pressures that a midwife is under, especially ...more
Emma Rowson
May 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I don’t read very much in the way of non-fiction, and this book has me wondering why the heck not! Not only did I find it a riveting read, but I found it really inspirational too.
Hard Pushed is part-memoir and follows the career of the author, Leah Hazard from her student days right through to present day as a fully qualified midwife. Chapters focus on cases of specific women, all of which in turn educate the reader on some element of the midwifery system. These chapters are then interspersed
Anna Maria
Nov 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
OMG what a brilliant account of her profession as a Midwife in our NHS. It was like Leah was sitting beside me telling me the story. I enjoyed every minute. I laughed/cried at the 15 year old girl in her Mickey Mouse pyjamas talking to her friends on the phone (They have this certain kind of lingo talk really loud so everyone hears, plus they swear too for good measure). It is children having children which is desperately sad, because they are not mature enough to understand the huge ...more
Mar 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Steph Warren
May 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
*I received a free ARC of this novel, with thanks to Cornerstone / Penguin Random House. The decision to review and my opinions are my own.*

Deeply intimate and honest, Leah Hazard gives us an insiders view of modern midwifery in the UK.

The anecdotes she presents are funny and touching in turns, but regardless of the context she writes of the women (colleagues and patients) and their babies with a warmth and respect that make it easy to see why she chose this profession as her own.

Hazard doesn’t
Chloe Metzger
Feb 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Saying that midwives are incredible is an understatement. These women (and sometimes men) are the bringers of life, people that labouring mothers can love more than their partners at some points. But who are they behind the scrubs and the smiles? What do they see every day? Leah Hazard has spent years working as an NHS midwife and this is her story.

I absolutely adored this book, because it was so interesting. Through Leah’s eyes we see snippets of different women as they make their way through
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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.