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.
About the Author
Leah Hazard is a serving NHS midwife in Scotland. Having studied at Harvard, she left a career in television to pursue her lifelong interest in women’s health after the birth of her first daughter in 2003. She soon began working as a doula, supporting women in pregnancy and attending numerous births in homes and hospitals across the country. The birth of Leah’s second daughter in 2006 prompted Leah to make the leap into midwifery. Since qualifying, she has worked in a variety of clinical areas within the NHS maternity services, including antenatal clinics, triage units and labour wards.
“ Hard Pushed charts a midwife’s most personal moments of triumph and devastating loss in a way that expands our understanding and gratitude to them. Leah Hazard’s ‘microdoses’ of love are exactly what we need at a time of transforming intensity. It is her capacity to love and give so personally to the many thousands of women she worked with which imbues this book with its power. ” -
JULIA SAMUEL, author of GRIEF WORKS
“ Hard Pushed captures the universal love, fear, despair and hope that underpins humanity. Leah's dedication to women within a system that's crushing midwives transforms the everyday stories of childbirth into a page-turning testament to the power of compassion. ” -
Rebecca Schiller, author of The No Guilt Pregnancy Plan and Chief Executive of Birth Rights