Hard Pushed

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 20 Jun 2019

Member Reviews

Really not surprised this became a Sunday Times besteller. Really eye opening account of life as a modern midwife. Gave me a much stronger appreciation of everyone working in this field.
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An interesting book that is interesting and fascinating at the same time. Definitely recommended to those readers who enjoy easing about different aspects of life.
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Tuesday again?! The one good thing about travelling is that I can use it as an excuse to read my way through just about as many books as possible. Here are a few which I managed to read en route to the chalet last week:

Hard PUshed

I'm not really sure what tempted me to agree to read this one, if I'm honest. As a non-parent, I can't say I've ever been super interested in midwifery or birth stories. Which is mostly what this is. Each chapter is broken down into an anecdotal account of Leah's interaction with a patient and their experience, with her continuing thoughts on all of the complicated feelings associated with her job as a mother and a midwife. 

Although there is of course some medical terminology, she does explain a lot of this with the addition of a helpful glossary and it's not off-putting. Naturally the sections about baby loss were pretty difficult reading for me, but if I'm looking for a silver lining, I'd say that it's almost refreshing to see a topic like that covered in a book whose main focus is the miracle of life and childbirth. 

Obviously, there were several references to the current crisis staffing levels of the NHS and it's failings, but the book didn't go into too much political territory, which I do think kept it more enjoyable than serious.
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I’ve always had a fascination with the work of a midwife and read many fictitious books about the profession.

However, I have never read such an honest, articulate and factual account of daily life working on a maternity ward. Leah explains the arduous shifts and the utter desperation suffered by NHS colleagues due to staff shortages. She describes the physical and mental strains of working in an environment stretched to its limits.

Despite all of this, a resounding note of pride comes across in the memoir. It is written in very plain language and laced with humour and heartwarming personal stories.
I loved her completely unjudgemental approach to her patients and how each and every one gets her absolute undivided attention. It doesn’t matter how tired and stressed she feels inside, Leah treats every woman professionally. The tremendously strong bond between the staff is described beautifully. Together they work twelve-hour shifts, with one aim, which is to deliver babies safely.

This is a vivid, no holds barred memoir told by a caring, compassionate midwife. Leah Hazard has the courage to tell her story, warts and all.
There is a glossary at the back of the book which helped with any medical terminology that I was unfamiliar with. I raced through this book, soaking up the short chapters and going through a whole kaleidoscope of emotions.

Highly recommended.
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I really enjoyed Hard Pushed. A great insight into the world of midwifery. A fab book and an easy to read book.
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I thoroughly enjoyed this book. There is a lot of this genre about at the moment with a lot of people writing memoirs from their working life but this is one of the best ones I have read. I loved the way it was written in every day language about every day people. It showed the desperation the staff within the NHS feel and yet shows their pride and desire to give every woman the birth they deserve and the birth they want. I loved the characters of the mothers and the relatives and the other staff. I really lovely book
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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 she attended, as well as her honesty at the toll being a midwife has taken on her personal life and her body. Of course, she is right that funding is always decreasing for health and you have to do more, with less. It isn't fair and I hope that government realise that cutting funding to health services is really cutting off your nose despite your face! 

Without courageous midwives like Leah and her colleagues (and my friend Wendy, who is also an amazing midwife), the world would be a far poorer place and women and their babies would be at risk, physically and psychologically. 

5 stars from me. 

Thank you to NetGalley and Random House UK.
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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 being a midwife. Each chapters gives an account about a patient and their journey of pregnancy and birth, involving Leah and her colleagues. Some are uplifting, others are heartbreaking, but all are beautifully written and deserve to be shared far and wide.
One of my favourite chapters was ‘Olivia: Mother Knows Best’, the one about breastfeeding. This reminded me of when I struggled to begin breastfeeding my baby (now 18) and how I couldn’t have done it without the midwives help.
The saddest chapters were about stillbirths, and how heartbreaking it was for the mothers and midwives, it brought tears to my eyes.
If you enjoyed the Call The Midwife books and TV series I like I did, I definitely recommend this modern day equivalent.
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Very honest book about been a midwife in this day and age with the hard pushed NHS, Leah Hazard is a real midwife who has written this book sharing her experiences as a student and on the labour ward to the present day. 

As you can imagine it’s an emotional one, joy, sorrow, heartache and euphoria all rolled into one book. Makes you realise just how lucky we are to have the NHS and whilst it may be failing in parts it’s also a wonderful privilege to have. 

Having 3 babies myself where 2 were emergency theatre it’s a fantastic read where you see it from their point of view also and just how hard working they are, along with how stressful it must be too.

Wonderful book I seriously loved it a lot 5 stars ⭐️
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This beautiful non-fiction book follows Leah Hazard's journey as a midwife in the NHS and the trials and triumphs that involves.. It is no secret that medical memoirs like this are completely my kind of book, but I am often a little let down by them. This was not one of those books at all. I absolutely adored this book from start to finish. It was a real raw, genuine insight into the role of a midwife and the many challenges they face, particularly in an understaffed and underfunded health service. Yet the struggles and real lows of midwifery were well-balanced with fun and heartwarming stories of some of the amazing women and families that have been cared for. I just thought it was perfect and definitely confirmed my desire to one day go into this wonderful profession.
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This is the story of a practicing midwife and the challenges she faces during her daily life. The ups and downs of the delivery suite and the parents who are at the centre of its function. Interesting story.
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This was a well written memoir of a midwife and everything she faces on a day to day basis, working really long hours, training and helping women bring their miracle into the world safely, but this is not just a memoir of the good, obviously with being a midwife there are sad outcomes too.
I couldn’t put the book down, it gave me so many different emotions but it is real life, what really happens on the maternity wards.
I enjoyed reading Hard Pushed, it gives a true account on what it is like to be a midwife working in an NHS setting. They really are hard pushed. 

I have had 3 children, all three I had complications and my children would not even be here without the quick thinking and kindness of the midwives who were with me throughout my labours. So it was obvious I would like to read this and see it from the midwives side of things.
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Honest, heart breaking and at times funny. Leah tells the truth of the NHS and midwifery. A difficult read at times bear, but ultimately heart warming. Highly recommended.
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Hard Pushed is a novel I could not put down fir so many reasons. Well written, it makes the reader want to delve more and more into the world of midwifery. It made me realise just how much a midwife does and how much of her life she gives up simply to help others give birth. A brilliant read, totally recommended.
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A heart-warming story of a midwife, and all the things she faces on a daily basis. She tells about her training, and her love of the job, often to the detriment of her own health. Stories about successful deliveries, are varied, some amusing, some serious, and the varied people she encounters. First time fathers, and their anxieties, with some mothers lapsing into extremely bad language when the pains get too much.
Sh e also details the heart-breaking stories where babies are still born, and the effect this has on the parents who are obviously devastated.
There is hum our and heart in this book, and the varied encounters of people who all need her help and advice.
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Hard Pushed was a book I just couldn't put down! Having been from a family of nurses and carers, I thought I had understood the taxing nature of this work but boy was I wrong! Nothing could prepare me from how fascinating the stories told in this novel were. I loved reading about the different women that Hazard helped over the years. The responsibility and pressure placed on midwives and nurses when the NHS is crumbling and unable to offer the financial support they deserve is heartbreaking.

I flew through this book incredibly quickly. The descriptions of complicated childbirth were so interesting! Hazard handles all stories sensitively and shows us both the good and the bad sides in her line of work. Truly an eye-opener. I'd recommend to anyone wanting to educate themselves on this field.

Thank you NetGalley and Leah Hazard for allowing me to read this eARC.
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Hard Pushed by Leah Hazard is a memoir about being a midwife and all the challenges that that brings.
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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 musings or thoughts on being a midwife in the NHS today. It’s scary how much pressure is put on midwives and their teams with so little funding and support – and yet they do such an important and amazing job.

At times (in fact, a lot of the time!) it can be incredibly emotionally and physically draining, and this occupation – alongside of course nurses, doctors and other healthcare professionals – deserves far more support than is given to them by this current government. It never feels overly preachy, though – Leah Hazard makes it clear that there are elements to the job which need to be changed or altered if they are to do help women and their babies to the best of their ability, but she strikes the right balance between being clear on these issues and also reverting back to interesting, sometimes lighter stories and annecdotes.

I raced through this in a matter of hours, and only wish it had been longer; I’d happily sit and listen to Leah talk for much longer about her experiences, or read further books by her.
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Having been a student midwife some thirty-plonk years ago I was fascinated to see if modern midwifery had moved on from my own time when midwives were overworked, underpaid and undervalued, and I am chastened to learn that in the intervening years since I took my first terrifying steps into the mysterious world of obstetrics, it would seem, however, that nothing much has really changed. Midwives still go without sleep, manage without a decent meal break, or a restorative cup of hot tea, in order to give the best possible service to a specialty which has always seemed to be the forgotten part of the health service.

I was immensely privileged to train as a student midwife and very proud of helping into the world brand new human beings, and I found that the same sense of pride and absolute commitment to duty comes across in Hard Pushed. The author has such a wonderful self-deprecating style, and absolutely tells it like it is, from the frustration and sheer slog of hard work, to the absolute joy, and yes, sometimes overwhelming heart break, but throughout the book all aspects of life are shown to be there, quite literally, warts and all.

I flew through this very readable book in the space of an afternoon, enjoying a well written memoir which put everything about what's happening in today's modern midwifery service into context. The descriptions are absolutely spot on, from the sick making terror of attending a complicated childbirth, to the absolute overwhelming pride in having an amazing skill which is so very precious and yet, so often undervalued.

There are several specific accounts of individual patients which the author encountered, and these are handled sensitively and compassionately and yet, they remind us so vividly of just what midwives are dealing with on an hour by hour, minute by minute basis. The author does use specific midwifery terminology and so, for those not familiar with obstetric jargon, these are explained at the end of the book.

Hard Pushed takes a look at our modern day maternity services by a midwife who has worked at the business end and who brings this specialty to life in a very passionate and thought-provoking way.
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I've always been interested in medicine, yet know very little about midwifery.  This was a very interesting account of what it's like to be a midwife today within the NHS, the challenges faced and how they can be (hopefully!) overcome.  Not for people who are too squeamish, but for everyone else, it provides insight into the amazing work midwives do for women, their children, and families.
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