So today is the day. You might have seen me post online about this book, but today is the day you can (and should!) get your hands on it; “Hard Pushed” by Leah Hazard is published today!
Leah Hazard is an NHS Midwife and her book is a completely honest account of her experiences in this equally rewarding and challenging role.
As a final year student midwife, I have seen and experienced first hand the ever-expanding role of the midwife; far from just “catching babies”, midwives in the UK are autonomous practitioners, providing care from the first pregnancy test all the way through to up to 28 days postnatally.
The role entails so many different skills; providing midwife-led care to the low risk cases, all the way through to care in emergencies, making spur of the moment decisions that could save the mother or baby’s life, heading to theatre, cannulating, prescribing and drawing up specific doses of drugs, episiotomy, suturing, interpreting CTG monitors and so much more; it’s an all encompassing role which has expanded so so much from the days of “Call The Midwife”!
Having been sent an early copy by Hutchinson, Leah’s publishing team who are part of Penguin Random House, I have been able to not only read it, but also really think over everything included and the points that Leah makes properly before writing this post.
Fundamentally, Leah tells the stories of women that she has looked after, and although these stories are written as individual cases, they are cases that are all familiar to anyone who works in maternity – each of these women, though completely unique in themselves, have stories which occur every day across the UK, supported by midwives throughout.
In the opening of the book, Leah describes “Hard Pushed” as being a love letter to the thousands of women she has cared for – “Every woman – the wild, the unwell, the joyous and the grief-stricken – each one deserves to be honoured” and it is such a humble and honest way of honouring the journeys that each of these women have been on.
Every woman – the wild, the unwell, the joyous and the grief-stricken – each one deserves to be honoured…
The whole book, for me, acts in complete correlation with the role of a midwife; going from laughter to tears and then back to laughter again. It is honest, and blunt. It is hard hitting and poignant. It is hard-hitting and it shows the world the incredible work that Midwives do across the country.
Every day, when I go to work, I am completely awe-inspired by the midwives I work with; these midwives have left their own families at home to come and care for you, whether you are celebrating or grieving. They greet you with a smile and make you feel safe. They are brave, they are confident, they are a safe pair of hands. They are knowledgable and proud. They will guide you through your pregnancy and act as an advocate at one of the most important times of your life.
“Hard Pushed” acts in reverence of the role of a midwife, of the women in their care, and of the health care system that supports it all but which needs all of us to support it.
I don’t want to give too much of the book itself away so I’ll just say this – if you are a woman, if you are a man, if you are a health care professional, if you care about the NHS, if you plan on being a mother, or a father, if you want to read something honest and heartwarming with human experience at it’s core; you need to read this book.
If you want to read something honest and heartwarming with human experience at it’s core; you need to read this book.
I had the honour of meeting Leah in London a couple of months ago with the team from Penguin and the passion that she has for this book and for midwifery as a whole is so inspiring. She truly cares about the women she looks after and about the way midwifery is moving and it completely comes across in her writing – you can just tell that she absolutely loves what she does and wants to share the ever-expanding role of the midwife with the general public.
Leah can be found on twitter (@hazard_leah), and instagram (@leahhazard).
“Hard Pushed” by Leah Hazard is published today, 2nd May 2019 by Hutchinson, part of Penguin Random House UK. Available at all reputable bookstores and online. £16.99 (currently on sale in Waterstones – link below)
*I was gifted my copy of “Hard Pushed” and Afternoon Tea with Leah and the team at Penguin, however as always all opinions are my own*