356 pages ~ ★★★★★ ~ Kindle
As I mentioned when I reviewed The Prison Doctor earlier this year my husband has discovered that one category of book he can’t put down is a medical memoir so I’m continually on the look out for another one to force into his hands. I’d previously seen this one mentioned on Hannah Gale’s Instagram, so when it went onto a Kindle 99p deal I thought I’d pick it up.
Hard Pushed is Leah Hazzard’s story of being an NHS midwife in Scotland; Leah came to midwifery later in life after having her two daughters. I’ve not experienced pregnancy myself and I don’t have any first-hand experience of midwife services so this book taught me an awful lot, the author has even included a glossary of some of the medical terms she refers to throughout.
For the most part, this alternates between longer chapters where Leah retells particularly memorable experiences and shorter ones where she gives her thoughts on more general aspects of the job such as the uniform she wears. This format worked really well and made me want to keep reading, some of the longer chapters are a little open-ended as the patient was transferred to another department or Leah handed her shift over and you’re left desperate to know what happened to so many of the individuals, like the teenager who starts labour at 23 weeks and a woman trafficked into the country who arrives at the hospital pregnant, hungry and unable to speak much English to call out just a couple.
Like other books written by NHS workers I read in awe of the dedication of Leah and her colleagues to women they’re helping and the book served as just another reminder of how lucky I am that these services, while extremely overstretched and under-funded are available to me. Quite an emotional read that I’d highly recommend.