Leah Hazard’s funny, heartbreaking love letter to the midwives of the NHS, Hard Pushed, is published today by Penguin Random House / Hutchinson.

The book has already received extensive coverage in the national press, having had an extract from the novel published in The Times, an interview published in The Telegraph, the Express and The Mirror, an article for The Guardian, and an interview on BBC Scotland. The Mirror called the novel a “no-holds-barred account of working on the front line of NHS maternity services“.

Fresh and unapologetic, with a vividly authentic voice, Leah gives readers an astonishing and entirely uncensored insight into the front line of our country’s maternity services.

It’s not unusual for me to spend the night between a stranger’s legs. Sometimes two or three strangers in the space of twelve hours. Tonight is a bit different, though. It’s 3.42am and things aren’t going to plan.

Sitting in point-blank range of this particular vagina feels like staring down the barrel of a gun. Birth is inherently risky, a kind of physiological Russian roulette, but every midwife prays that she’ll dodge the bullet.

‘Your baby’s getting a bit tired,’ I say cautiously to the woman on the bed.

‘That makes fucking two of us.’

Hard Pushed is a love letter to Leah’s fellow midwives, to her brave patients, and to our National Health Service.

Leah has received some fantastic publicity ahead of her publication:

“Hard Pushed captures the universal love, fear, despair and hope that underpins humanity. The writing is gripping and 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, founder of Birthrights and author of Your No Guilt Pregnancy Plan

“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

“Midwives like Leah Hazard accompany women through the life (and sometimes death) drama of childbirth. Hard Pushed is a beautifully written, intimate portrait of the extraordinary work that midwives carry out each and every day.” Caroline Elton, author of Also Human

She has also had shout outs on social media from Hollie McNish and Kirsty Allsopp.

Leah Hazard was born in the United States and studied English and American Literature and Language at Harvard University, before moving to the UK in 1999. She earned a Masters Degree in Directing and had a career in television at BBC Scotland until the birth of her first daughter in 2003 prompted her to change direction and pursue her lifelong interest in women’s health. Leah soon began working as a doula, supporting women in pregnancy and attending numerous births in homes and hospitals across Scotland. The birth of Leah’s second daughter in 2006 prompted Leah to make the leap into midwifery.