Overdue: Birth, burnout and a blueprint for a better NHS

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Amity Reed
2020 | paperback | 216pp | 198x127mm
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Amity Reed became a midwife to serve women, but the reality of working in over-stretched and underfunded NHS maternity services soon shattered her illusions. She’s not alone – for every 30 midwives that train, 29 will leave the profession.

Overdue is both the devastating personal story behind the statistics, and a call for change in the NHS. Real-life stories capture the moments at the heart of midwifery: life, death, birth, tragedy and joy, and are embedded in a clear-sighted examination of what is working – and what isn’t – in maternity services. The result is a book that asks – and tries to answer – questions that are at the heart of many people’s working lives: how can we follow our calling, provide for our families and keep ourselves healthy, if the workplace and its systems are working against us?

Press reviews and endorsements

"I felt goose bumps, I smiled, I shed tears. Amity Reed’s descriptions of childbirth and motherhood are the most powerful I have ever read… a masterpiece of joy and trauma that provides a vivid and realistic insight into today’s maternity services." Sheena Byrom, midwife and author of Catching Babies

"An important book - as long-awaited as its title suggests. This beautifully-written, persuasive and cage-rattling story of love, power, disillusionment and struggle calls us to action and demands that we protect and uplift midwives and other frontline NHS staff so that they can protect and uplift us in our most profound moments of joy and loss." Rebecca Schiller, author, journalist and women's rights campaigner


(3 reviews) Write a Review

3 Reviews

  • 5
    A realistic look into the world of NHS midwifery & the toll midwives pay to be "with women"

    Posted by Jules Boddy on 4th Oct 2020

    Overdue is also a love story to people who give birth, to midwives and other birthing professionals, and - despite its substantial failings - to the NHS as well. And ultimately, it's a love story Amity wrote for herself, allowing her to put on her own oxygen mask first so she can be "with women" in ways she never planned the day she decided to enter the birthing profession.

    Overdue is not just a much-needed analysis of the realities of midwifery, maternity care, and birthing within the NHS. It is an extremely honest, sometimes heart-wrenching, and deeply touching memoir by a woman whose calling to be "with women" as an NHS midwife landed her in a dark place due to systemic problems plaguing the national health service. The issues plaguing the system as outlined by Amity include how austerity measures and poor management not only prevent healthcare professionals from properly caring for their patients, but for themselves too.

    Amity is a powerful writer. Her prose pulls at your heart in a visceral way, providing a glimpse into the joys and the burdens of working in the birthing world during times of austerity and chaos. Overdue is witty and dry where levity and eye rolling is called for most – which is often in the birthing world. Overdue is also intensely moving and pain-filled in moments were compassion and outrage are needed most.

    This book has something for everyone....including some wonderful birth stories of course, but a whole lot more. It's a must read for anyone working in Healthcare or birthing, but also for parents-to-be, birth parents who've used the service before, and women who are struggling to keep it all together personally while pursuing their dream vocation.

  • 5
    Inspiring read

    Posted by Vairi Furtado on 2nd Oct 2020

    Amity has a way with words like no other! Her vivid descriptions of motherhood, midwifery and agenda for change are truly remarkable. Every woman, childbearing couple, midwife, doctor and maternal-child practitioner needs to read this book and take on board her advice for the future of not only the NHS but maternity care globally!

  • 5
    An absolute eyeopener

    Posted by Bethan Fanthorpe on 24th Sep 2020

    An eloquent, descriptive and informative book which I find impossible to put down. Amity Reed carefully weaves her own personal story into the wider background of maternity care, providing statistics to support her arguments and capturing both the soaring highs and desperate lows of working as a midwife in the NHS. As someone who has been contemplating retraining and joining the profession I was both delighted and horrified by what I read. An incredibly important book and one which will hopefully have a huge impact. Thank you, this book has made a huge difference to me.