Local Author Interview

by Danielle Largesse

photo of Catherine Shields

Interview by Danielle Largesse

Today’s local author is Cathrine Shields. She is a retired Nurse Midwife who put her experience and wisdom in her new book “Into my Hands: A Midwife’s Memoir”. So, let’s get to know Catherine and the new book!

Tell us a bit about yourself, Catherine.

I am a mom of four fabulous kids, grandma to nine, and great grandma to one, so far. I retired from being a nurse midwife twelve years ago and took it as an opportunity to take care of myself. Today I enjoy life by walking, doing yoga, and trying to finish my “to be read” pile. I am also super excited for getting my memoir done and out to those who need/want it.

How long have you lived in the Northwest? What initially attracted you to this place?

I have been in the Northwest since I was twenty years old having moved from Billings, MT. I was a newlywed at the time and starting my career at the Deaconess Hospital in Spokane, WA. I eventually moved into Carywood, ID where I instantly fell in love with my current home which is situated in a beautiful, quiet, and peaceful area.

Can you tell me a little bit about your book Into my Hands: A Midwife’s Memoir? What inspired you to tell your story?

When I was 21 years old and pregnant with my first daughter I had a nightmare labor experience. (My child is and was an amazing gift). When I returned home, after resting a bit, I had to do what everyone does, go to the grocery store, by myself and with my newborn. As I found myself struggling with the newness of the car seat and trying to get my newborn into the store, I noticed other pregnant women about. Seeing them triggered my own horrifying experience of labor and it made me worried about their experience to come. I thought to myself “My experience should never be repeated, it’s not right, let’s fix this.” That thought is what speared my decision to help others avoid my nightmare.

What do you want readers to take away from your book?

Two things:

  1. Don’t let the past get in the way of doing what you want and your future. Trust your instinct, it is key to having the best experience.
  2. I want my readers to discover the freedoms that mother-to-bes’ have and to consider the benefits of having a nurse midwife to help.

How did you approach the process of organizing and structuring your memoir?

When I decided to write my book, I looked into the different types I could use and the memoir category fit the best. Once I figured out that my story made the most sense as a memoir I researched how to structure and organize the story. I give a lot of kudos to my author friends who helped out a lot as well. The hardest part was to put myself/reader into the story.

How did you balance the need to be honest and authentic with the need to protect the privacy of yourself and others in your memoir?

I pride myself on being honest and outspoken as much as possible. With that being said, in my book, I really tried to keep the focus on the situations/stories and behaviors of the people and not so much on the people themselves.

How has the current situation about pregnancy and birth in the surrounding area affected your professional life?

The current situation makes me sad. This is just another example of not caring enough about moms and moms-to-be. I had some good friends, nurses, and doctors in the women’s health business here in Sandpoint and to see them have to leave, taking great care with them makes me worry a bit for our future. Moms and mom-to-bes are caring and taking care of our literal future. These kids will grow to be our future and to not be able to provide outstanding care for their mothers and young life is just devastating to me.

What are your hobbies outside of writing?

I enjoy yoga, walking in nature, and keeping fit in my later life. I value taking care of myself so I can be here with my babies. I am also trying to work on my TBR pile and learning how to crochet.

What is next for you? How can readers find you?

I am just living life to the fullest! I do have a Facebook Page “A Midwife for Every Woman”.  Please feel free to reach out through Facebook. I enjoy hearing from everyone!

Any last parting thoughts? 

I am hopeful and excited about the fact that my book can get the word out that every mom should have a midwife for their journey. Midwives are here for YOU, to help you through every step. Midwifery is not here to compete with OB professionals but as a helpful friend to be that spokesperson for when you need it. Midwives provide more personalized care and if you get one you can create a lasting bond.