Your Midwives at A Gentle Beginning
M Catherine Schaefer CNM ND
CNM (Certified Nurse Midwife)
ND (Naturopathic Doctor)
Catherine is a natural home birth midwife. She grew up under the tutelage of a very active community nurse - her mother. She began studying alternative medicine in her teenage years and fell in love with midwifery after attending a home birth in 1979 and birthing her first child at home in 1980.
After obtaining her undergraduate degree in science and anthropology, Catherine went on to four years at the National College of Naturopathic Medicine (NCNM) in Portland Oregon. She focused her studies there in midwifery, women’s health care and pediatrics. After graduation in 1983 Catherine began practicing as a Naturopathic Physician (ND) with specialty certification in midwifery in Oregon and as a Licensed Midwife in Washington.
... our perspective is always balanced by our trust in the birth process and understanding that whatever is needed can be greeted with respect and awe.
After twenty-two years attending births in homes and birth centers and catching over a thousand babies, Catherine returned to school once again to broaden her scope of midwifery. She was honored to be selected into the graduate entry midwifery program at Oregon Health and Sciences University. While continuing her home birth practice, A Gentle Beginning, she revisited her role as a midwifery student, receiving her masters in nursing, CNM certification and Nurse Midwife/Nurse Practitioner license in Oregon and Washington in 2005. While the hospital experience of birthing taught her much, Catherine has never swayed in her belief that natural birth in and out of hospital setting provides the greatest possibility for optimal birth experiences.
Catherine has four children, three grown and off exploring the world and one at home. She feels blessed to have been able to birth them all at home with the third as a water birth. She lives with her husband and youngest son, three dogs and many animals on a farm where her husband runs a small private school. When she is not catching babies she enjoys being with her family, gardening and working with her hands. She has a deep passion for assisting couples to begin and continue their lives together as parents and in helping them understand how to raise great people. It is with her family’s love and support that she is able to continue the art of midwifery and Naturopathic medicine.
Catherine has been searching through many student apprentices to find the one that she felt embodied her style and commitment to midwifery. When she met Regina she instinctively knew her to be that person. Regina has a natural affinity for birthing women and babies. Her gentle calm spirit and encouraging smile soothes laboring women and comforts crying babies.
Regina’s calling to midwifery began at the tender age of 4 as she held her mother's hand driving from Mt Hood to the Forest Grove birth center. At 14 she learned of natural medicine and focused her undergraduate degree at Whitman to prepare for naturopathic medical school. She graduated from NCNM in 2008 with a focus in midwifery, women’s health, infertility and pediatrics. Regina has been working with Catherine since 2005, first as a student apprentice and now as an associate Naturopathic Physician/Midwife for A Gentle Beginning. Her skills as a general naturopathic practitioner and midwife have added an invaluable service to our clients. She is married, with two young children both born at home. When not attending to her clients or family she can be found in the garden, growing both medicinal herbs and produce for her family.
Our training as Nurse Midwives and Naturopathic Physicians gives us a foot in both worlds with a willingness to find a balance to serve your needs and a grace to move easily between the two. What we understand is that birth usually unfolds in a natural rhythm unique to each woman but can occasionally present unexpected surprises when intervention is needed and appropriate. Our experience and training allows us to be prepared for those situations. At the same time, our perspective is always balanced by our trust in the birth process and understanding that whatever is needed can be greeted with respect and awe.