As an actress, doula, the founder of C & the Moon, and future mum Carson Meyer has a wide range of skills and experience. Her passion for the health of both the environment as well as pregnant mothers is a clear through-line in all of her work. In this week’s continuation of our Reflections of Motherhood series, we discuss Carson’s belief in the importance of community, education, and protection of our environment for pregnant mothers and their children.
Tell me about yourself.
I'm a birth doula and nutrition consultant for pregnancy and postpartum. I'm also the founder of C & the Moon which is a clean, environmentally conscious skincare line made in Malibu.
Tell me about your work as a doula, and what inspired you to take that path.
During college, I thought I would continue my acting career. That’s the path I was on. Then I saw the documentary, “Business of Being Born.” It was my first introduction to anything birth. I had nieces and nephews and friends with kids but had never seen live footage of birth. I never felt like I had a connection to the process. So many women in our culture have been shielded from it or kept in the dark about so much of what our bodies are capable of.
After seeing the “Business of Being Born,” I was taken aback. I was blown away and emotional about seeing birth and how beautiful it can be while also seeing how our culture has treated birth over the past 100 years. I saw how birth had been made out to be an illness and the disservice that we were doing to so many mothers. That sparked an interest, but I didn't automatically go into being a doula after that. It wasn't until I moved home and met a midwife at a birthday party that I first realized, oh, wow, this can be a job. Then I started training and never looked back.
Why do you like working with pregnant mothers?
It's such a beautiful time. I think that it's such a space of deep unknown and times like that require support, sisterhood, and education. There's a quote I like by Dr. Michel Odent, "To change the world, we must first change the way babies are being born." I really believe that.
If we can help mothers go through pregnancy with less stress, better nutrition, and better overall health we're helping the health of the next generation.
I also think that the birth process has the potential to set someone up for their motherhood journey with so much confidence and trust in their body, but can also result in trauma that may require a lot of healing. Having a doula doesn't always change that. We can't control the way birth unfolds. But I do think that feeling supported and empowered and knowing one's autonomy over the process, regardless of what the birth process looks like, makes all the difference. I love working with them for so many reasons, but most of all it's really powerful to know that I can impact a mom's journey and a new life.
Tell me about your Growing Together prenatal program.
Growing Together started during COVID when a lot of my clients weren't able to have support in the hospital. Overnight, my role changed. How I was showing up for my clients changed. I wanted my clients to know their rights, options, and how to have a satisfying birth experience, especially in the hospital.
New policies were being implemented overnight and I wanted my clients to know that even though we're under extraordinary circumstances, none of this changes your rights in the hospital regarding birth. I wanted them to be able to show up in this process at this unique time, with more information, and be prepared to be there without a doula. Usually, they can turn to me in the birth room during labor, but I knew that that wasn't going to be an option. I thought we have to work on this beforehand and get people prepared.
Then a lot of people were returning to home birth and I wanted them to have the tools and information to make that decision and feel prepared for it. I started for that reason, but also for the lack of community. Things like baby showers, Mommy and Me classes, and birth education all went away. So many moms were isolated, especially that first year. I wanted to bring that community back.
It's so incredible. I may always rag on virtual stuff, and being in-person is much better, but I'm telling you the connection that these women have and that I feel with them is so profound and powerful. Most of the women are from all over the country, and there are many that I've never met in person. We continue to be there for one another through group text, so the circle never really ends. The support continues and friendships have come from it. I even had clients share breastmilk in times of need. It's evolved into a beautiful community.
How has it been different leading those groups now that you are pregnant?
I found out I was pregnant at the end of one of the circles. I hadn't told anyone yet, so I didn't share it. But it was special to have our closing circle together. Then with my next circle that I'm in now, it was so fun to be able to share it with them. I always tease like, you know, it's called Growing Together, but now we're literally all growing together. It's nice and not a lot has changed. I'm still professional, but I hope it's fun for them to know that I'm going through it with them.
I don't think they realize how much I learn from them. I titled it Growing Together because I always feel like my clients teach me so much. It's not just them receiving from me, but we're all growing and learning together on this journey. I think I am only as good of a doula as what my clients gain from the experience. I feel like I've grown so much as a doula thanks to what I've learned from being able to be part of this process. I feel immensely grateful for all of the moms who have shared their dream with me.
How would you describe the strength of mothers that you see during pregnancy and the birthing process?
Oh my gosh, it's like the greatest strength in the whole world infused with love and selflessness.
When it comes to your work as a doula, what advice would you want to give someone starting out breastfeeding?
There are so many tips and tricks and things like that but I think I would say to find support. That's probably my recommendation for all things, but especially with breastfeeding. I think that there can be a tendency to be so fearful of it being difficult. I don't think Moms always realize that. Just as with anything else in life and parenthood, breastfeeding can come with ease right away for some, and then for others, it takes more persistence, patience, and perseverance. I would say it's best to prepare yourself mentally and be aware of your expectations about breastfeeding.
As a doula, has there been anything so far in pregnancy that has still surprised you or caught you off guard?
I definitely don't know everything, that's for sure. Birth is so different for everyone. I do feel so grateful, and I wish every woman could walk into pregnancy with five years of doula experience. Not because you have all the answers, but because I feel very little fear and stress around the unknown. Of course, I'm still human and have similar concerns that most moms do. But it does feel nice to have a basis of knowledge around what's happening in my body.
I kind of have anxious tendencies, so if I didn't know all that I know now I might fall into that. My experience as a doula has helped me be at peace during most of the pregnancy and feel prepared.
I'm surprised how normal it feels. That's the part where it's actually the opposite. I'm not surprised that my back hurts or I'm constipated. I'm surprised by the normalcy. I'm less surprised by the things that pop up and more surprised by just how magical and cool it is. It never gets old as much as you are surrounded by it or know it. I can't believe there's a human growing inside me. I know it sounds funny but that's still the biggest surprise
What led you to create C & the Moon?
I grew up with my mom working with the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC), which is an organization that brings together scientists and lawyers to defend Mother Earth. I grew up sitting in on a lot of those board meetings. Because of her work with that organization, she had a lot of insight and information on the news, research, and things like clean beauty. It's so talked about today, but years ago, no one really knew why it was important. There wasn't enough mainstream information out there on it. Because she had a deep understanding of chemicals and environmental health, she never let me play with makeup or nail polish. She was always cautious about that when I was a kid, which is annoying as a teenage girl or middle schooler but now in retrospect, I'm so grateful.
We would make a lot of our own products in our kitchen. I've always had dry and sensitive skin, so the body scrub really helped me. When I moved to New York, it was the only thing in New York winters when I went to college that would help my dry skin and so I would just make it for myself. Friends loved it, so they knew to come to me for it and my family loved it. Then finally my little brother was like, "you need to take this to market. People love this product." He went to college and brought his jar It was getting stolen out of the dorm room. He would find it in the shower because the other guy from the dorm wanted to use it.
In 2018, I stopped making it in my kitchen, took it to the market, and started getting it manufactured. That's when C & the Moon was born. At the time, I wanted to make a product that was nurturing and nourishing for new moms because I was already working as a doula.
In my doula work, we talk about skin to skin for breastfeeding and newborn care, but what that really means is baby and mom are communicating. A lot of information is being transferred through the skin, so it's really important. I wanted to make a product that could be used by pregnant mothers that was clean and packaged sustainably.
Tell me about your work with the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC).
At first, I was just a fan from afar. I watched my mom work with the organization and saw all the amazing work that had been done in just my lifetime. I became the co-chair of the NRDC Los Angeles Leadership Council before the pandemic. I got to lobby with them in DC. They're just amazing.
At C & the Moon, we donate a portion of funds every month to NRDC. I've learned so much from being able to be a fly on the wall and see the amazing stuff that they do.
How have the different areas of your life, such as your doula work, company, and the NRDC intersected?
I definitely think that the NRDC gave my mom the information and perspective that led us to make our own products and my wanting to make C & the Moon. But I really believe that the way that we care for ourselves has a direct impact on how we care for the planet, and how we care for our planet has a direct impact on how we care for ourselves.
It's all connected. The way that we care for mother nature, soil, and water, all of that is prenatal health.
Right? We cannot disconnect ourselves from the environment. We are a part of it. I believe that, especially around pregnancy. Rachel Carson, who's my namesake, was an environmentalist in the 1950s and wrote "Silent Spring." She was the first person to talk about bioaccumulation and toxins.
She spoke about how DDT poison used for mosquitoes ended up killing animals higher on the food chain. I would say her contribution to environmental health was also one of the biggest contributions to prenatal health.
It's not that pregnancy, health, and environmental health are all separate. They're all connected. I think that we have to start looking at it that way. We're saving children by caring for mothers and the Earth.
What is something that you wish you could tell all pregnant women and new moms regarding environmentalism and motherhood?
I never want new moms or any individual to feel like the burden falls on them. It's complicated because corporations have kind of co-opted that narrative of "if you recycle, or if you do this, then you can save the world." Meanwhile, they'll continue drilling for oil.
However, I do think there's something empowering, beautiful, and essential in every grassroots movement and starting in the home. I would say that there are ways for living environmentally conscious to not just be affordable, but in some ways, to be the more affordable option. I think that if we do it right, and get creative, we can make the most important contribution to our children, ourselves, and our planet. I would say don't be afraid. It can feel overwhelming, but you don't need to carry the whole burden of the environment on your back alone. Simply inspiring it within the home, can inspire it outside the home too.
What do you hope to share or pass on to your child?
There is so much I want to share. My mom has a biodynamic farm. She is really into gardening and growing vegetables and fruits. That's something that I've started doing myself for the first time in my pregnancy at my new home in North Carolina. I love it so much and I hope my child will also have that love and that connection to mother Earth and be able to know how to feed themselves with the best quality food.
Like Carson, Ellie and Becca strives to support mothers as well as our environment. That’s why we take care to use sustainable fabric and production means for our nursing-friendly dresses. It’s also why we contribute a portion of our profits to Sewing the Seeds. We understand that we are all interconnected and taking care of each other and our world helps us care for the next generation.