A Minute with Carson Meyer: The Birth Doula and C & The Moon Founder on Why the Environment Plays a Role in Our Self-Care
About five years ago Carson Meyer was hysterically crying in her apartment in New York City. She had just watched the documentary The Business of Being Born. The film, which sheds light on the raw, rarely portrayed world of birth, unlocked something in her. "I was just taken by it," Meyer says. "I called both my sisters, who have children, and was like, 'you did this? Why didn't you tell what it was like?' It made me see it through different eyes."
Meyer realized her reaction was intense, as powerful as the film is. But it was also prescient. At the time she was a student at New York University's Gallatin School of Individualized Study where she leaned into the open curriculum's invitation to create your own major. Meyer, who "was very passionate about women's health, alternative medicine, mind-body connection, and eastern practices," chose to focus on art therapy. She loved how "it incorporated healing and creativity and self-expression" and was synergistic with her love for acting, which she was also pursuing.
After graduating she moved back to Los Angeles, her hometown, where she dived deeper into acting. It was connective, exciting, but Meyer wanted more. "I was wondering what would be something else that would give me that same depth and connection to people," she says. Around that time she met a midwife at a friend's birthday party. "I wanted to pick her brain about everything," Meyer says. That was the catalyst, the metaphorical tissue for her tears in New York. Soon after she underwent training to be a birth doula.
In her practice today, Meyer holds space for her clients throughout their pregnancy, labor, and birth. Her work can include information and support for the partner; it can also incorporate holistic and alternative techniques, such as meditation, aromatherapy, and breathwork. (Meyer also provides birth and family photography.) "The word doula stems from a Greek term which means servant to a woman, which I love because it's essentially to serve a woman, particularly through transitions," she says.
A through line in Meyer's work and life is simplicity and nature. In everything she does, she incorporates only pure, raw ingredients and considers the environment first. This is evident in her work as a doula; it's also paramount in her environmental advocacy and natural and sustainable skin care collection, C & the Moon, which she launched a year ago. For Carson, it's all connected, which we talked to her about below. "I believe we cannot talk about real self-care without incorporating the environment," she says. "I think we've separated the self from the planet. And there's no word in the English dictionary for it. We don't consider ourselves as a part of the ecosystem."
A Q&A with Carson Meyer
What are some themes you're currently seeing in your work regarding people's health and wellness?
It's an exciting time to be talking about postpartum support, whether that's postpartum depression, postpartum mood disorder, even postpartum psychosis. I think we're still scratching the surface of being okay with that spectrum of emotions. Being okay with feeling disappointed, or exhausted, or needing support after having a baby. It's important to be talking about mothers being hard on themselves and how we can help nurture them and give them support as we do the newborn. It's okay to say that you're not okay.
Who have been some of your mentors in the doula and wellness space?
Hailey Oats is the mid-wife who I met at the birthday party. And she is still a huge inspiration to me. My teacher, Anna Paula from Bini Birth, is still a wonderful teacher. Soon after I got certified I got connected to Lori Bregman, who is the person I can call at 2 am and is always there to help me process. And Erica Chidi Cohen, the founder of Loom. I don't have enough time to talk about how wonderful she is. That's what's beautiful about this job, there are so many women who come together. There's such a community.
What does self-care mean to you? And furthermore, what is true wellness to you?
Self-care can be such a buzz word. We may ask what it even means sometimes. As a business owner and a doula, I can sometimes beat myself up for not doing enough of it, when really, in perspective, I'm doing a lot of it. The reality is that lot of women are grinding and working really hard, and often at our own expense.
I do feel like when we talk about the self-care, there is no true self-care without incorporating the environment or the ecosystem. We can only buy so many scrubs or vitamins, but at the end of the day if our planet isn't health we won't be able to buy our way out of it. Doing work that promotes a healthier future for everyone, that is real self-care.
For instance, I recently went to Pilates at a new studio. I was excited to be there, to strengthen my body. When we were done they asked us to wipe down the equipment with some Clorox. I was like, really? If we're going to be here for our health let's really talk about this, the whole picture. I see that all the time. And that what is so beautiful about Ayurveda, for instance, is that it's all encompassing. It considers everything.
It's been more than a year since you officially launched C & the Moon, your organic and environmentally considerate skin care line. You used to hand-make your scrubs for clients in your kitchen. How did C & the Moon evolve?
My mother is an environmentalist. She has been working with the National Resources Defense Council since I was born. She has been talking about things that we're just now starting to talk about now. The one time I can remember really getting in trouble and being grounded was when I was painting my nails in an unventilated room. She inspired me to pay attention at a really early age. I would make a lot of my own products in the kitchen, taking stuff out of the pantry. It was a fun thing to do would do with my girlfriends or to give as gifts. When I moved to New York, the winter destroyed my skin and so I started relying on this recipe I created for a brown sugar body scrub. I made it for my dad and my brother and gave it to them for Christmas one year and they demanded I make them more. Like that friend who makes the cookies you want, people would always ask me to bring the scrub.
"There is something about being in nature that makes me feel beautiful. Perhaps that is because nature is the most beautiful."
I had no intention of starting a business. I was concentrating on my acting and I was a doula. But my brother, and the entrepreneurial spirit he has, noticed that his scrub was being stolen from his dorm at USC. That made him push me to start selling it. And didn't think it would sell, but I gave it a try and people really loved it. I did that for a while, then took a break to find a proper manufacturer so I didn't have to make it in my kitchen. I officially launched it a year ago.
What do you hope that people experience when they use your scrub?
It's wonderful to hear from people that the product helped their skin. But the that really get me are the ones where someone tells me they just had a baby and haven't had time to go get a massage, go to the spa, or do anything for themselves but they found a minute to themselves in the shower. Because the shower is that one place we can get a minute to ourselves. Our phones aren't in there with us. We are just with ourselves. So hearing that the scrub can be a tool to help you know to connect you with your body, to touch yourself, to reconnect with yourself and the feel good—for men and for women. So product is really about embracing your body.
And stemming from what you talked about earlier, sustainability and environmental consideration is huge for you. And it plays a role in how you encase C & the Moon in glass jars. And you produce an UpCycle series on your site that illuminates ways to reuse the glass jars. What is your advice to someone who wants to make more considered decisions?
It's important to talk about that being environmentally conscious can often be wrapped up with privilege. And sometimes it can be. There are food deserts and so many things that make it harder for someone living outside of Los Angeles or a big city. But that said it does not always mean it has to be more expensive. That's why I did the Upcycle series to show that we can save money in saving the environment. This idea that we need to replace everything is actually an economical scam. We can reuse things in our home. I think everything, down the toilet paper, offers a way to make a change. Let's just talk about how brilliant faucets are. You can turn a nob and within seconds water comes out. Why don't we invest in water filters and making sure that's great water instead of up-charging for plastic water bottles? A faucet is such a brilliant solution.
But again, it all doesn't have to be more expensive. And when and if it is, I find that it's always justifiable. It can be—and has to be—accessible for everyone.
What does beauty mean to you? What rituals do you follow?
Like self-care, I think beauty is a complicated word. What does it mean? It can be based off our cultural desire to look a certain way. But I believe we can embrace beauty as more of a feeling and energy that's put out into the world.
The things I follow for my routine include somatic therapy and acupuncture. Those things makes me feel most beautiful. I also love my sugar scrubbing, salt baths, the gua sha, and saunas. I also absolutely love dunking in the ocean. There is something so cleansing about being in the saltwater. I feel and look my best after being in the ocean. My skin, my hair, my eyes look bluer. There is something about being in nature that makes me feel beautiful. Perhaps that is because nature is the most beautiful."