Muse | Carson Meyer

Carson Meyer, true to her Scorpio nature, feels deeply connected to water—especially the ocean. Her affinity for the sea is fitting as her mother named Carson after marine biologist and conservationist Rachel Carson, who is largely considered the inspiration for the EPA’s creation. Carson grew up by the beach in Malibu. According to her mother, the sound of the waves were the only thing that could get her to sleep as a child. She spent some time studying in New York City but ultimately returned to her Southern California roots where she is currently an actor and a doula—someone who provides support for women throughout their pregnancies, labor and postpartum. Carson sees a lot of overlap between her two roles and is very fulfilled by her work, but that isn’t stopping her from launching her own business. This soulful woman just launched C & The Moon, her new eco-friendly skincare line. She’s ambitious, compassionate and we’re pretty impressed.

Sun sign: Scorpio

Who inspires you?

Those who aren't afraid to stand up and speak out for what is right.

What made you become a doula?

The first time I ever saw a birth was in the documentary “The Business of Being Born” during my sophomore year at NYU. I was completely overwhelmed with emotion. Until then, I had only seen Hollywood’s terrifying portrayal of birth that always seemed to take the power away from the mother and put it into the hands of a male doctor. I was moved to tears by the sheer strength of the female body and the triumphant emotional transformation of the mother. I was also angry to learn that hospitals were profiting from unnecessary intervention and perpetuating the stigma of birth as an illness. It broke my heart to learn how the medical system has treated women over the past century. It wasn’t until I met a midwife a couple years later that I entertained the thought of becoming a birth-worker. Looking back at my life experience, interests and course of studies, I’m not surprised that I ended up in this field. My job is pretty spectacular and has given me a greater perspective on life.

You referred to the hospitals' history of unnecessary intervention, can you talk more about what you mean?

Looking back on the history of childbirth in America, one can find some disturbing facts about the way women were treated. Once childbirth moved from the home to the hospital, it became medicalized in a way that didn't always benefit the mother or baby. Many of our grandmothers gave birth under twilight sleep with no recollection of their experience. Around the same time, fathers were denied access to the delivery rooms and breastfeeding was discouraged. We have come a very long way and we now know the importance of breastfeeding, bonding time and having a strong support system. However, we still have a long way to go. Maternal mortality rates in the U.S. are on the rise and more American women are dying of pregnancy-related complications than in any other developed country.

The documentary the Business of Being Born shines a light on the fact that many cesareans are scheduled conveniently before the weekend or before the end of a work day. It also shows us that drugs are often used unnecessarily to speed up labor in an understaffed and overfilled hospital. I was shocked to learn that in the U.S, many of those who are entering the field of maternal-fetal medicine have never watched a women give birth without intervention. As a doula I am able to witness the sheer strength of the female body. Labor can be a long and slow process. It is important to recognize the unique nature of our bodies. It requires a lot of patience from everyone involved. Pre and postpartum medical care is imperative and medical intervention, when used appropriately, undoubtedly saves lives. Still, it's important to remember that childbirth is not an illness and intervention does not come without risk. Doulas can help a mother stay informed on her choices and weigh the risks and benefits of potential intervention.

Who was the midwife that inspired you and what was that interaction like?

Her name is Hayley Oakes and she works at Del Mar Birthing Center. I met her at a birthday party and as soon as I found out what she did for a living I stalked her all night and could't stop asking her questions!

Do you work exclusively as a labor doula or also postpartum ?

I love working with women and babies in the postpartum period. However, balancing three jobs doesn't always allow me to dedicate the amount of time that most mothers need. For the time being I am primarily working soling as a birth doula.

What was your first experience witnessing a live birth as a doula like?

My first experience working as a doula was a pretty out-of-the-ordinary experience. I met this second time mom in the elevator of the apartment building we lived in. She was nine months pregnant and looking for a doula. About a week later she went into labor at 6:20 p.m. The baby was born at 7:40 p.m. Not sure how we made it to the hospital in time during peak rush hour, but we did! She gave birth within 20 minutes of getting to the hospital! Fresh out of doula training, I was prepared for the long hours of labor. This was not at all what I expected! This experience really tested my intuition and reinforced the notion of every birth being truly unique and unpredictable! I had to put down my ideas of what her labor should look like and pay attention to the unfolding of her as an individual. This amazing mama and I have since grow as friends and will always laugh in disbelief about that evening.

Why are doulas important?

Doulas are important for a number of reasons. We not only help educate pregnant women on their choices, but also help them to further understand the changes taking place in their bodies during pregnancy and birth. Studies show that childbirth education can actually reduce the level of pain and improve a woman’s experience in labor. Pain is magnified by fear and we naturally fear the unknown.

Hospitals can also be a source of anxiety because we often associate them with illness or past traumas. Doulas help to create a calm and comforting environment in a medical setting. Studies show that having a doula can reduce your chances of having a caesarean by up to 60 percent. This is huge! Doulas do not perform clinical tasks and we do not replace medical professionals. Our role is to provide physical and emotional support for women while advocating for each individual’s needs and helping to provide them with necessary resources. There are proven benefits to a woman feeling heard, informed and cared for during labor.  

What does motherhood mean to you?

Endless generosity. I’m not a mother yet, but I have a deep admiration for the life and love they give.

Share an experience during your time as a doula that has stayed with you.

They are all unforgettable in their own ways, but I often think about a client of mine who smiled from ear to ear her entire labor and birth! It was incredible. By forcing a smile, she sent the signals to her brain that she was in a place of joy and safety. She tricked her pain receptors into associating her sensations with pleasure.

Talk more about the patient that smiled the whole time during labor. What was her name and what was that interaction like?

I started working with her about halfway through her pregnancy. She was referred to me by her doctor and very dedicated to an unmedicated birth. It always excites me when a doctor sees the value of a doula for his or her patients. We worked with midwives and she gave birth in a birthing center. It was a really beautiful experience and my first time working a an out-of-hospital labor.

So, you also act. Are there any skills that carry over from being a doula to being an actor?

Absolutely! Both require being present and paying attention to every single sensation each moment brings. Like birth, so much of acting is about quieting the busy chatter in our minds and managing fear. As an actor, I also use dream work to help me understand the character I am playing. I encourage my clients to record their dreams and use this connection to the subconscious. When I learned about doulas, it was no surprise to me that I was drawn to both these professions. At their cores, I believe they use a lot of the same tools.

What inspired you to get into acting?

In college, I studied art therapy and the way we can use creativity to heal. My studies in expressive art forms inspired me to take an acting class. My freshman year I took a class at the Ruskin School and was hooked. I was always around the business side of acting, but this class opened up a whole new world for me. Ruskin created an environment for actors where we were able to be completely honest with each other and ourselves.

Tell me about your skincare line.

In August I will be launching C & The Moon, an environmentally conscious and all-natural skincare line.  I grew up watching my mother, an environmentalist, advocate against harmful chemicals and toxins. She actually named me after Rachel Carson, the author and marine biologist whose work inspired the formation of the EPA.  

My awareness of all the harmful chemicals and pollutants in our food system and mass-produced beauty products led me to start making my own skincare products with ingredients I trusted. Once I became a doula I saw first hand how important skin-to-skin contact is for developing the bond between mother and child. The skin, our largest organ, is absorbing everything around it—both good and bad. Some of the harmful products we commonly use on our skin can negatively affect our fertility and increase risk of abnormal development of reproductive organs. Traces of these harmful chemicals are even being found in the umbilical cord blood of newborn babies.

C & The Moon is a brand that values personal and environmental health. It is based on the belief that the health of our environment and our bodies are one in the same.

How did it come to be?

I have extremely sensitive skin and in my search for products that work for me, I learned a lot and eventually started making my own. When I was living in New York, the harsh winters were really hard on my skin and dried it out. I started mixing up a moisturizing body scrub with items from my pantry. My goal was to essentially make nourishing food for my skin. I mixed up a bowl of delicious coconut oil, exfoliating brown sugar, and cleansing jojoba oil, and a few other whole and organic ingredients. I would gift it to friends and family and they just kept coming back for more! My little brother Eli urged me to sell the scrub online. Right now, I am in the re-launch phase. The line will be available online in August.

How did you decide on the name?

To sooth me to sleep as a child, my mom used to bring me onto the balcony to look at the moon and listen to the sound of the waves crashing below. It’s one of my earliest memories. Celebrating the full moon with friends and family has always been a ritual in my family, a reminder of our undeniable connection to nature. The sea and the moon are in constant communication. Growing up surfing in the ocean, I fell in love with the powerful dance that takes place between these two mysterious forces. C & The Moon is also a play on my initials, C-M.

Is there a product you are most excited about?

I am launching with my body scrub, so all my focus and excitement is going towards that—the product that inspired it all. I am really excited to be able to share it with the world!

And what keeps you up at night?    

It’s easy for me to get overwhelmed with sadness about the current state of our world. I am terrified about what’s happening with the environment, particularly the oceans. I also think a lot about universal access to healthcare and women’s rights. I worry about what our phones are doing to our brains. It helps me to stay positive when I think about all the amazing people who work endlessly to counteract the madness.

How do you want this world to be different because you lived in it?

I hope to inspire honesty, compassion and patience, as well as a deep connections to each other and ourselves as a part of nature.

How do you want to be different because you lived in this world?

I hope to be more patient with myself and the universe. To have trust in my journey and the possibilities of this great big world.

Shop Carson's look: Baby Tee + Edie Trousers, Ballet WrapGia Slip Skirt
(Interview by Adriana Gallina, Photographer by BB)