“Unfortunately, our culture views pregnancy and birth as a medical event instead of the healthy and empowering physiological life transformation it really is”, says doula Carson Meyer.
Carson, a nutrition consultant, birth doula and the founder of C & The Moon, is pregnant herself for the first time this season. As a staunch advocate for ‘mother-led birth’, we asked Carson to talk with us about how she’s feeling and what she’s learning as she preps for the miraculous experience she’s witnessed herself many times…
Carson, tell us about your doula philosophy in brief. I’ve heard some of your birth stories and they’re always so empowering of the mother…
As a doula, I support parents through pregnancy, birth and postpartum by offering nutrition consulting, community support, resources and education around the many choices they have.
I don’t believe there is a one-size-fits-all approach to life. Birth is life and the journey is unique for each of us.
Unfortunately, our culture views pregnancy and birth as a medical event instead of the healthy and empowering physiological life transformation it really is. I am passionate about helping mothers to reframe cultural narratives, fears and dogmas around birth so that they can approach this sacred time from a place of peace and confidence that brings them closer to themselves, their little ones and their inherent strength.
You are a wealth of knowledge when it comes to having a “mother-owned birth”. What are 3 to 5 things you want every birthing mother to know?
01 There is no such thing as “I am not allowed”, “My doctor is making me”, “I have to”. You always have choice. You always know best.
02 Standard of care is not the same as evidence-based care. Many routine practices in place in hospitals are not rooted in evidence but rather in liability, fear, convenience and protocol.
03 Your body is built for this. Your baby is built for this. You are both so wise. Trust.
04 Oxytocin, the love hormone, helps facilitates labor, breastfeeding and postpartum recovery. Birth where and how you feel safest and create an environment of uninterrupted peace and support. The role of oxytocin is concrete proof that birth is safer when we honor the needs and feelings of mothers.
05 Check out Little Honey Money for your shower registry. New mamas and babies need good support above all else.
How does it feel to be pregnant for the first time after helping so many others give birth? Has the experience changed any of your philosophy?
I have so much gratitude for the mamas I have had the privilege of working with. Each and every one of them has taught me so much and I know my pregnancy would not be the same without the wisdom and experience they brought to my life.
No two pregnancies, births, babies are ever the same. Getting to be exposed to so many different approaches to mothering has helped shape my path and allowed for a deep sense of trust in the process.
I am sure that being pregnant myself has changed some of my philosophy. In fact, my philosophy is often different from that of the women I work with, but I do my best to keep my personal views and role as a doula separate from one another. I never want my clients to feel my views being imposed on them. Instead, I want to hold up a mirror for them to find their best way.
What has been important to you nutritionally over the past few months?
What have been some of the most important lifestyle behaviors for you during pregnancy?
Meditation, movement, massage and gardening have been important lifestyle enhancers during this pregnancy.
I moved from LA to the mountains of North Carolina shortly before getting pregnant. It has been such a wonderful place to nest through pregnancy. I know my nervous system has really benefited from the slower pace and from planting roots in a home of our own.
Although I still work virtually I chose to stop my in-person doula practice for the time being so that I could focus on prioritizing my own pregnancy and rest through this time.
What messages for mothers have you felt more passionate about sharing since you’ve been pregnant?
There is not a one-size-fits-all care model. You get to customize your prenatal care, birth and postpartum experience to benefit you and your family! This may mean doing more research, asserting yourself in ways you were not conditioned to do, and taking responsibility for your choices.
This is such a potent time to break old patterns, trust your intuition and get comfortable in your power. No expert knows better than you.
There is no such thing as eliminating risk in pregnancy altogether. Uncertainty is a healthy part of the process that prepares you for the ultimate surrender of motherhood. This narrative that a sense of certainty comes only from one way of birthing or mothering is false. You deserve attentive, compassionate care that honors your right to informed consent every step of the way and puts you at the center of every decision. You deserve a village of loving support.
Every birthing experience is as unique as life itself. Birth is an opportunity for growth, learning and rebirth in every way.
Your favorite books on the topic?
Your Baby Your Way by Jennifer Margulis, Nourishing Traditions For Baby and Child Care by Sally Fallon and Safe Infant Sleep by James Makenna
You have been a part of so many special births. What has been the most important to you in preparation for your own?
In many ways, I feel like my six years as a doula has been my preparation. My experience as a doula has really allowed me to embark on my own journey with a lot of knowledge, support and trust so that I can enjoy the process and be more present.
I have been preparing my mind and body by slowing down, making healthy nutrition and lifestyle choices and working through emotional blocks. Letting go of other people’s birth stories to carve out space for my own has also been important.
My partner and I are taking hypnobirth classes from Nina Phelan which I know will help him help me in the moment. I have also shared a lot of ‘Indie Birth’ content with him so he feels as informed and prepared as possible.