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Meet Elizabeth Clark of Grace and Gratitude Life in Long Beach

Today we’d like to introduce you to Elizabeth Clark.

Elizabeth, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
This story has pieces woven throughout my life, but if it needs a beginning, it begins with the birth of my two babies. I had pretty opposite birth experiences. My first was in the hospital, beginning with induction and ending three days later with a cesarean birth. My second, born in a bathtub with a midwife and doula after spontaneously beginning labor the night before she was born. What happened between those two years and those two births were the seeds of changing my life.

There was such an energetic shift inside me with these two experiences, I knew I needed to help others experience birth as I did in my second rather than my first. For me, that is helping others understand and know their choices in their birth opportunities and find empowerment with making their own choices, whatever that might be: hospital or home; waterbirth or cesarean. I felt radically empowered with my second birth and knew I wanted to help others develop, hone, and harness that power that comes from the birthing time. With that, I began to carve my little corner of support, education, and community in the form of Grace and Gratitude Life.

Has it been a smooth road?
Honestly, I wouldn’t say the path has been easy, but I wouldn’t categorize it as hard either. Of course, there have been challenges along the way, but mostly of the personal growth kind. Birth work is HARD. It’s personal, it knows very little boundaries. Having two littles at home is hard enough, let alone birthing a business too. The work itself I find rewarding and intuitive for me, but there was a steep learning curve on the business side. Some of the hardest work of starting Grace and Gratitude Life was just committing to doing the work; of starting a business and committing to care for others when I wasn’t sure who would care for me our my babies. (Big shout out to my own amazing community, friends, and family!) There are the legitimate struggles or missing bedtimes, or entire days, with my own babies to help other mamas. There are struggles when births don’t go the way that’s planned and end up being traumatic. I remember pretty early on in one of my training the phrase, “if we could do anything else, we would.” And it is so true; there is so much to hold when holding emotional space for others.

There have been major stepping stones with completed course work and education to help me provide the best services possible. For me, the hardest part is figuring out balance within this world of being “on” 24/7.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Grace and Gratitude Life – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of and what sets you apart from others.
I had been teaching yoga for several years but knew I wanted to create a business with a focus surrounding the birth experience. I had already begun teaching Prenatal Yoga and Baby + Me Yoga but knew I wanted to expand. I started Grace and Gratitude Life in 2017 by adding birth and postpartum doula support to my yoga offerings. It was and is my hope to create space for those during pregnancy, birth, and postpartum using yoga, education, support, and community.

For me, I like to think of my yoga classes are an opportunity for others to begin to build their kula (their circle) to support them. My hope is that by planting seeds during these classes, pregnant people will realize that the experience is so much more than just the physical changes in their body, and begin to do the soul work needed around the birth and transformation that is birth. I truly believe that birth is magic in physical form and I hope that they can tap into their own intuition, to those lines of ancestral energy within us, so they too can witness and hone the magic of birth.

I am most proud of the gatherings I’ve created, networking mamas-to-be, mamas, and birth professionals together, helping each other be heard, seen, and learn of local resources. I think this is the work that sets me apart from other Prenatal Yoga Teachers or other Birth Doulas. As a mama myself, a yogi, and a doula, I know and need the support too, of these groups and gatherings. Community is everything.

Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
Long Beach is the best and couldn’t be happier to call it home! I truly feel like this place has it all and I’m just grateful AF to be here raising my babies and creating community.

If there’s a downside, of course, it’s traffic.

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Image Credit:

Sara Whittingham Shots OC Photography, Elle Kennedy Photography

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