Ty Roberts is #MadeForKnoxville.
To a young Ty Roberts, pregnancy possessed a certain magic–the idea of conception and birth wielded a mysterious and whimsical power. But Ty’s own birthing experience offered a different story: as a homeless teen, it was one of loneliness, fear and isolation.
Ty Roberts dreamed of becoming an OB/GYN, but life had another idea. After her own birthing experience as a black, teenage mother, Ty realized her desire to help other women through that same process. She wanted to provide education, knowledge, and power to women and their birth experiences. She assisted friends and family during their birthing process, and finally became a doula. Through her experiences, Ty was exposed to the healthcare disparities faced by women, especially black women. This led her to start her own business and a non-profit organization, advocating for the rights of black women and women in healthcare.
Today, Ty is a certified birth and postpartum doula, providing emotional, physical and educational support to expectant, laboring and postpartum mothers–with a particular passion for serving African American women. She founded Gennisi Birth Services to educate, support, and empower women, as well as her nonprofit, Gennisi Charitable Birth Services, Inc., which allows her to provide this support for free or at a low-cost to mothers who would not otherwise be able to afford it. She has now pivoted her business, rebranding to Miracle V. Birth Concierge.
“To witness women find their voice and use their power has brought me more fulfillment than I could ever imagine.”
In Their Own Words…
My story isn’t very outstanding. Simply put, once upon a time, I desired to be an OB/GYN. Due to life taking me through changes and turns, that got swept back into the recesses of my mind and eventually became “the impossible dream.” Little did I know that many years later that passion would resurface. I found myself desiring to be supportive of women during their birthing experience and in my mind, I replayed my not-so-wonderful birth story. That story consisted of feeling alone, unsupported, and unwanted by the medical staff. After all, here I was this poor and homeless teen with no experience in the medical field or how to advocate for myself.
So fast forward some odd years ahead. I began helping friends and family through their birth process. I didn’t know what a doula was, but apparently, I unofficially was one. Once I found out exactly what it was that I was doing, I decided to make it formal and official. I trained in 2019 and REALLY found out what a doula was and what they stood for. I knew in my heart that that was where I belonged. Still, it was months later that I realized that there was more to being a doula than standing in a delivery room. I learned about the disparities that women, particularly black women, faced. This was not just per news coverage but seeing firsthand how women were being treated during visits and their birth experience. From there, my focus shifted to advocacy, education, and empowerment of all women. To witness women find their voice and use their power has brought me more fulfillment than I could ever imagine.
My plans for the community have already partially been executed. Along with my for profit, Gennisi Birth Services, I recently started a nonprofit, Gennisi Charitable Birth Services, Inc. The purpose of this organization is to offer free and low-cost pregnancy, birth, and postpartum support to families that otherwise would not be able to afford it. This service was birthed out of the need to make sure that women, especially women of color, would be able to afford doula services and not have the barrier of finances be in the way. Further plans are for community education to help understand what the benefit is of having a doula and allow people to understand the value of having a doula as a part of the birth team. I have other plans in mind for the community that are baking in my mind, but they are great and will be impactful for the city of Knoxville. I’m not ready to share yet, but I invite you to stay tuned!
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