ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — When 31-year-old Brianna Cromartie found out she was pregnant, Phyllis Scharp was one of her first calls.

“I was like, ‘Oh my God, I’m pregnant,’ and I said ‘What do I do?’ and my mom was like ‘call Phyllis,'” Cromartie said.

The personal trainer said she wanted to be educated and have moral support while she had her first baby. And when the time came four months ago, “Auntie Phyllis” helped welcome Willow to the world.

Sharp, a mother and grandmother from Rochester, has been a full-time certified doula for 3 years. She has assisted in the delivery of 33 babies so far in 2022.

“We make birth plans. I’m there for the birth, I help support mom and partner,” she explained. “I’m there for the family as well to make sure everything is going as smoothly as possible […] and really to empower them to make great choices for [themselves].”

She calls her work a passion and a calling to help ensure women of color avoid becoming a statistic. Sharp cited that for mothers of color, the likelihood of a death or mortality is three to four times higher than with white mothers.

“So we really want to make sure we are doing everything we can to make sure we are not going to have that loss,” she said.

While moms like Cromartie lean on Sharp for her expertise throughout their pregnancy, she’s also a vital resource in the weeks following the birth.

“Its hard having a baby. We don’t know what to do,” Sharp said. “Birthing persons are not seen for six weeks, so its really imperative that they have someone to come to the home and help take care of them, as well.”

On Monday, Sharp got her own special delivery from New York Assemblywoman Sarah Clark.

Sharp was awarded the Woman of Distinction award.

“You don’t think anyone sees the work that you do, so it was nice to be seen.” Sharp said about the award, holding back tears. She said she cherishes the relationships she builds and maintains with the families she has met over the years.

“I really love how we bond and become such great friends,” she said. “For some families, I’ve been their doula twice and over the years I get invited to birthday parties and stuff like that.”

Sharp’s company is called Royalty Birthing Services. She’s one of dozens of Black doulas in the Rochester area.

On Sunday, July 17 she and other doulas will host a Doulas in the Park event at Cobbs Hill Park from 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Anyone interested in learning more about doulas is welcome to attend.