Our Team

Alissa Claxton – Birth Doula

Alissa began the process of becoming a birth doula in 2009 after the birth of her first daughter.  She was able to find strength and peace through another experienced mother in the room and wanted to offer that same encouragement to other women. She loves assisting and educating families through pregnancy and childbirth as a birth doula. In the beginning of her journey, she realized that she did not want to go about it alone.  The vision for Open Heart Doula came to fruition in 2010 and has been growing and thriving ever since. Alissa and her husband, Ben and their four children, Molly, Parker, Hannah and Lucy live in the Karns area.

"When it comes to motherhood, give yourself lots of grace. It takes time to grow and become the woman and mom that you desire to be and were created to be. Each new day is another opportunity for more grace… and more coffee!"

Tamika Guillebeaux- Postpartum Doula

Tamika thrives in the supportive role of a Postpartum Doula. She realized just how important that support is when she had her first baby as a single mother over 10 years ago, and was inspired to serve others in the same way. Tamika began attending visits, training, and pursuing certification in 2014 and was blessed to join Open Heart Doula the same year. She loves nurturing, educating, and assisting families during that precious time when a new baby comes home. She believes it is one of the best times to empower and collaborate with new mamas and families to maximize confidence in their ability and is passionate about providing physical and emotional support to women. Tamika lives in Knoxville with her husband Louis and their four children, Micah, Trinity, Josiah and Timothy.

"No matter what kind of birth experience we have, whether it went exactly as planned or not, if we are emotionally high or emotionally drained, we all need support."

Jodi Thress- Childbirth Educator

Jodi became a childbirth educator and doula in 2012 and joined Open Heart Doula Services a year later. She is passionate about teaching parents what to expect with pregnancy, labor, and life with a newborn. She believes in evidence-based education and offers a 6-week course throughout the year for families. She loves the experience of helping pregnant women gain confidence and trust in themselves as they transition into parenthood. Jodi lives in North Knoxville with her husband, Isaac and their daughters, Lona and Vera.

"Instead of comparing yourself and your baby to others, focus on what seems natural for your family. Follow your instincts and make room for mistakes. Slow down and enjoy the little moments because they pass too quickly!”

Katie Ferguson – Birth Doula

Katie felt called to pursue becoming a doula after the birth of her first child in 2012. During her first pregnancy, she realized that she was falling into a system. The hospital started churning her through each appointment like a well-oiled machine. She felt as though any choices, opinions or preferences she had were explained away because of “procedures.” She had a general lack of knowledge and presence of fear surrounding birth that is true for most in our culture today. After this realization, she delved into the information and learned about the choices that are available for birth. She found a provider who listened to her questions, preferences, fears and opinions. She had a life-changing birth experience that she felt a part of, not just something that happened to her. She now has a passion to support families by education which fights the fear and empower families to realize and make their own choices about birth, and help bring back the beauty of this joyful, life-changing experience. Motherhood is a profound calling to women that requires daily support, grace, and encouragement from one another, and that journey begins during pregnancy. The more families she comes alongside for birth support during this incredible experience, the more she falls in love with “doula-ing” and is affirmed that this is exactly where she wants to serve and grow! Jared, and Katie have 2 daughters, Faye and Penelope and 2 sons Archie and Rhett, and they live in the Fountain City area.

“Pregnancy not only marks the coming birth of your baby, but also the coming birth of your motherhood! Both can be intimidating and even seem like an impossibility, but be intentional, enjoy every moment, especially the hard ones, and before you know it, life is crazier and more fun than you ever could have imagined”

Crystal Shields- Childbirth Educator, Birth Doula

When Crystal thinks back on the births of her four children, nothing but wonderful memories comes to her mind. She can say without a shadow of a doubt say that she had a beautiful birth experience that changed her life in an awe-inspiring way. And that is just what she wants to help women achieve: the best birth possible. Crystal has a passion for educating women on their options in childbirth, specifically, nutrition in pregnancy, natural childbirth, and breast feeding.

Crystal finds such joy in coming alongside pregnant women on their journey through childbirth and having the privilege to witness a sweet, new life come into the world. After working as a pediatric nurse for 9 years, Crystal decided to take on the role as a stay at home mom to her four children, Shepherd, Olivia, Scarlett, and Banner.

"There is no way to be a perfect mother, but a million ways to be a good one."

Amber Chamblee- Postpartum Doula

As a postpartum doula, Amber has been passionate about caring for new mothers and families for the last 7 years. She has a special place in her heart for supporting families in the evening and overnight hours of newborn parenting. Amber loves watching the bond between mothers, fathers. siblings and newborns flourish as the parents feel educated, supported, and cared for through this special transition in their lives. Amber, along with her husband Milt, call North Knoxville home where they raise their three boys; Cooper, Reid, and Everett.

"We are beautifully created for connection and relationship. The parenting journey is no different, we were never meant to go it alone."