In 1994, Erica Lyon realized she wanted to change careers. Having started her professional life in management, she asked herself one startling question after the birth of her first child. How could she have been a reasonably well educated adult and yet stand on the threshold of parenting without any true idea about what was about to happen to her body, her baby and her life? The explosion of information when the surface is scratched in pregnancy and parenting can be overwhelming, Erica realized it was critical to distill the information into a useful, practical voice.
After going through a two year certification to teach with the Childbirth Education Association of Metropolitan New York, Erica was hired at Long Island College Hospital where she taught for seven years, the New York Foundling Hospital where she taught for four years working with pregnant teens ages 12-18, and at the Elizabeth Seton Childbearing Center, through St Vincent’s Hospital, where she taught and managed the center’s education programs.
During her tenure at The Elizabeth Seton Center, the pregnancy and postpartum classes became a citywide resource, starting the trend of childbirth classes and postpartum support in New York City. She additionally taught at community centers such as CAMBA House International and Women In Need (WIN) shelters in the city. During her early years of teaching, she also served as the President of the Childbirth Education Association of Metropolitan New York for four years.
Upon closure of the Elizabeth Seton Childbearing Center in 2003, Erica did what any rational unemployed single mother of two would do, and founded NYC’s first comprehensive independent pregnancy and postpartum education center, Realbirth. She served as Founder and Education director of Realbirth from 2003-2010. Realbirth quickly grew into multiple locations around NYC and upon its closure had served over 10,000 parents in NYC through its pregnancy and postpartum education programs.
Erica published her book, The Big Book of Birth, (Penguin/Plume) in 2007, and has been featured on nationally syndicated TV shows including The Today Show, alongside Giada De Laurentiis. Her writing has been featured in numerous national and regional magazines and newspapers. In January 2012, she launched Birth 360, a new online education site which aims to raise the bar on basic pregnancy, labor and postpartum information access with useful bitesize video clips.
As well as her teaching and broadcasting work, Erica is in demand as a consultant to a number of providers and services in the childbirth and parenting space. She currently consults for Beth Israel’s Phillips Family Practice where she helps develop their patient education program, and consults for residents during their OB rotations. Additionally, she guest lectures to first year OB students at Cornell Weill on alternate birth environments and provider choices.
She is Consulting Director of Education at Tribeca Parenting, a pregnancy and parent eduction organization with locations throughout New York City.
Erica has also lectured at many New York hospitals on a variety of topics including alternate coping strategies for labor, the psychology of pregnancy, labor and postpartum, postpartum depression, patient-provider communication, teaching breastfeeding for the clinical professional, developing education programs for pregnant and new parent teens, teaching techniques for pregnancy and labor education, choices in birth providers and setting and why women choose them and the history and training of childbirth educators. She also volunteers as a pregnancy and a parent educator for pregnant teens through the Medgar Evans Prep for Success Program in New York City schools.
Erica is the mother of three – two teenagers and a toddler – and lives in Brooklyn.