Is The Training And Practice Of The Birthing Awareness 3 Step Process Safe?

A life well lived

If you have been following this series of blogs exploring the history of and research supporting the MAM 3 step rewind process, you will know that last time I promised you a few things I would cover in this, the last blog in the series. Here is what I promised you:

TO BE CONTINUED…..The next and final blog in the series will conclude with an outline of the recommended treatment protocol described by NICE (* ref. 6). It will then seek to compare the NICE guideline with the steps of the MAM 3 step rewind process. Going on to outline the diagnostic criteria for PTSD (* ref. 7), concluding with an explanation of why learning and practicing the MAM 3 step rewind process is both safe and needed in our current birth context.

I have a confession to make. As I sat down to write about the diagnostic criteria outlined in the NICE guidance, I became consumed with what I consider to be the most important issue that Mia and I face as we seek to teach birth professionals the MAM 3 step process. Is it SAFE to be training non therapist a method for guiding suffering women through a learning process, that potentially can transform their lives?

With that thought in mind, this blog will deal with that question only. There will be one more article in this series covering what I promised to do this week. What drew me firstly to nursing and then midwifery was a deep, almost desperate passion to spend my life in the service of others. When my wife reads this she will sledge me for sure with comments like, who do you think you are? Fu@!king Gandhi!! Harsh, but she is right, I’m no saint.

This desire to support others has been kept alive in me by the looks of gratefulness and words of thanks from those I have worked with over the years. I would argue that we as human beings are all very similar in terms of our physical, social / psychological and emotional / spiritual needs. This need I sense in myself to connect, make a difference and love others is probably common to us all. Being a midwife meets my needs in so very many ways.

So why do I have this life long commitment to teach the MAM 3 step rewind process to birth

If you haven’t heard of The Confidential Enquiry into Maternal Deaths (CEMD) and you work in the birth world you should read it. The CEMD is a national programme that investigates maternal deaths in the UK and Ireland (* ref 1.).In the document published in December 2016, it reports on the years between 2009-14, in summarising the impact of mental health related suffering in women. It says this:

Maternal mental health remains a serious concern in the weeks and months after birth. Maternal suicide is the third largest cause of direct maternal death in the first few weeks, but is the leading cause of death when looked at over a year. 1 in 9 women who die during pregnancy or up to one year after pregnancy die by suicide. More than two thirds of women die from physical and mental health conditions and not direct complication of pregnancy.

Stop and read it again! Yes you read right,

1 in 9 women who die during pregnancy or up to one year after pregnancy die by suicide.

It bears mentioning that the majority of women who suffer from the serious life debilitating symptoms that they may call trauma, never receive a formal diagnosis of PTSD.

Many women and an increasing number of their partners consider the birth of their baby to have been traumatic (around 25% - 34%) but not every one of those people will go on to experience the PTSD symptoms associated with birth trauma.

Current figures for the number of people who go on to develop the PTSD symptoms that characterise birth trauma vary between 1.5% and 9% depending on which study is used.

Birth Trauma Organisation (UK based)** suggests that it is estimated that as many as 20,000 parents go on to experience PTSD symptoms after a traumatic birth but that as many 200,000 parents would describe their birth as traumatic.

There are many different figures available but Penny Simkins article on the subject is thoroughly researched and explained here on here US birth trauma website Pattch. (* ref. 4)

Maybe this stark observation is due to the extensive diagnostic criteria laid out in the NICE guideline published in 2005 (© The Royal College of Psychiatrists & The British Psychological Society, 2005):

2.3.1 Diagnostic criteria

The diagnosis of PTSD requires that the patient, first, has been exposed to a traumatic event, and second, suffers from distressing re-experiencing symptoms. Patients will usually also show avoidance of reminders of the event, and some symptoms of hyperarousal and/or emotional numbing. The NICE guideline sites the research when offering diagnostic criteria for PTSD are as follows:

  • (A) The patient must have been exposed to a stressful event or situation (either short or
    long- lasting) of exceptionally threatening or catastrophic nature, which would be likely to
    cause pervasive distress in almost anyone.
  • (B) There must be persistent remembering or ‘reliving’ of the stressor in intrusive
    ‘flashbacks’, vivid memories, or recurring dreams, or in experiencing distress when
    exposed to circumstances resembling or associated with the stressor.
  • (C) The patient must exhibit an actual or preferred avoidance of circumstances resembling
    or associated with the stressor, which was not present before exposure to the stressor.
  • (D) Either of the following must be present:

    1. inability to recall, either partially or completely, some important aspects of the
      period of exposure to the stressor
    2. persistent symptoms of increased psychological sensitivity and arousal (not
      present before exposure to the stressor), shown by any two of the following:
      • (a) difficulty in falling or staying asleep
      • (b) irritability or outbursts of anger
      • (c) difficulty in concentrating
      • (d) hyper vigilance
      • (e) exaggerated startle response.
  • (E) Criteria B, C, and D must all be met within 6 months of the stressful event or the end of a period of stress. (For some purposes, onset delayed more than by 6 months may be included, but this should be clearly specified.)

What DO we train birth professionals to do?

We train birth professionals to teach a client a new way of processing the memory that has been causing her distress until now. Our students are equipped to communicate a process which will, if understood by the client, lead them towards self healing.

The MAM learning 3 step rewind training is not designed to turn you into a birth trauma expert, therapist or practioner. But if you are one already, it will help you be an even better one

What we do teach

The current neurophysiology of trauma.

Signs and symptoms of PTSD and when to refer to another appropriate professional.

How to teach a client a new way of processing the memory.

How to lead a client into a deep sense of relaxation.

A method for leading a client through what they have learned.

The MAM learning 3 step rewind training is not designed to turn you into a birth trauma
expert, therapist or practitioner. But if you are one already, it will help you be an even
better one.

This understanding is one of the reasons why we have moved away from the word technique to describe the process we teach.

A technique is often administered by a trained professional. The power needed for transformation in this context lies with the professional concerned. There is a sense in which the woman gets treated, she is passive in the process, rather than her knowing that she did it, the power to change and transform was already INSIDE HER….she wasn’t delivered from the trauma, she gave birth to her own transformation and ALL the credit is hers!

I avoid using the word traumatic to describe another human beings experience. I wait for them to label their experience in their own way.

Once she has shared the words she uses to describe her experience I use her words when I am referring to it too.

We do describe our process as releasing suffering that women describe as traumatic, but I think you will agree that is a world apart from claiming to train expert therapists in 3 months.

If you have read the other blogs in this series you will be familiar with the current state of the neurological understanding (we know so little in reality) regarding how memories that have been experienced as traumatic seem to be held in the amygdala while the hippocampus blocks the processing of the memory.

The relaxation, outcome focused questions and the rewind mental exercise that the client is led through, seems to work on these brain structures in such a way that the memory becomes encoded differently and released.This process is based on theories of learning, human beings are learning machines, we learn naturally, neural connections are made and habituated.

Most, if not all women that seek out a MAM 3 step rewind practioner, do not meet the criteria for a diagnosis of PTSD, in fact looking at the quote below from the NICE guidance on diagnosis; avoidance of speaking about the triggering event is a key criteria Therefore women who seek out help probably do not have a diagnosis.

The patient must exhibit an actual or preferred avoidance of circumstances resembling or associated with the stressor, which was not present before exposure to the stressor.

I have taken a lot of words to outline Mia’s and my philosophy when it comes to what we teach in our trainings. This whole blog series has been an attempt to be as CLEAR as possible about our concern for the safety of those women who will be taught and guided by the students who chose to train with us. If our concern for the suffering of women didn’t run so deep it would be our attachment to our professional registrations that would keep us focused on the quality of our trainings and the safety of the families we want to serve.


Learn lots,


Title Of Blog

Summary Of Contents

A summary of my personal history with the model of NLP and a setting of direction for the series.

A discussion about the importance of research when seeking to practice in a safe and professional way.

No one doubts the rewind step in our process came from the model of NLP. This blog outlines the history of the rewind.

A discussion about the research problems when studying a model like NLP.

A compares is made between some extensive work being done in the USA and the MAM 3 step rewind process.

We've evolved The MAM 3 Step Rewind Method with a commitment to safety for your client. After doing our course you'll have the skills and confidence to teach your client the process and guide her (or him) through it and feel relief from a heavy burden.