Tahyna MacManus opens up about pregnancy loss for new documentary

Image/Instagram
Image/Instagram  

While miscarriage sadly affects one in four pregnancies, for many women the experience remains shrouded in shame and stigma.

But that's something Australian actress and director Tahyna MacManus (née Tozzi) wants to change with her new documentary Misunderstandings of Miscarriage (MuM). The first-full length trailer for the feature has just been released ahead of its premiere on Stan for Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month in October

MuM sees MacManus, 34, embark on a four-year journey of pregnancy and miscarriage with her husband Tristan - and an intimate exploration of the physical, emotional and psychological impacts of baby loss.

Now mum to two children, Echo, four and Oisín, one, the journey to motherhood has been particularly painful for the former model. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Of all the wonders....

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"When I was six weeks along, I decided to surprise Tristan with the news on Father's Day," MacManus told Essential Baby last year of her first pregnancy. 

 "About four days later … I woke up, went to the bathroom and there was just blood.  At that point I really hadn't known anything about miscarriage. It wasn't really even on my radar. It was my first experience of pregnancy and because I was young it was just so far removed from what I thought would happen to me."

MacManus recalls feeing "devastated".

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"We had already named the baby. We had told family," she said.

Living in LA at the time, MacManus felt incredibly isolated in her grief. "Tristan didn't know what to do or say," she said "My mother had never had a miscarriage. On top of that, Tristan's parents were devastated and that was really hard. I felt I was not only letting my husband down but letting my family and extended family down."

The now writer and director fell pregnant again in 2016 and the pair welcomed baby Echo.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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"The joy of pregnancy is somewhat taken away after miscarriage," MacManus explained, adding that when she experienced some spotting she feared she would lose another baby.

In 2017, after hoping for a sibling for Echo, the pair were devastated once again when the sonographer couldn't find a heartbeat at her twelve-week scan.

"It was such a crashing, overwhelming feeling and I remember laying there and putting on a brave face … and as soon as the sonographer left the room, I just could not control myself. I was just sobbing."

This time, however, MacManus decided to document her feelings. 

"For some reason I said to Tristan, 'Can you film this?'," she says. "He felt really weird and uncomfortable about it, but I felt so alone and I wanted to start documenting it. At the time I didn't know what I was going to do with [the videos]"

Macmanus now hopes those intimate moments of grief, together with stories from other women including Claire Holt, Teresa Palmer and, Deborra-Lee Furness, will open up a conversation that normalises pregnancy loss and champions progress in areas of education and legislation.

"I have to let these women be heard and I have to let the extended community know that their grief is not in vain and they are allowed to feel exactly what they are feeling," she said.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Mum: Misunderstandings of Miscarriage premieres October 1, only on Stan.

For miscarriage support visit Pink Elephant SupportSandsBears of Hope.