Australian actress Tahyna Macmanus has opened up about her heartbreaking four-year experience with pregnancy and miscarriage for a new documentary film.
The 34-year-old, along with her husband, Studio 10 host Tristan Macmanus, are hoping to normalise the conversation around miscarriage in the feature doco, Misunderstandings of Miscarriage (MuM), which includes interviews with actors Claire Holt, Teresa Palmer and Deborra-Lee Furness.
Speaking to Yahoo Lifestyle, Tahyna, who has gone through three miscarriages, opened up about how devastating her first miscarriage was and how shocked and angry she was when she was told to ‘go home and take a Panadol’.
It happened in 2015, when Tahyna was just 28-years-old and living in Los Angeles with her now husband, Tristan.
Just like she thought she would, Tahyna fell pregnant straight away and over the next few weeks the couple lived in a joyful pregnancy bubble.
“I was about a week out from booking my first appointment. I had very strong pregnancy symptoms to begin with and I woke up one morning and it was like I just didn’t feel pregnant anymore,” Tahyna said.
As she walked to the bathroom, she started to notice drops of blood on the floor but miscarriage was the furthest thing from her mind.
“I was very hopeful that everything was ok but deep down I knew something was really wrong,” she said.
Tahyna and Tristan rushed to the emergency room but were forced to wait four hours for a scan before they were told the heartbreaking news.
“I was told to go home, it’s going to be a bit painful but take a Panadol. This was my first miscarriage and that really affected me. I was just completely devastated,” she said.
Soon after, Tahyna fell pregnant again and despite having constant anxiety and fear throughout the pregnancy, the couple welcomed their rainbow baby Echo into the world in 2016.
18 months later, they decided to try for another baby, with Tahyna again falling pregnant very quickly.
“I went in for a scan and was measuring small but they told me to come back in a couple of weeks to check again which I did and at that point the pregnancy hadn’t progressed and there was no heartbeat,” Tahyna said.
Tahyna says that miscarriage was particularly traumatic as due to complications, she ended up bleeding for 12 weeks straight before getting a D&C (a procedure to remove tissue from inside your uterus).
That’s when Tahyna and Tristan began documenting their miscarriage experience in a video diary, which went on to form the basis of the new Stan documentary.
About halfway through 2018, they decided to try again, with Tahyna going on to miscarry the same day she got a positive on a pregnancy test.
“As quickly as that excitement came along, it was taken away,” she said.
In March 2019, Tahyna and Tristan welcomed their son, Oisín into the world and they’re now sharing their fertility experience in their new documentary.
“When I sit there and watch it back it takes you back to that moment and it’s hard to watch and I can remember so vividly every single thing. Other contributors as well, they said it’s hard, it’s hard to relive it and talk about it,” she said.
Tahyna hopes the documentary can go towards opening up the conversation so no one else has to suffer in silence.
“I’m angry that I wasn’t given any resources. I’m angry that no one told me what to expect and I had to kind of find it all out myself,” she said.
“The goal of this is that we can make resources readily available for women, especially that first pregnancy as well where it’s just ripped away from you that naive bliss and I don’t want anyone else to feel what I went through.”
Fertility expert, Dr Manny Mangat, told Yahoo Lifestyle that while the physical recovery from miscarriage may be relatively quick in some cases, the emotional toll is potentially huge for a patient and their partner.
“They have probably started making plans for this baby the moment they found out about the pregnancy or saw a heartbeat on ultrasound,” she said.
“It is just as important to validate the pregnancy loss no matter the gestation and allow adequate time that each individual needs for grieving and healing emotionally. It is also important to provide counselling support alongside medical care.”
Dr. Manny said we need more documentaries like Tahyna’s to raise awareness and give women and their partners a voice.
“Women need to feel more comfortable discussing this with friends and family. Health professionals need to empathise, listen, validate, respect grieving, acknowledge, regardless of stage in pregnancy the loss occurred,” she said.
“We need to listen to our patients and use appropriate positive language. As a leader in the field we need to lead by example, educate our trainees as well as raise awareness in the community. We need to understand that there is a discordance in the way we deliver information that may not be meeting our patients emotional needs.
“We need to rewrite the language of miscarriage with patient centric brochures and educational material with sensitive terminology.”
Misunderstandings of Miscarriage will premiere Thursday, October 1, 2020, only on Stan
For support on miscarriage, stillbirth and newborn death you can visit Sands.