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To the outside world, Tahyna and Tristan MacManus might look like they have it all. Successful careers, two beautiful kids and wonderful life. And for the most part that is true.
But for the Australian actress and filmmaker Tahyna and her Dancing with the Stars judge husband, Tristan the journey to making that beautiful family is checkered with heartache as the pair suffered three devastating miscarriages in four years.
A journey that led to the feature documentary, Misunderstandings of Miscarriage (MuM), which follows 34-year-old Tahyna MacManus on her four-year experience of pregnancy and miscarriage.
“My first pregnancy was my first loss and it was devastating, it really affected me” Tahyna told Bounty Parents.
It was 2015 and The X-Men Origins: Wolverine, star was living in the US at the time. At six weeks along in her pregnancy Tahyna was in a state of bliss.
“I was so happy and miscarriage was the furthest thing from my mind. I never thought about it,” Tahyna confessed.
But bleeding saw her head straight to the emergency room, where the experience was anything but comforting.
“It was a four hour wait in emergency. My husband was telling me not to panic, but with nobody giving me any information I was sitting with my pants soaking through and searching my phone, googling if bright red blood meant a miscarriage.”
For four hours Tahyna held onto hope that everything would be OK, and somebody would come and tell her that it was nothing to worry about and everything would be fine. But deep down she knew that it was over. A fact confirmed by scan.
After three miscarriages in four years, Tahyna and Tristan want to open up the conversations that need to be had.
“The sonographer was quite short, just telling me that ‘there’s nothing here’ and sending me home to take a Panadol,” Tahyna said.
With no resources offered, and nobody to talk to Tahyna found herself in a lonely guilt-filled hole.
“Everything began to balloon in my head, I would go down the path of thinking, ‘did that coffee I had make this happen?’ and things like that, it was awful.”
When Tahyna and Tristan fell pregnant again almost immediately after that, guilt and fear took hold again.
“I would go from feeling overjoyed to terrified,” she says. “Every little cramp, everything that sparked fear I would go racing to doctors, begging them to tell me if everything was OK.”
Fortunately it was and the pair welcomed their daughter, Echo Isolde now four-years old.
WATCH: Tahyna MacManus documentary ‘Misunderstandings of Miscarriage (MuM)’ Trailer. Continues after …
18 months later, the pair prepared to give Echo a sibling as Tahyna fell pregnant again. It was at this time that Tahyna began filming a series of short videos on her phone to track the journey.
“The dating scan was encouraging but when we came back for a follow up scan there was no heartbeat,” says Tahyna. “I’d been through it before but it was just as traumatic.”
In addition to the emotional devastation Tahyna suffered many physical complications this time around including 12 weeks of blood loss.
“It was really intense.”
During Tahyna’s second miscarriage she began to film what she was going through.
After several months, a fourth pregnancy resulted in another miscarriage.
Devastated again, the pair were not expecting to fall pregnant again so soon, but five weeks following their miscarriage they discovered that their son, Oisín Lír now one, was on the way.
With her family now growing, the loss that Tahyna suffered never left her, and the realisation that this happens to so many others sparked the idea for the MuM documentary.
Tahyna and sister Cheyenne are thrilled to be able to raise their families together.
Debuting on Stan this October in line with Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, MuM sees Tahyna MacManus and her husband Tristan, 38 embark on an intimate journey to understand the physical, emotional and psychological impacts of miscarriage – an experience which sadly occurs with 1 in 4 pregnancies.
“It started after my second miscarriage,” Tahyna told Bounty Parents. “Primarily I was filming a lot on my phone, it was a video journal, and a way for me to deal with everything.”
Tahyna kept filming through her experiences and upon starting her production company realised that her story should be shared.
“There was nothing there to help me, really when I was going through it, particularly my first miscarriage in the United States, so I figured maybe my story could help somebody else.
“It all came together really naturally, and I knew that now was the time to talk about it.”
Along the way, Tahyna connects with women across the country to shed light on the issue, from A-listers such as Claire Holt, Teresa Palmer and, Deborra-Lee Furness to everyday Australians. By sharing these stories, MuM aims to open up a conversation that normalises pregnancy loss and champions progress in areas of education and legislation.
Not only is this a powerful narrative, breaking the feelings often associated with taboo topics like shame and guilt this documentary sheds light on the support needed for women and their families going through the loss of an unborn child.
The fact is that everyday families are suffering from miscarriage and loss; it does not discriminate. Women feel alone and isolated, men feel confused and helpless, and both need support.
“Allow yourself to feel everything,” is the advice Tahyna would give to anyone going through this right now. “Allow yourself to grieve and honour that loss. Find something that helps you bring closure and give yourself time, there’s no rule book.”
If you, or someone you know has suffered from a miscarriage, loss of a child, or PTSD and would like to talk to someone, visit Pink Elephant Support, or PANDA (Perinatal Anxiety & Depression Australia).