“I’m very lucky I could have my rainbow babies, but for many women, it’ll be a long, hard slog,” she said.
Laying in a hospital bed after being told her baby had no heartbeat nine weeks into her third pregnancy, the 34-year-old decided to start documenting the process. Turning to Studio 10 host Tristan, she asked, “Can you film this?” The video diary that MacManus started to help process her grief following her second miscarriage eventually evolved into a feature-length documentary, Misunderstandings of Miscarriage.
“I remember feeling so alone. I wanted to start an open dialogue on miscarriage
to help lift some of the shame and stigma surrounding pregnancy loss,” she tells WHO of her film.
“My goal is that from this film people will talk about it a little more and will have the tools to help someone going through it,” she explains.
Here, MacManus, 34, opens up about her new doco…
Why did you want to share your story?
Miscarriage has long been seen as a taboo topic, as secret women’s business or a very individual thing. But the grief is very real and if we don’t deal with it, the ordeal can affect us later. After I had my second miscarriage it brought up the trauma of my first, when I was sent home without any information and told to “take a Panadol”. For a long time afterwards, I felt very ashamed and that I’d done something to cause it. I started making video journals and talking to other
women and the idea just evolved from there.
When you started talking about your experience with miscarriage, were you surprised to find other women you knew had been through it, too?
Absolutely. I found out my own mother had previously had a miscarriage that I knew nothing about. I also found out about my good friend Teresa Palmer’s miscarriage. I didn’t really understand how it affected my husband either until I interviewed him. I was surprised by how much we’d hidden from each other to protect them.
Teresa and other prominent Aussie women, Deborra-Lee Furness and Claire Holt, also open up about their struggles with fertility. Was it hard to convince them to share their stories in your film?
I was fortunate they were all willing to share. We all had different reasons for speaking out, but also wanted to accomplish the same goal – which was letting other women know they weren’t alone.
During filming, you fell pregnant with your son, Oisín. Was it difficult to be so immersed in miscarriage while pregnant?
It was very hard. But I felt I had to keep going as I was finally starting this conversation and wasn’t going to stop just because I was scared.
This article originally appeared in the current issue of WHO Magazine on sale now. You can stream Misunderstandings of Miscarriage on Stan.