Mpowered. By Women for Women: Maxine Attard

Mpowered. By Women for Women: Maxine Attard

Mpowered. By Women for Women: Maxine Attard

Meet Maxine Attard – a dazzling actress in some of Malta’s biggest stage shows, a judge in Malta’s Got Talent and recently married, Maxine is a household name.

Maxine Aquilina, recently Attard, is getting back on stage this month after Sister Act was postponed due to Covid. However, her acting career is not the only thing that has brought her to our podcast today. After the sad passing of her mum, Maxine joined forces with her friend to set up ‘Jays of Sunshine’ to collect funds for children in the Rainbow ward and Mater Dei. Listen to the full podcast below.

Recently, in January, Maxine was back in the news to speak about her miscarriage with her husband Adrian, and both ourselves and Trudy, admired Maxine’s honesty and openness of her trauma so much that we asked her to be on our Mpowered podcast.

Before getting into the main topic of discussion, Trudy asked Maxine about getting back to theatre after a two-year Covid break.

‘We were in production week and Covid was edging closer. We got a call to not come to Gozo since we were in a lockdown. From being so busy with work, I found myself twiddling my thumbs at home. It was heart-breaking for everyone. Two years later, we’re back on stage. I wish I could articulate the feeling. It is so incredible to be back on stage.’

However, Maxine still kept herself busy during Covid. In fact, Malta’s Got Talent happened during the pandemic. She also took part in a play in July when things started to open back up and studying kept her very busy. And…there was her wedding!

‘We got married right in the middle of Covid. I don’t think mine was considered as a Covid wedding. Ours was affected by things like the church with less guests, and also because of the numbers, we weren’t able to invite everyone. Although we always wanted a stand-up wedding, it was a real dream, and I had such a blast. When I think about it, the sad part was that we couldn’t invite all the people we wanted but realistically, it was about us. I never wanted to wait the pandemic out because I knew there was not an end to this. So, we did it!’

What’s so admiring about Maxine is that, just like she opened up on social media, she willingly wanted to speak about her miscarriage on our podcast.

‘It happened a couple of months ago and I shared it on social media. After we got married, we questioned whether we should start trying to have children. As I went into this new chapter, I went in it unaware of the things could go wrong. Society paints a very idealistic picture of life. Until you have to go through these chapters, you don’t know how to feel about it because people don’t speak about them.’

‘I got pregnant fairly early which I know is very lucky. We told some family and friends. At 8 weeks, I had my check-up, and I was already so overwhelmed. I was very anxious. I was like my body was telling me something. The doctor who was performing the scan said I had a blood clot, but that this was very common. I was waiting in the waiting room; Googling (which you should not do, but I did anyway) and I went to speak to the Gyne and she put me on pills to protect the pregnancy.’

Maxine had a holiday booked which the Gyne approved. She simply was told to stop exercising and to be careful, which she did.  

‘Then, we had a 12-week scan. As soon as the picture of the baby came up, I knew something was wrong. I froze and I was preparing myself for the news because I immediately realised that the baby didn’t grow from the 8-week scan. The doctor said that something had gone wrong and that there was no heartbeat. It was like time froze. Nothing was registering and everything was happening in slow motion.’

‘I wailed and I didn’t think about who was hearing me in the waiting room. After a while, the doctor came back in, and we went to speak to the Gyne. I was dying to go home so I didn’t ask questions. I should have asked questions, but I couldn’t. I had a missed miscarriage in which your body doesn’t realise that you had a miscarriage. I went home and I started to miscarry four days later. The fifth day was full-on, and I went to hospital. Those days were a waiting game. We’re always told that it’s like a heavy period – it was not. It was awful and so painful. I wish I was aware of what was going to happen. My miscarriage started at home. We had to drive to hospital in mid-miscarriage. I waited for an hour without Adrian because they wouldn’t let him wait with me because of Covid restrictions.

We got lost in the hospital and the rest of my miscarriage started to happen in the hospital bathroom. When I say the rest, my body was flushing out everything; the small embryo, the sack, the lining, everything comes out and things are passing out of you through contractions. You won’t know the feeling until you have to go through it. The midwives came and I knew that the worst was over.’

Maxine emphasises the need for more education on such matters of life.

‘I think we need to learn more about these things; that not all babies make it and/or not all women are fertile. If we were more open and things were more accessible, it will not change the trauma or heartbreak, but maybe decisions would have been better.’

When Maxine opened up on social media, she explained that she spent one week replying to messages from women.

‘It was the most amazing experience; people started opening up to me. I feel that there is this taboo and that miscarriage is a dirty little secret. It’s like there’s a lace of shame to it.’

‘The minute that I had time to process, I refused to be ashamed of what had happened to me. I had to turn it on its head, and I had to talk about it. I was not going to give in to that taboo. This is how it’s changing. When women get together and start sharing, this becomes more normal. We are not alone. I am not special. This did not just happen to me. I want to be able to share it and openly talk about this – so that women in future generations know that this is normal.’

Maxine says that this chapter in their lives is going to be open forever.

‘I don’t think I closed the chapter – this is going to be open forever. And I think I want it that way. The experience and closeness that Adrian and I have now, I am very grateful for that. I have to find these good things in this experience. I didn’t do anything specific to say goodbye, but I did mourn properly this time, unlike what I did when my mum died. After that day, I didn’t get out of bed. I accepted all the help. I gave myself that time and allowed myself to feel everything. The grieving process allowed me to move forward in a good way.’

Thank you so much, Maxine for being on Mpowered. Your honesty and openness has touched us and, we’re sure, it has touched all our listeners and readers too.

Listen to the full podcast below.