For those who may not know me just yet, my name is Kat Deluca and I am the founder of By Kat Deluca. When I created By Kat Deluca, it was more than just a passion project for me, it was a way to give back to the amazing and supportive people who helped me through my Perinatal Anxiety (PNA). By creating positivity focused apparel that is ethically made AND also shines a light on PNA & PND (Post-natal depression), is something I am extremely proud of.
I’m going to be honest with you all, my pregnancy experience was tough. Severe rib pain and a pre-eclampsia diagnosis meant that I had to stop working at around 30 weeks. At 35 weeks I was diagnosed with pre-eclampsia and was admitted into hospital and put onto blood pressure medication for a week. Although I felt extremely awful (as blood pressure medication does that to you), my symptoms were not bad enough to justify an immediate C-section. The doctors wanted me to wait until 37 weeks as this would give my baby more time to develop in utero and have a better outcome once born.
Life was not enjoyable at this point. Admitted to hospital, on blood pressure medication, poor sleep, my body was all swollen like a blueberry, severe rib pain making it unbearable to be upright for more than 30min. Not a great place to be in.
Thankfully, my baby had other ideas and also didn’t want to wait any longer and I went into spontaneous labour at 36.5 weeks and he was born by C-section after 2 hours.
When I gave birth to my beautiful son Chase, my mental health continued to decline as he was a very unsettled baby. He would scream and scream for 4+ hours at a time and nothing seemed to make him settle. I went to the GP multiple times to only be told that ‘It’s just colic’ and ‘all babies scream’ and ‘he will grow out of it’. So with all of this going on, and having a very upset little baby that I couldn’t seem to help and basically no sleep, my anxiety kept increasing.
Throughout all of this he wasn’t latching, and when ever he did it was serious agony. So I was trying nipple shields, going to see lactation consultants, pumping for hours on end. So it just seemed that everything was a challenge. My life was a nightmare. How could it all be so hard?
It was only after discussing with a friend my issues that they mentioned they knew of someone who had been admitted into a mother/baby mental health unit and that seemed to help them significantly with their own mental state, and also getting the baby seen by a paediatrician and put onto appropriate treatment.
This was it! This was my answer, and literally within 24 hours I had arranged to check my baby and myself into a the local Mental Health Mother-Baby unit.
Within minutes of being there the nurses said ‘oh yes your baby has silent reflux’ (as he was crying of course). They immediately arranged a paediatrician review and within 2 days my son was on medication for reflux. I knew something wasn’t right.
We ended up staying admitted for a month total. The nurses look after your baby at night so you can sleep (which is so important for mental health) and you complete cognitive behavioural therapy during the day as well as get to connect with other mums and bubs going through the same thing. I have made some lovely friends from my time there.
Fast forward a year and PNA is something that I still experience on and off. I don’t think it’s something that ever completely goes away. You just learn to manage it and recognise when things are going a bit off the rails so you can ask for help.
PND/A is something that impacts countless parents. This is why we need to talk about it. It affects countless women (and men) all over the world. My husband even suffered with some PND after I was recovering from my anxiety. This is so much more common than you realise. It is often the men who hold everything together as the women are struggling and then once things seem to be improving things can come crashing down for them.
It is my own experience with this journey that has led me to create By Kat Deluca. My goal is to destigmatise mental health challenges for mums and support people who have been through PND. It’s a business that I am so proud of and is also a way that I can give back to everyone who helped me. At By Kat Deluca, I have partnered with PANDA (Perinatal Anxiety & Depression Australia). $1 from every sale goes to PANDA to help new and expecting parents!
My brand ethos is based on spreading positive vibes to everyone. No matter your style, there is something for everyone. In today’s society, it is so easy to focus on the negative and I hope with By Kat Deluca I can send good energy out into the world.