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Kate Elliott: From blue to baby bliss

All of The Cult actress' unhappiness evaporated when she held her perfect little girl in her arms for the first time.
Kate Elliott

As Kate Elliott crawls around on the floor beside her 10-month old daughter Dee Dee, a tiny version of the gorgeous elfin actress, her difficult pregnancy is now a distant memory. “I had a really hard time with it,” she says candidly of the tough months she endured while carrying her daughter.

“I got terrible prenatal depression. At first I felt guilty because when I told people I was expecting, they were like, ‘oh, that’s so wonderful. Congratulations!’ But inside I was thinking, ‘This is really hard!'” Star of TV2 series The Cult, Kate (27) is married to Kiwi rock band Pluto’s frontman Milan Borich. She admits she’s always been sensitive to hormone fluctuations so she knew that these were responsible for her black moods rather than concerns about becoming a mum. “I also put on 30kg during the pregnancy,” she adds, “and I found that really difficult. Being an actress, I work out, I look after my body and I watch what I eat, but suddenly everything was changing. It was like a roller coaster that I didn’t have any control over.”

Like most new mums, Kate, who starred in The Insider’s Guide to Love and Kiwi films Fracture and The Locals, also felt completely daunted about giving birth and managed to terrify herself by reading lots of books full of frightening scenarios. When she found out that Dee Dee was lying sideways in the womb – known as a transverse lie – and her obstetrician advised she have a caesarean, Kate wondered if she’d somehow willed her unborn baby into that position. Finally, all of Kate’s unhappiness evaporated when she held her perfect little girl in her arms for the first time.

“After the way I’d been feeling I think my expectations had become really low,” she jokes. “Then I was blessed with this dream baby. She would sleep a lot and just wake up to feed. Then she’d fall straight back to sleep. I could take her anywhere.” Kate also quickly lost the extra weight she’d gained through breastfeeding and, the diminutive star believes, just being “ridiculously lucky”.

Suddenly she found she couldn’t bear to be parted from her little one, even for a moment. “My mum told me I was being neurotic because for the first few weeks, I didn’t even want to be in a different room from her,” says Kate. “I thought, ‘Am I going to be like this forever?'” When Dee Dee was five months old, Kate began filming The Cult and describes having to be separated from her daughter as like “having a limb removed”.

“They say that babies don’t know they’re separate from their mothers until they’re about six months and, as a mother, I felt exactly the same way. During that time, Milan and my parents would take turns bringing her in during my lunchtimes so I could feed her.”

It also meant Milan had a chance to do some all-important bonding with his wee girl. “Milan comes from a big family so he’s always been very family-oriented. Even in his younger, crazy rock ‘n’ roll days he was that way. Actually, he wanted kids much earlier than me.

“He’s completely and utterly in love with Dee Dee. He’s even written her a couple of songs. We’re a very musical household. Milan holds music appreciation sessions in the morning and plays her all the bands he likes. He wants her to play the drums for him one day. She’ll probably break his heart though by wanting to listen to Lady GaGa when she’s older,” laughs Kate.

As for future family plans, Kate hasn’t been deterred by the hard times and definitely wants more kids, though not just yet. For now, the pair are figuring out how they’re going to balance busy careers with being parents. Pluto is about to release a new album and then the family is off to LA in the New Year so Kate can audition for US TV pilots.

“It’s a really hard slog while you’re over there, doing up to 10 auditions a day, but it’s something that I’ve always wanted to do. I wanted to do it before I had Dee Dee but now I’m even more motivated. I don’t want to look back and regret the things I didn’t do and I don’t want Milan to either.

“As hard as it was to leave Dee Dee when I went back to work, being a mum has made me appreciate work even more. It’s also made me more focused about what I want. If it’s going to mean time away from her, then it has to be something worthwhile. I also think it’s made me a better actress. I’m a more compassionate person now that I have Dee Dee.”

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