A woman who gave birth to her terminally ill daughter when she was just 14 years old has revealed how her heartache her helped her draw inspiration to create the fashion label of her dreams.

Kate Watts, 39, from Perth, was raped by a much older man known to her family and after she fell pregnant with his child, and he forced her to conceal the pregnancy from her family and friends for the entire nine month term.

"Being 14 years old, I had this ideal that he'd love me and we would live happily ever after, but it wasn't until I started growing up that I realised the impact of what he did to me," Ms Watts told Daily Mail Australia.

Ms Watts gave birth to her daughter Ashley in 1991 and at just four weeks old she was diagnosed with an extremely rare brain condition that left her with part of her brain missing.


The debilitating condition meant the little girl never spoke or walked and died when she was just 18.

As a pregnant teenager at school Ms Watts would hide her pregnancy from other students by pinning a row of safety pins to her pants around her belly.

She developed severe pre-eclampsia - leaving her with high blood pressure and meaning she did not gain a large amount of weight so her pregnancy was easier to keep a secret.

Her mother believed she had diabetes as she would crave blocks of ice and would try and take her to the doctor.

Kate Watts with her terminally ill daughter Ashley. She gave birth to her when she was 14. Photo / Kate Watts
Kate Watts with her terminally ill daughter Ashley. She gave birth to her when she was 14. Photo / Kate Watts

"I would have to chuck the usual teenage hissy fit and run out," Ms Watts said.

She started going into labour in her bedroom after her parents went for dinner at their friend's house, and she managed to reach the final stages without assistance.

She stuffed her teddy bear toys under the covers to give her parents the impression she was tucked away in bed, and the terrified 14-year-old made her way to hospital. It didn't take long for her parents to realise she was missing.

"I hate to think about how horrific that would have been for my father to pull back the covers and see I was gone," she said.

After rushing to the hospital, doctors told Ms Watts' parents their daughter's blood pressure was four times the amount it should be and prepared them for the worst. "I should have already been dead," Ms Watts said.

After baby Ashley was born, she would constantly cry and it was not until all her hair fell out overnight that the family realised something was gravely wrong.

"She was completely bald as the circumference of her hair had grown so big. I didn't get the first smile until she was one, but from then she laughed and laughed."

Ashley went completely blind at four years old and after progressively "going backwards" for the next few years, passed away in 2008. Just before Ashley passed away, Ms Watts met the love her life Paul.

"He was a key figure in Ashley's life and carried her coffin at the funeral," she said.

Ms Watts had always been interested in fashion, and once she felt ready to try to break into the industry she decided to found a label and dedicate it to her daughter, naming it Only One Ashley.

"It was really hard at first to approve the branding and sometimes when people would spell her name wrong, I'd be really upset," she said.

But Ms Watts said she is so glad she decided to stick with it.

The label was launched in January of this year and Ms Watts' stunning designs were showcased to a sold out crowd.

Although the label is in its first stages, Ms Watts has had the pleasure of dressing many celebrities, including the wife of rugby union legend Matt Giteau.

Bianca Giteau, who is friends with British equestrian and the second-eldest grandchild of Queen Elizabeth II Zara Phillips, contacted Ms Watt's to say she was meeting the Queen at the Royal Ascot and believed one of her dresses would be perfect for the occasion.

"It was a very nervous wait to get the dress [to England] for her, but she sent me a picture once it arrived and said it was perfect," Ms Watts said.

- Daily Mail