Three beautiful and wonderful kids. When my eldest was diagnosed with a significant speech delay, I was devastated. First time mom, being told your child isn’t perfect is a hard pill to swallow. But we worked through it and he is a “normal” 8 year old boy who has no speech issues at all now. Then came our precious daughter and just like her brother, she has speech issues. Hers are a different type as she has Selective Mutism. She can talk, she just won’t to anyone she does not fully know and trust. It has taken her three years just to get the courage to whisper to her teachers but still no communication with classmates. Then baby number 3! A surprise boy who has completed our family, and guess what? Speech delay, even worse than his brother.
We have no family history of speech issues. My parents can attest to the fact that I never did shut up as a child (and to this day). So WTF?! I can come to terms with one of my three kids having a speech issue but all three having it has made me look for the common factor… and it’s me. I cannot help but think that there must have been something I have done for this to happen. Did I not eat well enough or exercise enough when pregnant? Did I not read to them enough as they developed? Did I let them watch too much TV? My mind goes on and on coming up with things I must have done wrong for all three of my kids to have speech issues.
Doctors have told me to stop blaming myself. Easier said than done. When I take my youngest to play groups that is when it hurts the most. Other kids having full blown conversations with their mom while my son is still only able to call out for me. He is such a smart kid but he just can’t get those words out.
Seeing my eldest overcome it has given me hope that it is just a matter of time before the younger ones do too. It doesn’t get rid of the mom guilt that eats me alive every single day. I cannot help that other must be judging me too, questioning my abilities as a mother. Mom guilt is real, but add developmental delays and it becomes all consuming.
I am so grateful for my kids. Remember, I was told I couldn’t have any and so to consider that two out of my three were not planned, these kids are miracles! I am so thankful for being their mom. I guess the whole point of sharing this is to let other moms know they are not alone. We are bombarded with “perfect family” pictures that if you do not fit that mold then there is something wrong with YOU. Remember that it is a facade and what lies behind it are families going through struggles that they are or are not sharing.
Does that mean I will not question myself or blame myself for their problems?…nope. But it is comforting to know that other moms out there understand my pain and my self doubt and we should stop telling them not to feel that way. We are parents. It comes with the territory. Instead, listen. Show compassion and stop telling them what they should do. Most of the time, people don’t want you to solve their problems. They want to be heard; to know that there are others who can relate and are willing to listen to them. I am one of them.