I see you mama, acting like it’s not a big deal. I see you being polite to all the people who question. I see you second guessing yourself. I see you smiling through the hurt. I see you pulling it together when you want to fall apart. I see you, mama. I see you because I am you.
This is the truth about being the mom of a late talker, it’s hard. It’s so, so hard. The emotions, the struggles, the self doubt, the criticism; all raging behind the scenes but always in the forefront of your mind. No matter what, you’re continually trying to push it all aside so no one else sees.
But I see. I see you breaking a little more each time someone tries to diagnose your child. Because you’ve already consulted all the doctors, you let them do the tests, and you know that there isn’t anything wrong with your child. But it still hurts. It stings like a million little bees every single time.
I see you trying to avoid the topic with your friends. You see their kids, their growing, beautiful kids, and in one way only they seem leaps and bounds ahead of your own. And you’re jealous. Sometimes overwhelmingly jealous. And you feel terrible for wanting more for your child.
I see you consulting Dr. Google trying to get some answers, some peace that it’s just a phase. Taking all the time you can to teach them. You’ve joined the support groups, you are your own child’s advocate, you’ve become a self-acclaimed expert on the late talker, but you still can’t seem to make advances, or feel better.
I see you blaming yourself. Maybe if you took more time with them, maybe if they didn’t watch so much t.v. Maybe if you got out more or made some changes to your routine. Maybe you should have consulted someone else. Early intervention may have helped, why didn’t you see it earlier? But it changes nothing.
I see you feeling alone and feeling like no one understands. You don’t understand how to help your child, because they can’t tell you what’s wrong. You don’t know how to help yourself, because you’re too distraught between your emotions and and then feeling bad about them.
I see you trying to be understanding when a stranger talks to your child. I mean, they are just trying to be nice. But it doesn’t help when they don’t get a response, or even worse, they’re met with a babble. And the well known phrase rings in your ears “I have no idea what you’re saying. How old are they?“
I see you, feeling like you’ve abandoned your child when you run out of options, or when you try to explain that it’s ‘just a speech delay’. Look, they’re really smart. They aren’t necessarily behind. They’re just more concerned with other things. They’re advancing in other ways, they will do it when they’re ready.
I see you saying all those things and wondering if you may just be trying to convince yourself of that too. Because right now, a child with a ‘simple’ speech delay, seems like so much more. It seems like the end of the world and you are trying not to crumble from the pressure of not doing enough, not being enough.
You’re afraid of what is to come, or what may never. You’re torn because you want so much more for your child, but feel bad because it’s as if what they are isn’t enough. You’re losing your mind because you are the epitome of a hott mess and you are barely holding it together.
You are not alone because I see you. I am you. I’m the mama of two late talkers, two kids with speech delays, and I’ve been there. I’ve been in every situation you could imagine and it doesn’t get easier the second time around. But speech delay isn’t the end.
Your late talker will bloom, and it may take a little more time, but they will. The struggles you faced will melt away and your anger, your hurt, it will be distant memories. Take heart to that. You aren’t alone, no matter how it seems. You’re doing your best. You’re doing it right.
I see you, you wonderful, amazing, tough mom of a late talker.