Before I became a mother, I had this perfect little ideal of my children.
My children will be so easy, well-behaved, mellow. They’d listen to me when I asked them to do something. They’d clean up after themselves, they’d sleep like little angels every night. Of course, there’s always this bring-you-back-to-reality kind of moment and I hit that quickly. But I’ve also had these other dream shattering moments. My daughter, now 3, is speech delayed and with the challenges that is having a developmentally delayed child, one thing I keep aching for is to hear “I love you” from her cute, tiny, perfect voice.
Motherhood is challenging on any given day but having a child with a developmental delay brings new and different challenges some of which are dealing with judgment and misunderstanding from those around.
There are many things my daughter is and there are many that she is not. There are many different realities of parenting my daughter with a speech delay.
My daughter is not stupid.
I’m tired of this insistence that because my daughter doesn’t talk that she doesn’t understand. She understands perfectly well, especially when people are talking about her.
I’m tired of hearing about other’s journeys specific milestones, or advice on milestones like potty training. I hear a lot “When …. was little we just put her in panties and made it a big deal and she got it fast, she was potty trained way before 3.” I’m so happy for you. It’s wonderful that your child was easy to potty train.
My daughter is not a “typical” child.
“You should use sign language.” Well yes, I know this, I’ve heard this, and I’ve tried this, and still do try, however, my daughter resists. She will not sign. I still try.
I hate every time I see emails, Facebook posts, bragging posts about others and their children’s milestones. Your child says such funny things and she is only a month older then my daughter, yet my daughter does not say sentences.
My heartaches every time I hear “maybe you need to….” simply implying I’ve made some mistake, implying that I am at fault some way, shape or form. Believe me, I do blame myself, the thoughts go through my head every time I do the unthinkable and compare her to others.
I hate hearing “soon enough you won’t be able to get her to stop talking.”
Some kids just talk late, I understand that, and then start with full sentences. I actually have a niece who did just this. However, so far, my daughter has not shown signs that there will just be this miracle one day and she’ll speaking up a storm.
The self-blame is strong.
Then there’s the guilt and jealousy. The guilt for wishing my daughter was typically developing, guilt for truly thinking she is not just perfect as she is, guilt for being selfish. I am jealous of other’s with typically developing children. Jealous of parents of three-year-olds that will play imaginary play, that will tell them endless stories. Jealousy of parents that hear “I love you” from their child.
My heart will melt when/if I finally hear my daughter say, “I love you!”