I was very desperate for some rationalisation in an effort to find peace with my infertility struggles, that I tried to come up with as many reasons as possible why I was one of those chosen. One of the reasons I came up with was, as a stutterer and the wife of a stutterer as well, God is protecting any children that should have come to us, from becoming victims of this struggle as well. Sounds ridiculous, well, I did say that I was desperate. I must say though, that I had often wondered, should we have children, if any of them would stutter. I started doing my own little research. Well, I thought, I am the fifth child in my family and stuttering has skipped 4 and has landed on me, is it likely then that because we only have two children, chances are they won’t stutter. I was proud of myself for coming up with this theory and so without further ado, I laid the issue to rest, taking comfort in the fact that our children might not stutter after all.
When our son began showing signs of stuttering at age 3, I was a bit scared but was comforted a little later, after consultation with Dr. Google, where it was confirmed that because children usually begin talking at about that age, they tend to stutter as they begin to construct sentences and say words that are new to them. It went away and I was relieved. Wow I thought, our son might not be a stutterer after all, and I was happy to again take comfort in this.
Well, a couple of days ago, he began stuttering again. This time it sounds so much like genuine stuttering,( I should know, right). He stutters on the first words of his sentences and so ever since, I am known as ‘Mmmmommy’ and the word but can’t be happy to learn that it is now known as ‘bbbutt.’ My first reaction was, Oh my God, our son is really stuttering. Soon after came immense guilt and the feeling that our baby is broken and we are the cause of it (well, mostly me, as my stuttering is hereditary, being the child of a father who also stutters).
After another, this time urgent consultation with Dr. Google I have found out that even at the age of 4, children still tend to stutter. A condition known as “pseudo-stuttering” or “normal disfluency” as they are still learning to speak. A weight came off my shoulder, even though I have also found out that if one or both parents of a child stutter, it is very likely that they will stutter as well, so one could say that this information is bitter sweet. They have recommended that we observe him for six months and see what happens and if this trend continues until after the age of 5, then it is very likely that his stuttering will gradually increase and he becomes a stutterer. Consider a family of stutterers, will our neighbours think we are nuts? I cannot say though, how patient I will be with anyone who ridicules my son, having been victim of this myself and know the hurt damage this can cause to one’s already shattered self esteem.
It is very tempting to continue to wallow in guilt, but my resilient self has since stepped in and has been challenging me. Am I not the best person to help our son cope with the challenges of stuttering, should he become one. Haven’t I been dealing with my stuttering struggles from childhood and therefore possess a lot of experience and some degree of knowledge (including formal therapy) that could definitely come in handy, if he will need all this help, because it is largely known that men handles stuttering a little better than women. I have also come to know a lot more about stuttering and have since become involved in stuttering support groups. What a great team we would make. Our son won’t be broken or flawed at all, he would just be unique, being included in the company of a lot of influential people who stutters. Among them are, The Vice President of the United States, Joe Biden, actor, James Earle Jones, King George VI, famous inventor Isaac Newton, among many others.
Last school year, when our son was accepted to the school he now attends, the principal asked that new parents meet with her. When we were asked to introduced ourselves, as my turn came,, the principal asked why was I not sitting next to my husband, as a light moment. Turns out I was sitting beside a male parent who stutters. I guess this was meant to be a moment of note for me, I was drawn to him for the mere fact that while I was there trying not to say much in an effort to conceal my stutter, he had no reservations in talking and being himself at all, and he seem to stutter more than I do, I might add. He was also quite distinguishly dressed which tells me that he probably holds a position of authority in his job. He has been in my thoughts for the past couple of days, as I continue to process and make peace with the fact that our son might be a stutterer.
You might notice that I did not mention my husband being involved much in any of this and the reason is, he does not seem to struggle with his stuttering at all. He is quite comfortable in his own skin, and this just confirms what I said earlier about men coping a lot better with stuttering than women do. If I had to choose then, I would choose for our son to stutter over our baby girl.
So then, what do my life struggles continue to say to me? One thing they could be saying is, “We know you have often argued with God about allowing you to be the recipient of certain struggles in your life, well, you should know by now that God’s purpose is for you to use your experience and resources from these struggles to help others.
If I did not know my purpose in life up to this point, I cannot say I don’t know now.
God makes no mistakes.