Did I Cause My Child’s Speech Delay? : Battling Mom Guilt

Did I cause my child’s speech delay? If you’ve asked yourself this question, then you’re not alone. If you have a toddler experiencing delays in speech, you have likely battled mom guilt thinking it’s your fault.

I recently wrote this post about my son, Spear, and his speech delay and my struggles, emotions and concerns with it.

Can I tell you a secret?

I’ve held onto this hope that his language delay was caused by some outside factor.

Maybe it’s his lip tie.

Get the lip tie released and surely he’ll start talking without any speech delays right?

We did all of that and no, it didn’t make a significant change in his speech development.

So I moved onto holding onto this hope that maybe it’s something else at play.

Maybe it’s fluid in his ears. Maybe it’s his adenoids or something. He does always have drainage, maybe his language problems are allergy related.

My child’s speech delay has gotta be caused by something, right?

did i cause my child's speech delay battling mom guilt toddler speech delay

Did I Cause My Child’s Speech Delay?

This last week I took Spear to an ENT appointment and I’ve been ANXIOUSLY awaiting this visit.

I felt so confident going in that this would be IT.

Even his speech therapist agreed she thought we may find something at the ENT to be the cause of the delayed speech.

That they’d check his ears and they’d say “oh he has so much fluid, he needs tubes” and then he’d get the tubes and start talking.

Or they’d say “yes his tongue is having a bit of a struggle and it looks like he needs those adenoids out” We’d do the procedure and then he’d be talking up a storm.

Instead I got the answer that most of us mamas WANT to hear most of the time.

He’s a perfectly healthy 21 month old.

No fluid. No swollen glands or hearing loss or adenoid issues or tonsil struggles.

No tongue tie. No nothing.

(Including no autism worries which was something we’d already ruled out)

Just a healthy toddler who isn’t quite talking yet.

And I know it’s a small thing on the big scale of life.

That language delays are extremely common.

That it’s common to have receptive language but struggle with the expressive language skills.

That he’s not even a two year old yet and we’ve only been just starting to work with a language patholgist this month.

I believe in just a few months time that the speech therapy WILL show results and that he will start saying more words and start having verbal communication with me.

That very likely he will live the majority of his life without speech problems.

But if his delayed speech isn’t caused from a lip tie? Isn’t caused from a tongue issue or ear issue?

If there is no physical REASON that he is delayed in language development…

Then that means it’s my fault.

I didn’t read to him enough. I didn’t talk directly to him enough.

I didn’t give him enough of my undivided attention.

I failed. I fell short. I messed up.

Me. My fault. My burden to carry.

And yes, I know that it sounds silly. Of course it’s not MY FAULT.

But that’s how it FEELS.

When you’re a mom and you love your kids with so much passion you want to know you have done everything in your power to give them the very best and when they struggle you question how YOU could have made it better for them or somehow prevented the obstacle they are facing.

Battling Mom Guilt With a Child’s Speech Delay

My days are busy. Spear is my fourth child.

So no, I haven’t read to him as much as the older kids.

No, he rarely gets quality time with JUST me and when he does it’s often time that I’m cooking dinner or doing laundry or something else parents have to do when you manage a home with six people.

I’m his mom. And my job as his mom is to give him my very best and my eyes fill with tears and my heart hurts so much thinking about that because as all moms know when you have more than one child – it’s physically, emotionally and LITERALLY impossible to give each of them your 100% BEST at ALL TIMES.

You just can’t do it. And the more kids you have, the more that 100% self has to be divided.

It’s a “tell me about your day” to one kid while signing the other kids folder and giving another kid a snack at the same time kinda life.

It’s beautiful and messy and BUSY and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

But it means that priorities have to come into play and you simply cannot be everything to everyone all of the time.

So it’s a constant battle of feeling like you’re good enough. Doing enough. There enough.

That your kids feel seen enough. Heard enough. Feel loved enough.

It’s a constant battle of guilt.

Guilt. Guilt. Guilt. Four times over, and five if you count the fact that it’s also impossible to be the 100% best wife to your husband when you feel like you’re drained from trying to be the 100% best self to four children all the time.

Recognizing Where the Guilt Comes From (And What to Do About It)

This guilt comes from a place of love. But also a place of control.

I want to fix this. I want a solution. I want a plan of action with a guarantee positive end result.

I want to control it. Solve it. Wrap it in a nice bow and BE DONE WITH IT.

I want. I want. I want.

But that’s not how life works. And that’s not how faith works either.

Sure, I can give it to God when it’s about ME. When it’s about family who has hurt me or friends who let me down. I can trust Him then.

But giving it to God when it’s about my babies? Sitting back and just trusting Him to handle it?

That’s tough.

I know so many kids are speech delayed and do have that sudden moment where they just start talking. And maybe Spear is that kid. Maybe that will be our story.


Faith is in the wait. It’s in the prayer. It’s in the lack of control.

Faith is when I do all I can do and give my very best and then LET GOD LEAD and LET HIM handle the rest.

Sometimes we know what we need to do but actually being able to do it is an entirely different thing.

It’s easy to sing “Jesus take the wheel” but a lot harder to actually let go of that death grip we’ve got on it.

I don’t know what the future may hold. Faith comes in trusting that God has a plan and a purpose in all things.

Through this I will be blessed. And most importantly, through this Spear will be blessed too.

did i cause my child's speech delay battling mom guilt toddler speech delay

Final Thoughts

We all see seasons of “THIS.” This hurdle. This struggle. This period of time where it feels overwhelming or helpless or hopeless.

Maybe our THIS is more minor, maybe our THIS is more major.

But in all of our times where we just want to rush the THIS and have it be a THAT, those times are the hard ones to see the blessings.

They are there though. Among the tears and fears and struggles to let go and let God.

Already while in this season I’ve seen blessings.

This has forced me to really SIT and FOCUS just on Spear.

This has strengthened our bond.

This has gotten him involved in a preschool setting that is AMAZING.

This has guided him to a teacher who understands his journey to our family because she was herself adopted AND adopted a baby too.

This has lead me to meet new people, learn from other mamas, and hopefully bless others too in their walks on this similar path.

This will be used in someway to better Spear’s future and this will somehow be used to glorify Him.

So yes, I feel guilt and worry that maybe my child’s speech delay is my fault.

But the reality is we can worry and feel that way with just about anything in life.

We can’t live in a constant state of guilt.

I know I have my shortcomings in motherhood, but I also lay my head down at night knowing with confidence that my children feel loved.

I love them. So, so much. And they know it.

And ya know what? That’s enough.

UPDATE: We went through speech therapy services with our son and saw HUGE improvements. You can read all the tips we’ve learned from speech therapy and the major leaps we saw with our son with just 6 months of speech services here!


  1. Courtney
    September 9, 2019 / 1:23 pm

    I love that you’re sharing this. The mom guilt is so hard and so unnecessary, and I can say that to other moms with 100% sincerity. But for me? I am so hard on myself. Basically anything that goes wrong with my kids, I blame me. I’m SURE Spear’s speech delay Ian NOT your fault. But I get the emotions. 2 of my 3 kids are in speech therapy for articulation issues, and the 3rd child will be tested next month. Boy, have I felt the guilt. I read to my kids, etc, but it’s so easy to feel like I’ve caused this. Praying for us both to feel peace and comfort in knowing we’re doing the best we can. ❤️

    • September 9, 2019 / 7:38 pm

      EXACTLY. I have grace with EVERYONE except myself! We are our own worst critics. Prayers for you too friend in this season 🙂

  2. Gigi
    September 9, 2019 / 2:11 pm

    Oh my!!!iI enjoyed reading this so very much. I even have guilt with my grown sons. Dud I make them that way? Did what happened in my life, have anything to do with how they react to things now? They are different as night and day. One a saver, one a spendthrift. One olve skinned and one very fair. Same parents, same values,yet they are vastly different personality wise, adult years wise, chidren wise, wife wise, just vastly different but brothers!!! I am saying each child has their own personality and no matter how they are reared, you, the Mom still feel as though she is the one at fault. I pray several times during the day for God to release me from those feelings and to bring my boys back together. I get you, I inderstand!!

    • September 9, 2019 / 7:39 pm

      So interesting to know that the “mom guilt” never truly leaves us!

  3. G Henion
    September 15, 2020 / 1:10 pm

    This is exactly what I needed to hear today! I only have 1 son, and he is almost 2.5 and is hardly talking. His receptive language is amazing, but everything else not so much. We are going to speech as well, but that mom guilt always eats at you and you blame yourself for it. I’m so glad that I found this article! Thank you!!

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