Make Room For The Stuttering

Stuttering Is Not Fair – Episode 46

Posted on: February 18, 2011

Episode 46 features Kay, who hails from West Africa. Kay is a lawyer currently working as counsel for a litigation firm. Kay spent many of her childhood years in France. French is her mother tongue.

We spoke with each other via Skype in early February, when Kay was in the US at the University of Minnesota. As of the posting of this episode, she is now back in West Africa.

We first met on the Covert-s email support group, where Kay was posting a lot and asking questions. I took a chance and emailed her off list. We got to know each other a bit and Kay quickly agreed to share her story to help others.

Kay shares some very personal glimpses into her life, including the effects of some early abuse. She also shares how she chose to become a lawyer, and how very hard it was for her due to her stuttering. She had grave doubts about her abilities to appear competent as a lawyer and worried how her father, an esteemed public figure and lawyer in West Africa, would perceive her.

Kay is gut-wrenchingly honest about disappointing her father and buckling under the pressure of the legal profession and communicating in courts and trials.

We discuss not only covert stuttering, but also the notion of the need to be covert for professional reasons, for self-preservation and protection. We also discuss how Kay never talked about stuttering with anyone until 6 months ago when she entered into some therapy here in the US.

She was always concerned with making her parents, friends and colleagues comfortable around her, and she tried hard to not have to subject them to listening to her stutter. She never let on how anxious and fearful she was, always putting other people’s comfort ahead of her own needs.

This was a powerful conversation. There is some background noise I was unable to remove, but the content of Kay story far outweighs any editing issues. Feel free to leave comments for Kay or just simply let her know how much you appreciated hearing her story. Credit for the podcast safe music used in this episode goes to DanoSongs.

5 Responses to "Stuttering Is Not Fair – Episode 46"

Hi–I just found this blog, and am happy I have. (I also have a blog, but stuttering is not its central theme.) I haven’t read all the postings and topics as yet, but shall. I have stuttered since age 5, so for 51 years. It is so much a part of me–I wouldn’t change my grey curly hair or crooked smile either. I was told I would never be a teacher by “professional” college professors (which I am) or be on the radio (which I have) or give speeches, etc…you get the picture. The mainstream public is very much uneducated about stuttering and stutterers…I don’t usually refer to me as being a stutterer because I would then have to include all the other “things” I am: white, female, happy, athletic, funny, a mother of four sons, runner, etc…

So, I just let my words, literally, speak for me–ha!!!! And, i straighten folks out who seem to think they know what I am trying to say…

Thanks for the blogs, the topics, the comments–I’ll keep reading, and stuttering–YAHOO!!!!!!!!!!!!

Lori, Thanks for stopping by, commenting and sharing. Its always nice to hear of other women who stutter who are out there, leading thier lives, doing their thing and doing it well, it sounds. I have been on a journey – as I have not laways been ok with my stuttering, which has been with me since 5 and now I am 40-something.
I was covert for so long, due to childhood shame and ridicule and all that fun stuff. But since finding my voice, I decided to write about it, how it all makes sense and how sometimes it does not at all. So this is really my public diary.
And I started the women’s podcast because we have a unique distinctive voice that needs to be heard.
I look forward to hearing from you – hope you visit and comment often. ~Pam

Pam, I haven’t listen to the podcast yet, but these words struck a cord immediately “she tried hard to not have to subject them to listening to her stutter. She never let on how anxious and fearful she was, always putting other people’s comfort ahead of her own needs.” Yes, yes, this what i was doing too. One reason my husband doesn’t comment much about my stuttering and current improvement is because I never showed how much I was upset about it and how panicky I was when I had to speak. I still haven’t relealed this dark secret by the way:) It is amazing how women who live so far away and are so different, share so many common things about stuttering. I will comment more after listening to the podcast itself. I think this protectiveness toward our family and loved ones is a unique female feature. This why it may be especially hard to be a female who stutters.


What a great interview!! Thank you Pam for your willingness to do these interviews and Kafoui what a great job!! I was wondering how I can contact the covert email support groups?

Hi Jen, thanks for reading and the comments and welcome. There are many great stories on here, many which highlight the covert struggle. You can find and join the covert group by going to this URL: You will have to join, and you will be asked a few simple questions and then approved by the moderator, Cathy. It is a great community, of both covert stutterers and speech professionals who seek to learn more. Lots of people post and share experiences with each other, and ask for advice. It is a very supportive group. I do hope you joing, and contine checking in here as well.
If you are a woman who stutters, it is very empowering to hear other women who stutter. It makes us feel less alone, since women are in the minority.

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© Pamela A Mertz and Make Room For The Stuttering, 2009 - 2022. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Pamela A Mertz and Make Room For The Stuttering with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. Same protection applies to the podcasts linked to this blog, "Women Who Stutter: Our Stories" and "He Stutters: She Asks Him." Please give credit to owner/author Pamela A Mertz 2022.
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