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What it feels like for a woman to stutter

Episode #81

Continuing from episode 80’s Big UK stammering meet up, I’m back on Skype chatting with Pam and her friend Sheila. These two online friends recently met in person for the first time. Shiela also wrote an interesting guest post on Pam’s blog describing a few aspects of what it feels like for a woman to stutter. We chat about PMS/PMT’s effects on female stutterers, the feeling of being a mother of a stuttering child and the differences in perspectives on stuttering between men and women. As I did for Pam and her friends in episode 80, I also ask Sheila what went through her mind when meeting Pam, Tone and Lisa for the first time.

Further reading: A Silent Minority by Julia Ammon and a few blog posts by Pam; “You Have An Unusual Stutter” and Breathe In, Breathe Out.

Music used on this episode: Aren’t Women Grand by Sophie Tucker

Published in Podcast archive SLP stuttering


  1. lisa webster lisa webster

    Wow a fantastic episode, covering what we feel as women that stutter.
    I would like to add and in response to that text you got about women being shy and coy.
    I am definately a shy person and my speech is responsible for that ,but I would not choose this .
    As a mother and now on my own ,I have to make all decisions for my childen ,including making appointments ,seeing school teachers ,speaking to other parents etc.
    All this is a big deal for me every day and so men generally do have it a lot easier regarding these issues .
    Also now I’m single ,this is a big issue, as stuttering is not the most attractive quality in a women to have.
    But a huge thanks to Shelia and Pam ,you’re both so fab doing this show, oneday I will have your confidence ,then you won’t shut me up lol.
    cheers Danni

  2. Danny Danny

    You make a great point, however, I doubt it’s any easier for single parent men. I think what the submitted text is saying that society accepts shyness/coyness in women while men are expected to be the opposite.

  3. lisa webster lisa webster

    Sorry if I offended any single parent men ,I didn’t mean to .
    I know its tough for men and women

  4. Sheila Sheila

    Lisa I know we are all different but remember if you are uncomfortable with your stutter your listener will be too! Stutter using good eye contact with your listener and your listener will be intrigued – trust me ; ) xx

  5. Pam Pam

    I think its incredibly powerful whenever ANY people who stutter do so publicly, like in this forum. Other people get to heat it, and realize that it is OK.
    I think its best when we talk about stutter that we actually stutter freely. Tools are fine, but sometimes just plain old open stuttering helps someone listening, and we won’t usually know who that even is. Thanks Danny for making this possible.

  6. Astrid Hetland Bjerga Astrid Hetland Bjerga

    I’m a female stutterer from Norway. Lucky to me – today I have contact with a Norwegian man, who is both stutterer and psychologist. We have been talking a lot about that stutterers do not have more in common than stuttering itself.
    I very much agree with Sheila – it’s much about which way we are raised up and personality among women too.
    I was not offered any speech therapy in childhood/teenage. When I was 11 years old my family moved from western coast of Norway to nearby Oslo in eastern part. My new school did not ask nor me, nor me parents neither the school I came from. A couple of teachers at my new brought me to teacher’s room for a reading test – they put a book in my lap and told me to read loudly (which I had done since I age 6). I remember I turned angry to these teachers (I came a school where I was treated like all the others, no questions, no test), and I told them what I ment and promised myself to show the very school.
    I have always been talk active, tall, slim and strooong (all girls are not shy and cute) and I always dared to (and still do) tell people when they break off my talking, complete my sentence or hurted me someway. I never did and still not accept that people who do not stutter themselves are telling how to deal with my stuttering and I do not like compassion, which can make do something on my behalf without asking me first (got bad experiences).
    I left home at age 16, and the point of promising to accept the whole me (stuttering just a detail) and my self-confidence very fine grew up, and I feel very fine today – I speak in front of many people, talking much on telephone – ya, talkactive in all kind of context, and of course I feel pretty proud of dealing with my stutteriing on my very own.
    I still got bad days coming out of the blue, and they make me some emotionally exhausted, but I put all focus on coming day, which always is best hope 🙂
    It’s so really true, Sheila – “we are all different but remember if you are uncomfortable with your stutter your listener will be too!”
    Best regards from Norway :))

  7. I am a speech pathologist in the US who is a person who stutters. I specialize in stuttering therapy for children and adults. I loved your episode on PMS. It is so difficult around this time of the month. The tension in my larynx increases tremendously. The excess anxiety doesn’t help and it affects my fluency. tks for talking about this. I am glad Pam Mertz told me about this podcast.

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