Mothers' experiences of parenting and everyday life of children born at 23 weeks of gestation – a qualitative descriptive study
Background Surviving children born at 23 gestational weeks are a growing population. As many of these children face developmental challenges during childhood and adolescence, more knowledge is needed about the everyday life of this group. The parental perspective is important, as developmental problems often pose a challenge for the parents. The aim of this qualitative study was to explore mothers' experiences of parenting children born at 23 gestational weeks and of the children's everyday
... dren's everyday lives. Methods This was a qualitative descriptive study conducted with mothers of children born at 23 weeks of gestation. These purposively sampled eight mothers were interviewed using a semi-structured interview. Thematic analysis was used to analyse the interviews. Results Seven themes were formed on the basis of the interview data and they are presented in three dimensions: 1) the child seen from maternal perspective included themes 'emphasizing strengths in the midst of challenges', 'relations with peers and siblings', and 'emotional well-being and active life'; 2) the parenting experience included themes 'intensive mothering' and 'gratitude'; 3) the support included themes 'support from the social network' and 'support from society'. Conclusions The mothers described how the lives of their children were active and rich. The mothers were dedicated to motherhood and they also expressed feelings of gratitude. Mothers received support from social networks and from society. This qualitative study provided an important complementary perspective to the discussion on extremely premature children's quality of life. It also highlighted the importance of parental perspectives in assessing neonatal care and its outcomes.