To explore the meaning of maternal caregiving in the Chinese culture for children newly diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL).
Recurrence of and death associated with ALL remain the main concerns for mothers. Mothers experience guilt and anxiety towards their child’s cancer.
Descriptive phenomenological study.
Twelve mothers were recruited from a medical centre in Central Taiwan. The mothers were primary caregivers for their child diagnosed as having ALL in the past 3 months to 1 year. Data were collected through semi-structured interviews and analysed using Colaizzi’s method.
Four main themes emerged: feeling this world crashing by knowing the diagnosis, feeling the double-edged sword of mothering, worrying about potential risks for their vulnerable child, and passing through difficulties with power of support.
Most mothers felt this world crashing due to potential loss of their child and seeing their child’s suffering. The mother was blamed for her child’s cancer but was also required to shoulder all caregiving for their child. The mothers needed to compromise their lives to protect their child from potential infection. Perceived power of support helped the mothers overcome difficulties.
Findings support that nurses encouraging mothers to tell their stories, regardless of culture, will facilitate healing. Establishing trust and providing support from nurses, physicians, psychologists and social workers will lead mothers’ readiness to deal with care of their sick child. Increasing visiting time for parental support for children hospitalized in the PICU is suggested as well.

Copyright © 2020. Published by Elsevier Inc.