The lived experience of mothers of multiple children with intellectual disabilities.Qual Health Res 2013; 23(10):1307-19QH
In this study, we explored the lived experience of Japanese mothers who have delivered multiple children with intellectual disabilities (ID), using interpretative phenomenological analysis. We identified three superordinate themes and seven subordinate themes from the narrative data collected from 10 participants. The superordinate themes were: abandoned hope for having an ordinary family, accumulating physical and mental fatigue, and searching for positive experiences in parenting multiple children with disabilities. How they perceived the birth of children with disabilities for the second time differed depending on the disability types; specifically, whether they detected the disabilities early or not. Encountering the disability in another child overwhelmed mothers, especially when the disabilities were diagnosed after several years with or without suspicion; they struggled to accept the fact. Despite mothers facing extreme difficulties in parenting multiple children with disabilities, they tried to alter the negative perceptions and find an optimistic way of living.