“Mission Impossible”; the Mothering of a Child With Type 1 Diabetes – From the Perspective of Mothers Experiencing Burnout


      • Mothering a child with Diabetes type 1 occupies most of the mother’s life and can be interpreted as a mission impossible
      • The mothers feel forced to provide extraordinary mothering due to a strong feeling of responsibility
      • It is a challenge for the mothers to relinquish responsibility
      • The mothers feel a lack of practical support from next of kin, resulting in reduced space for their own recovery
      • The mothers feel being constantly evaluated both by themselves and by the child’s diabetes team



      To explore how mothers experiencing burnout describe their mothering of a child with type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM), with a focus on their experienced need for control and self-esteem.


      This study used a qualitative, descriptive design and aimed to reveal the experience of mothering a child with diabetes when experiencing burnout. Twenty-one mothers of children with T1DM who were experiencing burnout participated in this study. Data were collected via semi-structured interviews, and content analysis was performed.


      The main results (latent content of the data) were interpreted in one theme, Mission impossible, an inner feeling derived from an extremely challenging experience of mothering, encompassing involuntary responsibility and constant evaluation. Two sub-themes emerged: Forced to provide extraordinary mothering and Constant evaluation of the mothering.


      In addition to monitoring the health of the child with T1DM, it is important for clinicians to pay attention to how mothers experience their daily life in order to support those who are at risk of developing burnout, as well as those who are experiencing burnout. The wellbeing of the mother could influence the wellbeing of the child, as well as the entire family. Further research on perceived parental responsibility, gender differences, psychosocial factors, and burnout is needed.

      Practice Implications

      Knowledge and understanding of how mothers suffering from burnout experience mothering a child with diabetes could help nurses, social workers, psychologists and counselors conducting pediatric diabetes care become more attentive to the mother's situation and have procedures for counseling interventions.


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