Being mothers and fathers of a child with type 1 diabetes aged 1 to 7 years: a phenomenological study of parents' experiences
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Purpose: The diagnosis of diabetes in pre-school children poses a number of unique challenges related to everyday responsibility, and the continuous need for supervision and caregiving. This may affect both the child’s and the parents’ perceived burden caused by the condition. The aim of the study was to explore the lived experience of being mothers and fathers of a child with type 1 diabetes aged 1 to 7 years. Methods: The study is rooted in an interpretive phenomenological methodology as described by van Manen. In-depth interviews were carried out to collect data. Findings. We were able to identify one essential theme across the interviews: Striving to live an ordinary family life, yet feeling and living very differently—with interrelated sub-themes: A life-changing situation, Always on guard, and Struggling to let go. Conclusion: Parents described a profoundly changed situation, and they were indeed striving to live like a “normal” family. They were in need of support from health care professionals at the outpatient clinic, not only support and supervision in regard to practical tasks, but also concerning handling a changed life situation and emotional reactions, especially in the first year after diagnosis.