Being with and for Mother: From Perceived Difficulties to Rebalancing the Mothering Role in Women with Breast Cancer

Article Type:
Research/Original Article (دارای رتبه معتبر)

Breast cancer is the most common cancer and the 5th leading cause of death in Iranian women. Many of these women are at the age of fertility and have dependent children.


This study aimed to explore the experiences of mothers with breast cancer of the support they receive for playing and rebalancing their mothering role.


This qualitative content analysis study was conducted from 2018 to 2019. Participants were 22 mothers with breast cancer purposively recruited from Shahid Ghazi Tabatabaee Hospital in Tabriz, Iran. Data were collected through semi‑structured interviews and analyzed through a conventional content analysis method.


Participants’ experiences were categorized into three main categories, namely, perceived difficulties, being with and for mother, and rebalancing family functions. The four subcategories of the first category were the physical limitations in performing the mothering role, the psychological burden of the disease, role strain in playing the mothering role, and children’s social difficulties. The second category included five subcategories, namely, assistance with the mothering role, emotional attachment to the mother, provision of family expenses and medical costs, normalization of appearance following cancer‑induced changes, and social support resources. Finally, the third category included two subcategories, namely, the stability of the mother’s roles and promoting a health‑oriented perspective in the family.


Mothers with breast cancer face difficulties in performing their role as mothers. Identifying and providing supportive interventions for them by the health‑care providers not only can be effective in achieving role stability for the mother but also in rebalancing family functions.

Nursing and Midwifery Studies, Volume:10 Issue: 3, Jul -Sep 2021
203 to 211  
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