BACKGROUND: Mothers parenting children with leukemia face innumerable challenges in meeting their own personal needs, as well as the needs of their ill child.
OBJECTIVE: To explore the lived experiences of Omani mothers who are parenting children with leukemia, using interpretative phenomenological analysis design.
METHODS: Data were collected from 10 mothers who were parenting children with leukemia who shared their experiences through a face-to-face recorded interview. Data were analyzed using the interpretative phenomenological analysis approach methods.
RESULTS: Three main themes emerged from the mothers' experiences: (1) unexpected shocking diagnosis; (2) life is not the same anymore; and (3) viable support systems. Mothers found their child's diagnosis to be shocking and terrifying. The diagnosis and treatment cast a shadow on the mothers' lives. Mothers abandoned their work and left their healthy children to their spouses. Mothers relied on other mothers also parenting children with cancer and on the support of the extended family and health team members to cope and prayed to God to help them overcome the calamity.
CONCLUSION: The mothers perceived their life as changing immediately upon hearing their child's cancer diagnosis as they experienced a plethora of emotions. They sought support at various points during their child's illness to cope and overcome the challenges during the cancer treatment journey.
IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE: Pediatric oncology nurses can support mothers during their transition to caring for a child with leukemia and can provide the needed support to reduce maternal distress and increase effective coping with the challenges.