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  1. Bright, Katherine Stuart MN, BSc, RN
  2. Mannion, Cynthia PhD, RN
  3. White, Deborah PhD
  4. Raffin Bouchal, Shelley PhD, RN


This qualitative grounded theory pilot study investigated the concerns and coping mechanisms of mothers of very low-birth-weight (VLBW; <1500 g) infants following discharge from the neonatal intensive care unit in Alberta, Canada. In-depth, semistructured, face-to-face, audio-recorded interviews were conducted with women of VLBW infants. Interviews lasting 75 to 90 minutes were transcribed verbatim and coded using grounded theory methodology. Data saturation and theoretical redundancy were achieved in interviews with 6 mothers of VLBW infants. The core variable of "reconstructing normal" emerged from the interview data. Women indicated that mothering a VLBW infant is an unfolding experience that is continuously being revised, creating a new sense of normal. The construct consists of 4 categories; mother-infant relationship, maternal development, maternal caregiving and role-reclaiming strategies, and infant developmental milestones. Findings from this study suggest that women found the transition into motherhood following the birth of a VLBW infant as a multidimensional and dynamic process. Further research is warranted to confirm these results and to further explore mothering issues with VLBW infants.