The purpose of this study was to explore the mothering experiences of children with disabilities. The theory of ambiguous loss was applied to interpret the meanings that mothers give to the process of caregiving and the ways they stay proactive in the midst of challenges. Eleven mothers of children ages 6 to 35 with various disabilities participated in in-depth interviews to talk about their child’s educational history, their family’s routine, and the rewards and challenges of raising a child with disabilities. Findings illustrate that the mothers faced different experiences of ambiguity depending on the visible or invisible nature of their child’s disabilities. However, regardless of the nature of the disabilities, the mothers had learned to live with ambiguity in the face of new and continuous challenges. They did this by redefining their lives through maintaining valued identities as mothers and redefining the meaning of family. Findings also imply that the scope of ambiguous loss needs to be expanded.
- ambiguous loss
- children with disabilities