Experiences of the maternal role and support in mothers with cognitive limitations who have children in placement

Gunnel Janeslätt, Karin Jöreskog, Helena Lindstedt, Päivi Adolfsson - Child & Family Social Work


In Sweden, when needed, children of mothers with cognitive limitations are placed in foster homes. There is a lack of knowledge about the mothers with cognitive limitations, their experiences of their maternal role, whether they get the support needed to maintain the relationship with their children, and whether the support system is adapted to mothers with cognitive limitations. The aim was to describe the experiences of the maternal role and support given in mothers with cognitive limitations who have children in placement. An explorative and qualitative design was used. Eleven respondents were interviewed with support from a study‐specific guide. A model representing the respondents' experiences revealed one theme “Struggling, dependent and frustrated mothers,” and three categories: I am a mother, I am dependent on an incomprehensible system, and I reluctantly accept my situation. Mothers with children in placement experience a threat to their identity and experience a need to alter their maternal role. They need adapted support to understand the decisions made and facilitate the cooperation with child protection services and the foster home. Offering service adapted to their cognitive limitations could be helpful for the struggling, dependent, and frustrated mothers.