The purpose of this study was to understand women's experiences in an early discharge programme Using grounded theory, the investigator collected, coded, compared and contrasted data gathered in unstructured interviews with eight women The women managed their early discharge experience, first, by taking control of their antenatal and intrapartal care once they were accepted into the programme and, later, by taking control of their postpartum recovery and their infants’ care Taking control was influenced by the women's beliefs about family and home, their personalities, e g their ability to accept help, and their available support Their beliefs, personalities and available support were central to their motivation to participate in the early discharge programme and to their perception of a successful experience The women used a number of strategies to take control These strategies emerged during organizing antepartal requirements, meeting their own expectations during labour and birth, and learning to trust their abilities to manage self-care and parenting postpartum The women anticipated their increased family involvement, family integration and participation in decision-making They did not, however, anticipate their increased feelings of confidence and competence Taking control has implications for health professionals who are working with childbearing women experiencing early discharge