Background: To be cared for in an intensive care unit (ICU) after a complicated childbirth is often an unplanned and transforming experience, and there is lack of studies describing mothers' experiences of this phenomenon.
Aim: The aim of this study was to describe the experiences of becoming a mother after a complicated delivery and a stay in an ICU.
Methods: Qualitative personal interviews were conducted with eight mothers. The interview texts were subjected to qualitative thematic content analysis.
Findings: The analysis resulted in one theme; wishing to be in control and together as a family, and six categories; being or not being prepared, feeling afraid, not being as ill as the others, knowing about the baby, worrying about the father and having someone to talk to. The findings highlight the need to receive continual information about what is happening, especially with the baby, and the need to be together as a family.
Conclusion and relevance to clinical practice: The mothers need support and encouragement from the staff throughout their hospital stay, and sometimes afterwards. There is a need to receive information, especially about the baby, and to have one's family close by, when in an ICU despite illness severity. How the new family is met by the staff is of great importance.