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Table 5 Themes of resources including illustrative quotes

From: When a mother has cancer: strains and resources of affected families from the mother’s and father’s perspective - a qualitative study

Themes Quotesa
External resources (Mothers’ and fathers’ perspective)
 Support network (e.g. friends, peers, school) “Your sister comes when she is needed, your brother, your father, and your mom is always there. I have to say, it was really nice to be able to say that we became close again. All of a sudden you get a lot of support.” (Mother of two sons)
 Competent medical staff “And, of course, it is very helpful to have a doctor you can trust and who you can see eye to eye with.” (Single mother of one son)
 Flexible working hours “Once he [husband] told his employer, he was given permission to leave anytime to support me. And he would just leave when he needed to.” (Mother of two sons)
 Financial security “I’m always lucky to say that we are financially secure and that I, that we did not require any support during that time.” (Mother of one daughter)
 Children’s books or broschures “I have this children’s book, […]. When I first read it I thought ‘what a horrible book, you can’t give this to a child.’ But then I said ‘okay, I will give it to her.’ She was so thrilled and wanted to have it read to her all the time. And it presented an opportunity to touch the subject. It was really great.” (Mother of one daughter)
Family resources (Mothers’ and fathers’ perspective)
 Family time “We did this trip together as a family. The weather was so warm and nice and we simply went to the beach, to this park by the beach. The children went into the water even though it was cold. It was so beautiful, and it still gives me comfort.” (Mother of two children)
 Children themselves “He is such a cause for joy and brings a feeling of normalcy to my everyday life. And laughter, you just don’t sit stupidly on your couch and think about an uncertain future but instead build things with toy blocks. That adds to the fun, too. And he is just so precious.” (Single mother of one son)
 Open communication “Because we are so open and everyone, including grandma, grandpa, teachers, and the neighbors know, you feel support from all directions.” (Mother of two children)
 Maintaining daily life “Of course we try to not allow the illness to manage our life […] and, as far as possible, to continue to lead a normal one […]. We get up and have breakfast together […] the way it was when we both worked. One of us continues to drop her off and the other one picks her up. We try to maintain our regular routine. At night we generally let our daughter decide who tucks her in.” (Father of one daughter)
 Emotional support from partner and family/strong relationship “My husband is really great. I am so lucky. He is always on my side and is supportive.” (Mother of one son)
 Family cohesion “It is great to be able to rely on each other and to master a situation like this one in your marriage. Even though you know there were some bad times you also know that you could count on each other if push comes to shove. You can say that it created an even stronger bond, than just living day to day.” (Mother of two children)
 Flexible role division “He has always been a great dad. When I had a hard time, well, we just complete each other. When I get home and see that he is in a tizzy I just grab the children and take them to the park or somewhere. And he does the same. When he noticed that it was starting again he would just leave me be and grab the children and do something with them.” (Mother of two sons)
Intrapersonal resources (Mothers’ and fathers’ perspective)
 Time for oneself “And now, after the children are dropped off at daycare, I can really appreciate being able to go downtown in the morning, at my own pace and just to look around. This was not really possible before.” (Mother of two children)
 Small aims for the future “I think about the future, my career. I was already diagnosed with cancer when I took the exam, the final exam. Now I just have to write a dissertation at home. So I think that things will go on, which is rather motivating.” (Mother of one son)
 Self-efficacy “She [the doctor] told me that while medicine is doing its part the rest is up to me and how I set my mind to it. That was very comforting since I am a thinker. I had the feeling that I was able to do something myself.” (Single mother of two children)
 Optimism/Positive attitude “As a matter of fact, just because I believe that it will turn out well.” (Father of two children)
 Spirituality “The right thoughts, faith plays a major role.” (Mother of one daughter)
  1. aoriginal transcripts in German, quotes have been translated