The term catch-up forms part of discourses that surround discussions about the development of children born prematurely. However, it is a critically unchallenged term. Doctoral research explored maternal expectations that have arisen from the adoption of the term catch-up when used in relation to the development of children born prematurely. Messages about ‘catch-up’ were captured from two discussion boards and two email groups that support families with children born prematurely and from 17 mothers living in the South West of England. Two major themes were identified as underpinning the discussions. The first theme was that of paradoxical hope where the hope offered by catch-up underpinned mothers' discussions around catch-up, irrespective of whether they regarded hope as aspirational or as false hope. The second theme was drawn from mothers who challenged the discourse of catch-up demonstrating a different way of thinking about their children's development
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