PURPOSE: To explore the experiences of parenting from the mothers of children with severe CHD and to develop a paradigm model of their experiences. METHOD: Grounded theory method guided the data collection and analysis. A sample of 16 mothers of children with severe CHD participated in the study during 2003. The data were collected by semi-structured individual interviews. RESULTS: "Raise with dignity" emerged as the core phenomenon. 'Powerlessness' appeared as central concept. The causal condition on powerlessness was 'living with a bomb in the heart': uncertainty and the context were 'confronting people's eyes', 'developing child's adaptability'. An intervening condition was 'forming a support system' and consequences for coping with powerlessness were 'overcome' or 'ambivalence' using mother's positive personality as strategies, care role perception, accepting, acknowledgement, and managing body and mind. CONCLUSIONS: From the results of this study, it can be seen that mothers of children with severe CHD continue to struggle with life during their children's growth and repeated attacks. They need to be provided with skills to cope with physical and mental problems of raising children. They also need nursing care to give them needed strength and provide them expert information for the entire period of the child's growth.