OBJECTIVE: to discuss the perceptions and experiences of motherhood among Thai immigrant women in Australia. DESIGN: ethnographic interviews and participant observation were used to elicit information. SETTING: Melbourne Metropolitan Area, Victoria, Australia. PARTICIPANTS: 30 Thai women who are now living in Australia. FINDINGS: becoming a mother meant different things to these women. Motherhood had both positive and negative aspects. Women believed that their health became worse as a result of becoming a mother. The contributing causes of their health status were multi-faceted, including their age, the demanding tasks of motherhood, the depletion of their strength and energy from childbirth, and in not following Thai traditional confinement practices. The findings in this paper support previous literature that motherhood has a profound effect on the life of many women. We, however, found that cultural beliefs and practices have an effect on women's perceptions and experience of motherhood. We also found that the 'presence' of the husband when a woman becomes a mother is important. The ethnicity of their husbands also played a significant role in their motherhood role and the ways in which they mothered their children. IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE: understanding the social and cultural environment in which immigrant women try to be a mother is important if we are to provide culturally sensitive assistance and care to women who choose to become a mother in their new homeland.