Birgitta shared something interesting with me the other day. She’s nearly 18 weeks pregnant, and like most moms-to-be, she’s carefully watching what she eats, drinks, and does. Though she hasn’t met her child, she’s already well into motherhood. This is one of God’s mysteries, and I’m enjoying watching it unfold.
The interesting thing she shared was, “I knew I’d have a relationship with my baby even while I was pregnant, but I didn’t realize I’d already be worrying about him or her.”
A woman’s desire to help her developing child can become a worrisome burden. If she drinks coffee, baby gets caffeine. If she falls, baby takes the blow. If she doesn’t eat right, baby struggles to grow. If she takes drugs, baby experiences addiction. So a mother tries to do everything right and has concern for the little person she hasn’t yet met. As I’ve watched and listened to Birgitta, I’ve been pleased to see her respond to her new but difficult assignment with maturity. She’s willingly made numerous changes in her life in order to be the best mother she can be… already.
Jesus was never a mother and neither was God, but both made reference to behaving in motherly ways. God said he would comfort us with mother-like comfort, as well as keep us in his thoughts like a nursing mother thinks of her child’s needs, around the clock. He was saying, “I’m thinking of your best interests constantly. I love you intensely and want to let you know you’re always on my mind.”
Mothers are joined to their unborn children in a way fathers can’t be, so they have a jump on the parent-child relationship, both the joys and the worries. My experience through 7 pregnancies bore this out, since Nate didn’t begin bonding with our newborns until he held them in his arms and studied their little faces. But I’d been hooked 9 months before that.
This same lack of pre-born bonding was evident in Nate after I’d had a miscarriage. When I wept over our loss, he felt badly for me and consoled me, but couldn’t relate to (and didn’t grieve for) our lost baby.
Why does God set up this ultra-close connection between mother and child? It’s probably because babies are so needy that one person has to have enough attachment from Day #1 after he/she is born to willingly give up life’s basics (personal hygiene, regular meals, adequate sleep) for the baby’s survival.
God takes advantage of this tight relationship in another way, too, explaining how he feels toward us. In Jesus he gave up far more than hygiene, meals, or sleep in order to be intimately bonded with us and to help us survive. He surrendered his whole life in the effort, and that works out really well for anyone who wants to be close to God.
Although men can’t experience the pre-birth bonding women do with babies, the Lord does let them in on a bonding that’s even more important… the one with him.
“Our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ.” (1 John 1:3)