“Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you!” Is. 49:15
They say we learn to bond in the first three years of our lives. And how well we learn to bond with our mom in large part determines how well we will connect with others for the rest of our lives.
Storge love which is defined as a parent’s love for a child can perhaps be best visualized in a mom nursing her infant.
God created us to be utterly dependent upon our mothers for survival. In the Andes Mountains, just about every Indian mother breast-feeds her baby. Other options are non-existent. I was blessed that way. My mother carried me on her back wherever she went and nursed me.
As a young teenager in the U.S., the message I heard was — why let your breasts sag when infant formula can do the job? And I made that choice even before I got married.
Thankfully God saved me and a Christian midwife in England told me how breast-feeding would not only nourish my baby with food but with love.
It wasn’t as easy as it looked at first. Both of my nipples were bleeding with my first one. I’d nursed her too often and in the wrong way. Someone suggested cold cabbage leaves and another used black tea bags. I tried both. The latching on was also a learned art. I cried when she couldn’t latch on no matter how many different angles we tried. Maybe in my nervousness I wasn’t producing milk. But somehow we made it.
My younger two were born in Czechia, and here, they have a lactation specialist paid for by insurance who will come to your house to help you breastfeed. It’s that important. Science is catching up to how God created us.
I should pause here and note that I know some moms cannot breastfeed and in no way do I want to diminish their love as they bottle feed their babies.
Knowing about storge love before my babies came along helped me value the time and effort that nursing required. I don’t remember everything that happened between my Mother and me in those early years. I do know that I did not bond well with her.
Maybe because of our extended separation, I picked up the message that to receive love or approval I had to prove myself worth. Perhaps I was afraid that if I weren’t a good kid, my parents would send me away again.
Later in my adult life, connecting to someone for me meant proving my worth in the relationship and sadly it also meant that anyone close to me had to prove himself/herself. It’s a painful way to live.
God knows how frail we can be as moms. What mom forgets her nursing baby? Yet, He says, “Though she may forget, I will not forget you!”
Looking back, I can see I wasn’t forgotten and neither were you. I had a God-sent grandma who delighted in me and made me feel secure in her love. And even as those walls were being built around my heart, God already had a plan to remove them.