If you’re a mom, you know that pregnancy brain and mommy brain are real. If you’re not a mom, please know to give your mommy friends some extra grace if they forget things. I now have three little girls, the youngest of which was born in July. The mommy brain haze is very much my current reality. I forget people’s names that I know I know, I’m not always very coherent in my thoughts, and Bible verses I once had committed to memory I now butcher. I find myself forgetting all sorts of things that I had once known.
But, again, give us mommies some grace. Science has shown that our forgetfulness is actually beneficial. Studies show that mommy brain is a result of us making room in our brain to think about our kids. It’s not that moms are actually forgetful as a whole, but are preoccupied with their thoughts going towards their children (did you know that kids have to eat approximately 24,692 times a day and we have to be on top of getting them fed all day?):
“Further experiments suggested that pregnancy sculpts the brains of mothers in a very specific way, making women more responsive to their helpless infants. The regions that shrunk the most…are thought to be involved in taking other people’s mental perspectives. Such selective shrinkage may indicate that these regions become more specialized as a result of pregnancy, an efficiency that may help a new mother better care for a baby” (ScienceNews.org)
It’s amazing to me that God designed women to change through pregnancy and birth in both our bodies and our brains that we may take care of our babies. It’s also amazing to me that God, who throughout Scripture is called Father, compares himself to a mother in Isaiah 49:15 (indeed, as Genesis 1:27 tells us, both male and female are created in the image of God). Isaiah 49:15a says:
“Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb?”
The answer to that question should be no. I may forget everything else, but I can never forget my children. I’m not talking about forgetting them at the grocery store or a Home Alone situation (there’s grace for you, momma). I’m talking about responding to the needs of our children in the best way we know how. In the Bible, the idea of remembering is directly related to action. When God tells his people that he will “remember” them or “remember” his word to them, he doesn’t mean that he will literally forget and then suddenly have an aha-moment; he means that he will act.
Like a mother who responds to the cries of her baby, God responds to the cries of his people. When a mother hears her child crying in the night, she is attentive to her baby’s needs and does what she thinks is best for her child, whether that’s picking them up or letting them cry a while. When a nursing baby needs to eat, mothers respond by feeding them. Even if a nursing mom could somehow forget her baby, her body remembers.
While it’s completely unnatural for a mother to forget her child, sometimes earthly mothers do not act in their child’s best interest. Our world is full of broken people and broken families. There are moms who have abandoned and abused their children and even the best mothers may act out in selfishness instead of in the best interest of our children. When our sinful flesh comes out in motherhood, God tells us that he’s better:
“Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you. Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands…” (Isaiah 49:15b-16)
While we earthly mothers may utterly fail at times, God never fails us. We can rest assured that he hears our cries and will remember us – that he will act on our behalf in our best interests. Take this truth to heart: “He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:32). God loved us so much that he sent his Son to die that we may become sons of God. Jesus paid the ultimate price to bring us into the family of God.
Sister, remember that if God was willing to go to such extreme lengths to lavish his love on you, why would he suddenly stop? When you feel unworthy of love, remember that you are his sweet child. Like a newborn who does nothing to earn the affection, there is nothing we can do to earn God’s love if we are his (or lose it, according to Romans 8:38-39). When you feel like he does not care for you, remember that he has compassion on you and he will work all things together for good (Romans 8:28). When you feel like he’s forgotten you, cling to the truth that he cannot. We write ourselves important reminders on our hands and the ink fades away. But Jesus eternally bears scars that serve as reminders of his great love for us.