But we were gentle among you, even as a nurse cherisheth her children: 1 Thessalonians 2:7
The Eastern text reads, “And like a foster mother who loves her children.” In the East, the children of kings, princes and noblemen are entrusted to the care of foster parents. This strange custom grew out of the practice of polygamy. Rulers and rich men who have many wives have more children than they can take care of in their own homes. So they entrust them to the care of servants and faithful citizens, who are granted certain privileges and other remuneration for their faithful services.
This custom was common in biblical days, and it still prevails in some parts of the Near East. “And Ahab had seventy sons in Samaria. And Jehu wrote letters, and sent to Samaria, unto the rulers of Jezreel, to the elders, and to them that brought up Ahab’s children (II Kings 10:1).” Children brought up in this way love their foster parents and do not wish to part from them.
Paul and his co-workers had been like faithful foster mothers to the Thessalonian Christians. They had taken care of them as though they were their own children.
(Lamsa, George. New Testament Commentary, A.J. Holman Co., Philadelphia: 1945, pg 388)