For J&J and K&T.
A couple of weeks ago, a couple of friends who are expecting their first child in the next few months, sent the picture you see above, and I was enamored by the detail. Before this, I had only been introduced to newborn babies after they tangibly exist to the rest of the world. But seeing this picture gave me the realization that this being had a form, and was not simply a proto-person living in a literal bubble.
The face is arguably the one feature the majority of us associate with being human, its why no matter how much we resist, we cannot help but see faces in inanimate objects. A phenomenon known as pareidolia.
As a social species, humans have become enamored by faces. In a lifetime we see an innumerable number of them and we have become experts in portraying our emotions without the need for words.
So while I am not hoping to get into the argument about when is a fetus more than the sum of its parts right now, it’s hard to argue with anything with a face. Or much easier depending on your disposition, I can shout at plug I have stepped on, but I can’t stay mad at it for very long.
The development of the fetus, from conception to delivery, to me feels much like a clip show of human evolution, not everything of course, but enough to get the gist. From a single cell, through primordial beast and homunculi, eventual resulting in a fully formed human baby.
The above series of pictures is a composition of scans taken from a developing baby show how a human face is formed. Starting off almost unrecognizable, the face consists of three separate parts which slowly merge together to form the eyes, nose, and mouth. These plates of tissues join together just above the upper lip and almost like how a potter would join pieces of clay, a small ridge is formed. The philtrum.
“a face appeared suddenly from out of the dark.” Nilsson- Pioneering photographer who documented the development of a baby within an expecting mother in 1957.
At the top of this article, I neglected to mention that my older sister and her husband are also expecting, their first, our families first. I am close with my family but I, however, have little to zero points of reference of what this experience is like, the regular Whatsapp updates have not been for my benefit, but more as an online scrapbook. Somewhere private but accessible to those key people. I have been told by the more headstrong of us that my lack of input has appeared apathetic and uncaring. I have not meant to be, more just a lack of knowing how to contribute. I had previously thought that it is simply not my time to mold this person, my time will come in the not too distant future. But writing this down I have realised that babies are not buns in ovens or random assortments of ever-expanding fruits. This baby is now a thinking, doing member of our family, and I should have realised that long before this point. When did I forget the important education I received from “Look whose talking?”.