We all know how it happens — man and woman meet, fireworks (or lust) ensue…and life begins.
But between conception and birth, much of what happens is hidden, lost to the world behind the safety of mum’s belly. Well, maybe it won’t be so much of a mystery anymore.
A photographer named Lennart Nilsson has unlocked that secret world. In fact, he did it way back in 1965 when he first released his popular book, A Child Is Born. It took off with photographers, scientists and parents, beautifully showing the miracle of life, right from the start.
1. Where Are You?
It begins with an explosion of love, and one little guy looking for the love of his life. It’s a long dark journey towards her, but he’ll keep looking. After all, this is a life or life situation.
2. A Meeting Of Two Lovers
But there, on the horizon, there she is! The most gorgeous egg you’ve ever seen. Curvy to the point of distraction, and just waiting for him to waltz along so the magic can begin.
3. She Falls Under A Spell
It takes time for him to work his magic, but she is powerless to stop him. The most charming wriggler this side of the cervix, and much faster than his competitors. Somehow, and maybe she’ll question it later, he worms his way in, and the dance really gets started in earnest.
4. One Week Later
After a week, our little adventurer has sadly gone on to greener pastures. But his legacy has well and truly begun. In the place of his meeting with ‘the one’ a.k.a. egg, and embryo remains. It’s pitched a tent on the uterus, and it’s holding on for the long haul.
5. The Frog Can Swim
Some 28 days after the fateful night that mum may remember as ‘conception day’, the embryo has changed again. Now, it’s a little amphibious looking creature, that oddly makes hearts melt. Our froggy friend has a long road to go before it evolves into baby-level cuteness, but it’s definitely on the way.
6. An Alien Invasion
Now, before the little guy gets cute, there’s an awkward growing period. Think of it as the teen years of the foetus. This is when the face starts to take shape, with the eyes, nose and mouth looking very alien. But hey, we’re only five weeks in, and there’s a lot more growing still to come!
7. A Family Resemblance?
At the eight week point, we’re starting to get the feeling that this little guy might not be an alien after all. Although not quite matching the fashion in terms of body parts at the moment, there’s definitely a species resemblance coming along!
8. Baby Blues
At around 10 weeks, your baby’s eyes are half-shut. They’ll be totally shut in a week or two when the little guy hunkers down for his long nap before the waterslide. Just look at those baby blues, your child’s windows to the soul.
9. Mover and Shaker
Also around the 10-week mark, the little guy is starting to move around. You could say he’s testing out the waters. Using those little webbed hands, he’s exploring what’s around him, and trying to figure out how he ended up in this nice warm swimming pool.
10. Don’t Pull!
By 16 weeks, our fast-growing foetus is well and truly comfortable in his watery womb. Those bones are just starting to grow, but they’re mostly flexible cartilage. And he’s learning new tricks as well, including pulling on his own umbilical cord. Look at all those blood vessels on the little baby toes!
11. Listen Up
By 18 weeks, this is one seriously talented little guy. He can start to hear sounds from outside his warm, cozy house, and that’s enough to make anyone curious! His skin is still pretty wrinkled, but he’s starting to really move more, enough for mum to feel it!
12. Hairy Baby
At the 20-week mark, most babies get pretty hairy. The hair growing all over your little one is called lanugo. It’s a very downy, fine hair that appears all over the baby’s face and body. This is one of the delightful things that makes kissing babies so enjoyable, so although it looks weird, you will love it!
13. Santa Claus?
No, that isn’t Santa Claus, but your baby is a gift, and delivery is only three months away! At this point, the baby is starting to fill out a little more, and the lungs are developing. The white stuff you’re seeing that’s making the baby look like Santa is called vernix and it helps protect the skin in the womb.
14. Nearly There
It’s 36 weeks now and the journey is almost done. Soon, this baby is going to be making its debut on the world, one more little human being for everyone to dote over. Space is tight, and mum is starting to get very uncomfortable, so bring on delivery!