A miracle of engineering

When I was about 16 weeks pregnant, I went out to a party with some of my friends.

One of them, an engineer, started talking to me about the baby. After the standard congratulations, part of our conversation went like this:

Him: So, what’s the baby like at the moment? I mean, how much of it is there already?

Me: Well, it’s pretty much all there and has been since about 12 weeks, it just needs to get a lot bigger and everything needs to develop…

Him: That’s incredible. Seriously. A baby is such a complex thing. And the fact that the human body can build something like that in 12 weeks is just… well, it’s amazing.

He’s a structural engineer, a very down-to-earth guy with an appreciation of the work that goes into complex building projects. And here we were, marvelling at what an incredible job the human body does at assembling, from scratch, a fully functioning human being in less time than it normally takes for engineers to draw up initial plans for a building project, let alone get the whole thing structurally sound.

I know it is stupidly obvious, but I don’t think we think about this enough. It *is* an incredible thing. It is amazing. And it deserves a bit of reflection. In 12 weeks in the womb, a human being is formed. Yes, it doesn’t look exactly like the finished article; yes, it still has a lot of growing and developing to do before it can survive outside its protected environment. But it is all there – skin, bones, organs, the works – and all from a single cell 12 weeks before.

That’s an incredible feat of engineering.


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