In the cover headline to its current issue, Time magazine invites the reader to identify with the child before birth - How the first nine months shape the rest of your life. The opening page of the article does the same, placing three lines of text over the mother's womb that read
The writer, Annie Murphy Paul, is a journalist who covers science. Her article is about how science is now understanding the many ways in which our experience in the womb before we are born affects our health prospects and probabilities throughout our lives.
She comments, 'two years ago when I began to delve more deeply into the field, I had a more personal motivation: I was newly pregnant. If it was true that my actions over the next nine months would affect my offspring for the rest of his life, I needed to know more.' (p. 46)
The full-page cover photo shows a woman 10 days before birth. The unborn baby sucking her thumb is there in all her full-colour, icon-like golden glow on page 47, and on the contents page there is a photo of a newborn being weighed with the caption, 'the baby shortly after she left her first formative environment'. (page 5)
A small red box at the top left of each double page of the article carries the woird SCIENCE to remind you that this is science not opinion.
And the whole opening page (p. 44) of the article is taken up with a photograph of the pregnant mother's tummy 'great with child', photographed from the side, with only three, dramatically stark lines of text, like a poem:
The article explores different ways our experience before we are born may affect us - pollutants, drugs or infections the mother is exposed to, and her health, stress level and state of mind; and the areas of possible impact currently under studt include heart disease, obesity, diabetes, depression and schizophrenia.
To see the online version of the article click here