Did you ever play the Beetle Game when you were a kid?
You know, the one your parents suggested you play on family road trips, the one where they encouraged you to count as many Volkswagen Beetles as possible? If you did, then you probably experienced what we might call the Beetle Phenomenon: You never noticed a Beetle when you weren’t playing the Beetle game. When you were looking for them, they were suddenly everywhere.
Being pregnant is like one long Beetle game.
Suddenly, where there were no pregnant women, there are pregnant women and new moms everywhere.
Today, in the Korean restaurant, the mom nursing her baby, hiding the baby’s head–and her milk-swollen breast–under a soft blanket. At the Chinese New Year parade, the mom holding a biggish toddler on her back; the frazzled mom trying to navigate the stroller through the crowd.
Would I have noticed them a few weeks ago? Maybe, in a vague, distracted kind of way, in a noticing, but not actively observing kind of way. But today, I watched them as long as social propriety would allow… now that I’m playing the Beetle–um, Baby–Game.