This little aside says a lot about Marji and her observation skills. Her aunt, who had just had a baby, leaves Marji's small cousin in Marji's arms and runs. This woman decides to save herself over her baby, causing Marji to draw the conclusion that the "maternal instinct" isn't universal, and some women will save themselves first. This isn't a strange conclusion for Marji to make, particularly since she lives in a society where neighbors will turn in neighbors for being different. "Saving yourself first" is a big part of the culture in Iran, unfortunately.