鸡娃, I tentatively translate it to chick baby, or maybe even chickpeas, since there isn’t an appropriate proverb, because there isn’t such social phenom in the English speaking world.
This cultural idiom refers to the education method: to fill children’s after school time with tutors on various subjects and interests classes, because they don’t want to lose out on the starting line. This is particular popular among the middle and upper class parents who predominately reside in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen, the top of line cities in China where resources and opportunities are abundant.
Chick, is from 打鸡血 injecting cock blood, which was an earlier phenom. During the CulRev – cultural revolution (1966-76), mostly in the 1960s, reportedly, the therapy can heel almost any illness. (zh wiki) The most visible effect after the injection was mood swing into high gear, excitement. Recently, injecting cock blood has been used to satirize people who suddenly become excited.
Here is a post, which I didn’t verify or done any research, 北大精神科医生:你们用焦虑养出来的娃,最后都送到我这里了, (The babies you raised with anxiety were finally sent to me) saying that Qinghua and Beijing universities are the destinations for these elite chickpeas, and 30.4% of them hate learning and 40.4% feel life is meaningless. According to this post, it’s by professor of psychology Xu Kaiwen from Beijing University 徐凯文,北京大学心理学教授. He also observed that
In the 1980s and 1990s, only 1 out of 100 Chinese people had a mental disorder. This figure has reached 17.5% by 2005. There are 1,000 people in this room, and 180 of us here should go to the Anding Hospital but may not be optimistic.