‘From next week postmen and women will be delighted to provide ‘home-birthing’ to expectant couples by delivering their newborn child direct to their door at any time between 9am and 3pm,’ said Moya Greene, Chief Executive of the Royal Mail Group. ‘But not on Sundays or bank holidays – and if they’re out when we call, we’ll leave the kid with a neighbour for safe-keeping.’
Anxious parents can choose the recorded delivery option with its ‘track and trace’ facility to monitor their parcel’s progress as it is kicked around the sorting office, while those preferring not to know when their offspring will arrive can opt for the standard first and second-class services. On the big day the postman will ask parents to sign for receipt of the child before weighing it to determine the precise delivery charge.
‘What’s great is you can tailor things to your needs,’ said one satisfied customer and mother-of-three. ‘I’d had difficult labours before, and I’d seen our postman’s approach to getting my Good Housekeeping through the letterbox, so we decided to go for the guaranteed next-day Parcelforce service. And credit to them, they drove dangerously fast across town before shunning the garden path and trampling the flowerbeds to put little Louis in our arms before midday. It was a magical occasion.’
Yet despite initial enthusiasm, some parents have reported teething problems with the new service. A number of disappointed mothers have refused to accept delivery of particularly ugly babies sporting their mother-in-law’s nose, instead marking the packages ‘Return to sender’, while one career woman from Dulwich is furious at twice receiving twins addressed to the last-but-one resident.
And only this morning one expectant mother was frustrated to find a ‘While you were out’ card on the doormat after failing to get to the door on time, only to discover that her local post office had closed last month leaving her with no way of collecting the child. ‘Why couldn’t he just have waited and rung a second time?’ she asked. ‘He was quite happy to nine months ago.’
16th April 2011