My pregnant, unwed next-door-neighbour has asked me to be her Birthing Partner in September; which has caused me the most frightful anxiety. Although I am known to rarely refuse any invitation (I’ll go to the opening of bills if I’m asked), I don’t know this lady all that well and am unsure of my role in the whole business (will I have to take photographs of activities in the plumbing area?!). In any event, I had to attend a ‘Pre-Production’ meeting for the affair last week. There was organic white wine and snacks were served. Unfortunately, I mistook these for chicken nuggets and took a lavish helping; only to realize that they were made of something called ‘tofu’ and I had to tuck them under my seat.
The birth is to take place at her home, in and around the swimming bath which strikes me as a bizarre notion. It makes perfect sense to me that she should go off to a hospital and have a nice week of accepting bouquets, putting her feet-up and ordering from room-service.
Evidently, there will be quite a crowd and a ‘Running Order’ has been drawn up: the ladies from my neighbour’s belly-dancing group will begin with a group chant to ‘embrace and open’ my neighbour’s yoni (this sounds scandalously rude, but – I am told – it is quite sacred and that the experience will be a moving one for me). A large stone statue of Buddha will be installed at the steps of the swimming bath and crystals, rose petals and tea lights will be artfully arranged around this. When aforementioned yoni is sufficiently dilated, there will be a drumming circle and my neighbour and I will enter the water (I do hope there is to be a bonfire). At this point, the drummers will leave and a harpist will carry on with the show.
When the baby is born, Nasleem (from number 58) will sing a special birthing song from the Qur’an, after which Zen (from number 42, previously Kev-from-Muizenberg, then he married his yoga teacher) will read a suitable selection of poems. To hedge all bets, the rabbi from the Chester Road synagogue has also cracked the nod.
The baby will probably be given a New Age name, like those unfortunate Zappa and Geldof children.
Heaven alone knows what the poor old gardener will make of all this.