Today’s word, from A.Word.A.Day, which is doing words from Dutch this week, is sooterkin.
The second meaning seemed not to make sense (“get” an afterbirth?):
2. An afterbirth formerly believed to be gotten by Dutch women by warming themselves on stoves.
. . . so I looked further & found this on Wikipedia:
A sooterkin is a fabled small creature about the size of a mouse that certain women were believed to have been capable of giving birth to. The origin of this initially jocular fantasy lies in the 18th century, and came to be considered factual by some eminent physicians of the day. It is attributed to a tendency of Dutch women to frequently sit on stoves or use them under their petticoats to keep warm, hence causing the breeding of a small kind of animal, which when mature would be born.
The English physician John Maubray published a work entitled The Female Physician, in which he proposed that it was possible for women to give birth to sooterkins. Maubray was an advocate for maternal impression, a widely held belief that conception and pregnancy could be influenced by what the pregnant mother dreamt of, or saw. Maubray warned pregnant women that over-familiarity with household pets could cause their children to resemble those animals. He was involved in the case of Mary Toft, who appeared to vindicate his theory by giving birth to rabbits, although the whole affair turned out to be a hoax.
A sooterkin may also be used to refer to an abortion, an abortive scheme, or a failed plan.
EB White’s Stuart Little, is, I also discovered, a sooterkin.