“Mom, where do babies come from?”

During our stay in Bonavista last month, we took a drive to nearby Elliston. The claim to fame of this charming little community is its reputation as the
“Root Cellar Capital of the World.”

164More than 130 root cellars have been documented in the Elliston area, dating back as far as 1839, and some of them are still in use today. The people who settled here grew their own vegetables, which were stored in the root cellars. A well-built cellar stayed dry and kept a constant, cool temperature year round.

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cut away showing the construction of a cellar

But by now, you are probably asking, what does any of this have to do with where babies come from?

Well, according to Elliston folklore, the older folks told the children that babies came from root cellars. In the words of a Mrs. Ella Pearce,

  They said they used to dig the babies out with a silver shovel. We used to go to the cellars and listen for babies. We never questioned our parents. We thought everything they said was true. They had midwives in them days, and we thought they used to dig them out.”

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So folks, I’ve learned about yet another way babies come into the world, to add to the well-known tales of the Cabbage Patch and the Stork.

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Are there any other explanations for how babies got here, that parents may have told their children? (besides the TRUTH, of course!)  

Please share with me below if you have knowledge of more fascinating folklore!

For more info on Elliston, click here.

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24 thoughts on ““Mom, where do babies come from?”

  1. Sweet…When I was 5yrs old.. my sister was born..so my mother being gone ..I was crying for her…my father took me aside and said she is gone to get her tooth out…I always tell my sister…you were some tooth……..

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  2. Here, it’s said that the moon man (that figure that looks like a human stuck in the full moon) makes babies out of glassy water and presents them as gifts to the world.

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      1. I used to grow food when I had a bit of land in British Columbia. It tasted so good. I kept potatoes and carrots in the crawl space under the house. I real bonified root cellar would have been awesome. I would also keep wine there!

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        1. Now you’re talkin’. 😉

          There’s nothing like veggies you’ve grown yourself. You know exactly how fresh they are, and with no unwanted pesticides and the like. My neighbours have given me samples of spinach, lettuce, carrots, potatoes, tomatoes and parsnip. Getting hungry thinking about it.

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  3. I certainly did not know there was a “root cellar capital”. That’s a great saga…

    Where babies come from: In the old days when women disguised their pregnancies with ugly mumus and by hiding in “confinement”, it was easier to convince children that they came from storks, or were found in the cabbage patch (which is why my grandmother said, but of course I didn’t believe it. I mean, hello, I knew by the time I was four that babies obviously grew in their mommies’ tummies.)

    So the question became, how did they get in there? My friend’s mom told us they came from swallowing watermelon seeds. Made perfect sense to us.

    Then we asked, of course, how babies get out of the mommies’ tummies. We were content with the answer, “the mommy goes to the hospital and the doctor takes the baby out.”

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    1. The way women dress these days there is no hiding a baby bump, that’s for sure.

      Swallowing watermelon seeds is a new one for me. Funny how an answer like that can make sense to a little child! Thank you for stopping by with your comments. 🙂

      Jennifer

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  4. The picture of the cellar looks like the house of the Hobbits in Lord of the Rings..
    As for births… I remember being horrified when I learned that babies were born with no clothes on.
    It is interesting being taken back to those early thought processes.

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  5. Can’t remember where I thought babies come from, but I know that nan told mom when she was little that kittens came from pussy willows. I’ve always found that one amusing! Why they wouldn’t just tell the truth is a mystery.

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  6. I love Elliston! My mother came from there and I go there whenever I can. My grandfathers root cellar is still there. We used to think babies came on the Bonavista (coastal boat) and could be picked up at the hospital.

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