Wednesday, 14 May 2014

World's Youngest Mum

14th May 1939

This day in history...Lina Medina becomes the world's youngest mother in medical history at the age of 5

Lina Medina is an extremely rare case, especially in terms of medical history. There have been other documented births to young mothers, but none have been this young. There is also a lot of mystery surrounding Lina Medina's case as the father has never been revealed and, at the time, many people believed the pregnancy to be a hoax. It was in fact true and so are many of the other examples in today's blog post.

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Lina Medina after delivery
Lina Medina
Lina was born September 27th 1933 in Ticrapo, Huancavelica Region, Peru. Her parents, Tiburelo Medina and Victoria Losea brought Lina to a hospital when the five year old's abdominal was increasing in size. The doctors originally thought she had a tumour, but determined she was seven months pregnant. Dr. Gerardo Lozada took Lina to Lima, Peru, to have specialists confirm the pregnancy. Her story raised a lot of media attention and the newspapers from the time indicate just how unusual the case was. They also show that the Medina's had no interest in making the case famous and refused interviews and film offers. 

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Lina Medina pregnant, age 5

A little over a month later, on May 14th 1939, Lina gave birth to a boy by caesarean section at 5 years, 7 moths and 21 days old. The surgery and the details of the case were reported in the medical journal La Presse Medicale. The report also showed that Lina's first menstrual cycle had started when she was just 8 months old. It also stated that she had prominent breast development by the age of four and that her sexual organs were fully mature by the time she gave birth to her son.

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Lina in hospital, following the birth
Gerardo Medina
Lina named her son Gerardo, after her doctor. He was born at 2.7kg (6lb). Gerardo was raised to believe that Medina was his sister, but at the age of 10 he learned the truth that she was his mother. He grew up healthy and lived a normal life, but unfortunately died in 1979, aged 40, due to bone marrow disease.

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Gerardo (left) and Lina Medina (middle)
Later Life
The identity of Gerardo's father has never been revealed and neither have the circumstances of Lina's impregnation. Although Loina's father was arrested on suspicion of child sexual abuse, he was later released due to lack of evidence. The Medina's have surprisingly led a normal life, although when Gerardo was first born, doctors wanted to keep mother and son in the hospital as they were fascinated by the case. Lina's mother, however, didn't wish for her child and grandchild to become lab monkeys and the family returned home after a few months.

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Lina and Gerardo
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Gerardo and Lina holding a doll

In young adulthood, Lina worked as a secretary in the Lima clinic. They provided her with an education and helped her to put Gerardo through high school. Lina later married Raul Jurado, who fathered her second son in 1972. Reuters attempted to interview Lina in 2002, but they were refused. They could reveal, however, that she was living in a poor district of Lima known as Chicago Chico (Little Chicago) with her husband. Their youngest son resides in Mexico City. 

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Lina Medina, 28 years after Gerardo's birth
Other Cases
Another famous case of a young mother occurred August 19th 1934 in, what is now, Ukraine. Yelizaveta "Liza" Gryshchenko was just 5 years old when her 70 year old grandfather raped her. She turned 6 just days before she gave birth to her daughter. As caesareans were dangerous at the time, her parents insisted on a natural birth with the aid of forceps and retractors. The baby, weighing 3kg (6.6lb) died during labour. After the incident, the family moved away...taking Liza's grandfather with them.

A more recent and shocking case happened in November 1994. 9 year old Leyla Mafi from Iran had been prostituted by her mother starting when she was just 8. Leyla had a development delay (she was assessed at the age of 19 and appeared to have the mental age of an 8 year old). Among the men who paid to rape the disabled child were several of her male relatives. She ended up having 3 children; the first when she was 9, and twins when she was 14. When she was 19 she was condemned and faced the death penalty for 'moral offences' of debauchery, incest and illegitimate motherhood. Her lawyer eventually intervened and lessened Leyla's sentence to a public beating and imprisonment. In 2006, Leyla was sent to a rehab centre and now resided in an apartment with a care worker.

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Leyla Mafi
The most recent case is from May 2012. Antonio Lisboa Filho, 28 years old, discovered that his 10 year old daughter (unidentified) was 4 months pregnant. Antonio had been regularly raping his daughter since she was 8. He fled from Coroata, Maranhao, Brazil, along with his wife and their other children, abandoning the 10 year old girl with her grandmother. The grandmother alerted the authorities of the rape and the parents' escape. The pregnancy had advanced past the stages of abortion, and the young girl delivered the baby, via caesarean section in early May 2012. According to the police, the man is also suspected of raping the girl's 8 year old sister.

There are, unfortunately, hundreds of other cases about young mothers. Some as shocking and disgraceful as those above and some as mysterious as Lina Melina's case. What are you thoughts on young mothers and the reasons behind it? Leave your comments below.

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