* Ilda Toska writes
In the spring of 1939, in a small village in Peru, 5-year-old Lina Medina began experiencing severe stomach pain while her abdomen was swollen. Her parents, fearing it was a tumor, immediately took her to the hospital in Lima.
After the doctors performed the necessary tests, to their surprise, they found that the little girl was pregnant. On May 14, 1939, Medina gave birth by caesarean section to a healthy baby boy. At the age of 5 years, seven months and 21 days, she became the youngest mother in the world.
The case of Medina surprised and shocked the scientific community and the whole world. To this day, 83 years later, Lina has not revealed who the father of the child was while she still remains the youngest mother in the world.
What happened to Lina Medina
On September 23, 1933, Lina Medina was born in one of the poorest villages in Peru. Five years later, she would become a mother. At first, the doctors couldn’t believe what they had just seen. After a thorough investigation, they found that the little girl suffered from a rare genetic condition called “precocious puberty”.
“Precocious puberty” affects about one in 10,000 children, turning a young child’s body into an adult too soon. In particular, it is estimated that the change is completed in girls by the age of eight and in boys by the age of nine.
In the case of Lina Medina, her doctor, Edmundo Escomel, reported in a medical journal that she had her first period at the age of three. Her breasts and hips had already started to grow since then. The delivery was by caesarean section because, despite her prematurely enlarged hips, it was difficult to give birth naturally.
Her child was named Gerardo, after the doctor who first examined her, and the infant went to the family home. Gerardo grew up believing that Lina was his sister but learned the truth at the age of 10. Although he was healthy for most of his life, he died at the age of 40 from an autoimmune disease.
Who was the father?
Lina Medina became the youngest mother in the world after being raped. Once she gave birth, the authorities arrested her father for abusing his daughter.
He categorically denied that he had committed the gruesome crime. After some time, he was released as there was insufficient evidence. Lina never revealed the name of her rapist, if of course she knew who he was.
The story of Medina attracted the attention of the whole world. Newspapers in Peru and the USA offered a lot of money to Medina and her family for her story but she categorically refused.
Many were quick to say that the story of the 5-year-old mother was fake. She, however, never profited from it nor wanted to “sell” it. Instead, he chose to stay out of the limelight and not give a single interview.
In addition, her medical file contains the testimonies of the doctors who examined her, the x-rays showing the fetus as well as the results of the blood tests.
In the 70s, Lina Medina remarried and gave birth to another baby boy. Today, the youngest mother in the world is still alive – at the age of 89 – and lives in Peru.
** Ilda Tosca is studying New Media Studies