In the spring of 1939, Lina Medina’s parents noticed an unusual abdominal swelling in their five-year-old daughter. They feared it was a tumor, but were surprised to learn that Lina was seven months pregnant at the time of diagnosis.
On May 14, 1939, Lina gave birth to a healthy baby boy via cesarean section, becoming the world’s youngest mother at the age of five years, seven months, and 21 days.
Lina’s case drew significant national attention and caused shock throughout the world. However, Lina and her family have consistently refused to answer questions about the father of the child. To this day, the mystery surrounding the boy’s paternity remains unsolved, leaving questions about how Lina became pregnant at such a young age and who the father could have been unanswered.
Youngest Mother: A Case of Precocious Puberty
Lina Medina’s case, being the youngest mother on record, sparked worldwide attention and curiosity. Born in Peru in 1933, Lina was the daughter of Tiburelo and Victoria Losea, a silversmith and a housewife respectively. She was one of nine siblings.
The family and loved ones were shocked to learn of her pregnancy at the age of five. However, pediatric endocrinologists were not entirely surprised, as they were aware of a condition called Precocious Puberty.
Precocious Puberty is a condition in which a child’s body begins to change into that of an adult (puberty) too soon. When puberty begins before age 8 in girls and before age 9 in boys, it is considered precocious puberty. It includes rapid growth of bones and muscles, changes in body shape and size, and development of the body’s ability to reproduce.
The cause of precocious puberty is unknown, but in rare cases, certain conditions such as infections, hormone disorders, tumors, brain abnormalities, or injuries may cause it. Boys with this condition regularly have a deepening voice, enlarged genitals, and facial hair. Girls, on the other hand, have their first period and develop breasts at a young age. Approximately ten times more girls than boys develop in this manner.
While precocious puberty explains how it was possible for Lina to get pregnant, it does not explain everything. The identity of the father remains a mystery to this day, and Lina and her family have refused to answer any questions regarding the matter.
Her father was arrested
When Lina Medina’s pregnancy was discovered, the doctor immediately contacted the police. Lina’s father was arrested as a suspect, but after a week of questioning, the police were forced to release him due to insufficient evidence linking him to the pregnancy.
Another suspect was Lina’s cousin, who had reported mental health issues, leading authorities to believe he may have been capable of such an act. However, there was no evidence to support this claim, and the police were forced to release him as well.
Lina never revealed the identity of her father or the details of the assault that resulted in her pregnancy, which may have been due to her young age and lack of understanding of the situation.
In the following years, rumors began to circulate that there were regular festivals in Lina’s hometown that involved group sex or even rape, including the involvement of minors such as Lina. However, these claims were never proven.
Peruvian news outlets offered Lina’s family thousands of dollars for the rights to interview and film the world’s youngest mother, and journalists from the United States also attempted to interview her. However, Lina and her family declined to speak publicly about the matter.
What happened to Lina Medina’s child?
Due to her young age and undeveloped body, the only way for Lina to give birth at the age of five was through a cesarean section, which was risky but the only viable option.
As Lina’s pregnancy progressed, her parents were under immense pressure from the media and doctors. Her mother revealed that Lina had begun menstruating at the age of three, and specialists later discovered that she had a condition known as precocious puberty.
Despite the risks and concerns, Lina’s baby was born healthy, weighing 2.7 kilograms, on Mother’s Day, May 14th, 1939. The boy was named Gerardo Medina, after the doctor who first examined Lina. He was released from the hospital and went home with the family to their village of Ticrapo.
In 1941, two years after Gerardo’s birth, the New York Times published an account of an American psychologist who had examined Lina during a visit to South America. “Lina is above normal in intelligence and the baby, a boy, is perfectly normal and is physically better developed than the average Mestiza (Spanish Indian) child,” the psychologist reported. “She thinks of the child as a baby brother and so does the rest of the family.”
Gerardo was raised as Lina’s brother, but he discovered the truth about his parentage at the age of ten. He lived a healthy life and passed away in 1979.
Where is Lina Medina now?
After giving birth at such a young age, Lina chose to lead a quiet life away from the media spotlight. She eventually found employment as a secretary for the doctor who attended her birth, which helped her pay her way through college. Lina also helped Gerardo with his education during this time.
In the early 1970s, Lina married Raul Jurado and had a second son 33 years after the birth of her first child. The couple remained married and lived in a poor neighborhood in Lima as of 2002.
Lina has remained private throughout her life and not much is known about her current whereabouts or circumstances. If she were still alive today, Lina would be 90 years old.
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