On This Day In History: A 5-Year-Old Girl Became The Youngest Mother On Record
May 14, 1939, has gone down in history as the day a 5-year-old girl gave birth to her own baby boy—making her the youngest mother on record at the time. The remarkable story of Lina Medina (yes, that’s right, Lina was only five years old when she gave birth), is one that most people aren’t aware of but should be. Let’s retell it together today!
What are your hobbies?
Do you enjoy reading, writing, or just about anything else? Do you feel your skills can be transferred to the world of blogging and web design? If so, freelance. You get to set your own hours, have a flexible schedule, work from home–if you want–and essentially make money from something you already enjoy doing. And it’s not as difficult as one might think either. There are plenty of bloggers out there looking for contributors like yourself. Simply look up any publication (The New York Times is always on the lookout for freelance writers) and see if they’re hiring any freelancers.
Where do you find inspiration?
In writing my first book, I drew inspiration from my personal experience of a difficult divorce. I wanted to explore the emotional trials of divorce in a fresh, new way, and to make others who were going through it feel less alone. I hope that those who have already read my story find comfort in knowing they are not alone and those who haven’t read it yet can also find some solace. For me, writing was a way to feel out what happened to me when I lost my grip on happiness and it helped me heal in ways I never thought possible.
What was going through your mind at the time?
A five-year-old girl in rural Japan gave birth to a son on May 14, 1939. Her village doctor, who had no idea she was only five years old, delivered the baby and found out her age soon after. He said the child was too young to have a child of her own. Records show that this is the youngest mother on record.
Do you have any regrets?
Did she regret not waiting to have a baby later in life? It is unknown if she would have. What we do know is that she left behind 3 children and no one knows their whereabouts. Plus, she gave birth to her daughter at the age of 15 years old, with only her grandmother present during the delivery. One year later, when it was time for Maya to give birth again, this time she lost consciousness during labor and then died from hemorrhaging and anemia at the age of 16 years old.
The consequences for such a young mother are great. Maya may not have thought about what could happen to her or her family if she did get pregnant; but that’s how mistakes can happen or just how life can take an unfortunate turn without warning.
How did it affect your life after that?
I was born Wilhelmina Druck on May 14, 1939, in Amsterdam. When I was five years old my father died of leukemia and it forced my mother to go into debt. We moved to Amsterdam where we got into extreme poverty and one day I watched her flirt with a much older man from our apartment building. She took him up to her room and afterward, she told me the man is my dad now. When I asked why that’s what she told me she said that he was giving us money for food because we were so poor.
What advice would you give to young girls now?
What is important to note about this story is that the mother was not married, her only defense of I’m just a child is void because she had a child before she could legally marry. There are multiple takeaways from this story that I think should be shared with young girls to help teach them better. First, when you get married, your name will change and there’s nothing anyone can do about it. Also, even if you love your child and make the best decisions for them possible, things will happen anyways.
How would you change your decision if you could go back in time?
I would never want my daughter to go through the same thing I did. No one should have to see their parents fight, divorce, be abused or neglect them. It’s not fair to put a child in such a position and have them have these memories to carry with them for the rest of their lives. If I could go back in time, I would be even more involved in her life than before; she deserves it and so much more.
What about kids today interested in your story?
Becoming an adult can feel like a somewhat arbitrary and drawn out process. There are a lot of things that you should have done by now and aren’t – your career should be established, you should have started a family, you should own property, and so on. Growing up is largely about personal definitions for oneself – some people become an adult the day they graduate from college while others may see themselves as being an adult the day they find out they’re pregnant or start paying taxes or get into their first serious relationship. The moment I feel like I became an adult is the moment that all of my decisions in life finally belonged to me alone.
When did you start feeling like an adult?
The answer to this question varies widely among different people. I started feeling like an adult when I was 10 years old, not realizing that legally I couldn’t go off without my parents until 18.
Some might say they don’t feel like an adult until the day they graduate from college, find a well-paying job, or buy their first home. I finally felt like an adult on my wedding day; when my new husband and I looked at each other after exchanging vows and took in the weight of the moment we were living. From then on, for the first time in our lives we were responsible for making choices that would affect us both–and any children we might have in the future–for the rest of our lives.
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