The 5-year-old girl from a poor village, Lina, was brought to a local hospital with concerns about swelling in her stomach. The little girl was one of nine children, and her parents feared that the growing bulge in her abdomen was a tumor, but it turned out to be something far more startling. After giving the girl a full examination, the doctors delivered the stunning diagnosis. She was seven months pregnant. Shortly after, Lina delivered a healthy, 6-pound baby boy. She was exactly 5 years, 7 months and 21 days old, making her the youngest mother in recorded history.
“It’s an absolutely unbelievable story, but these things do happen,” says Dr. Erica, a pediatric endocrinologist and professor of pediatrics. Lina represents an extreme case of a relatively common childhood condition called precocious puberty. Endocrinologists treat hormonal disorders, and pediatric endocrinologists like Eugster frequently see patients who are exhibiting outward signs of puberty. Because no one could understand the circumstances of the birth, the child’s mother did not even recognize the pregnancy despite Lina’s growing belly because it was just not something anyone had ever considered.
Instead, the mother thought that the growing baby bump was a tumor or a cyst or something. But when the girl was taken to the pediatricians, they were stunned, horrified. The doctors were horrified that someone had impregnated the five-year-old girl. It was as if the man’s sins were meant to be exposed to the world. This horrible fact left few possible men who could have done such a thing to the little girl. And the primary suspect was the girl’s own father, a silversmith named Tiburelo. He was arrested on suspicion of child r-pe. However, Lina never admitted to authorities who the father was. She might have been too young to understand what had happened. And Tiburelo was eventually freed without enough evidence against him.
Lina’s son was named Gerardo, who took the name of the doctor who took care of the young mother. Because his family wanted to protect Gerardo from the truth, he spent his childhood thinking Lina was his big sister. This wasn’t far from the truth since she was only five at the time of his birth. Gerardo did one interview in 1955 and said that he hoped to be a doctor when he grew up. However, he died at the young age of 40 in 1979. Lina went on to live a normal life in Peru. She married a man named Raul and had a second child in 1972 at the age of 39.