It’s a story that strains credulity. The tale of a young girl having to go through with an event that is both miraculous and traumatizing. The year was 1939, and five-year-old Lina Medina had begun suffering from a mysterious ailment.
Her parents were at their wit’s end, so they did what any sensible parents would do and took their daughter to the doctor. What Lina would undergo was an experience that most would associate with physical and emotional maturity, and something that a child of barely kindergarten age could never possibly understand…
A Normal Life?
Little Lina Medina was born in Ticrapo, Castrovirreyna Province, Peru, in 1934. Her father, Tiberelo Medina, was a silversmith. Her mother, Victoria Losea, was a homemaker. Lina was a relatively normal five-year-old. She was inquisitive, rambunctious, and eager to learn. Then, one day, Lina started to act strangely. She complained of chronic nausea and stomach pain.
Lina’s abdomen had begun to swell unnaturally. Her parents initially thought their daughter had a large tumor, or something just as serious. After a while, they couldn’t take care of it themselves and knew that it was time to take her to a hospital. They had no idea what to expect once they arrived…
Taken to a Hospital
After being examined by a local doctor, Lina was transferred to a hospital in Lima, Peru. There, she came to the attention of Dr. Gérado Lozada, chief physician of the hospital. The large, abdominal swelling was examined and Dr. Lozada came to a startling discovery. Five-year-old Lina Medina was pregnant.
A five-year-old being pregnant was obviously a baffling circumstance. At first, Lina’s parents didn’t believe what the doctor was saying. How could they? How could their little girl be pregnant? Once Dr. Lozada looked into her medical history, the explanation became just a little bit clearer…
Lina’s medical history revealed that she had been having regular periods since the age of three and had developed full breasts. Not only that, but it also revealed that she had stopped menstruating for the past seven and a half months. This was equally unbelievable, of course, but explained why she was pregnant, if not how.
Faced with this impossibility, Dr. Lozada and his team did everything they could to make sure that Lina came to terms with the best health possible. Further examinations revealed a fetal heartbeat, and an additional X-ray eventually confirmed the pregnancy. There, inside this little girl, was a seven-month-old child, almost ready to be born…
And so, Lina Medina, who was five years, seven months, and 21 days old, made unforeseen medical history. In May of 1939, she gave birth to a six-pound little boy named Gerardo. The doctors had to perform a caesarean section because she was not physically capable of birthing the baby naturally. They named the baby after her doctor.
Her case was subsequently studied and reported in detail by Dr. Edmundo Escomel. The article was published in the medical journal La Presse Médicale and included additional details about the birth. It explained her breast size, her figure measurements, and even her pelvic widening width. The question still remained, however, who was Gerardo’s father?
Who is the Father?
Though questioned intensely about the identity of her father, Lina was never able to adequately describe or reveal the circumstances of her impregnation or who the father was. She was too young to understand the severity of the situation and was incapable of giving any sort of precise responses. Dr. Escomel even suggested she might not actually know herself.
Sadly, the burden of blame fell on the only male in Lina’s life, her father. He was arrested on suspicion of child abuse but was eventually released due to lack of evidence. In the meantime, due to the limited medical resources of the day and the region, the biological father was never found. At first, many people didn’t believe Lina’s amazing story….
Coverage of the case went worldwide in a matter of months, but many speculated that Lina’s disturbing case was simply a hoax. There were only a few photographs at the time, and much of the documentation for the case was part of either Medina’s private medical file or Dr. Escornel’s paper in the medical journal, which could have easily been faked.
In time, however, a number of doctors have verified the certainty of Lina’s condition and the subsequent birth of her son. They examined biopsies, X-rays of the fetal skeleton in utero, and photographs taken by the doctors caring for her in order to do so. The researchers also interviewed Lina herself, years later…
Lina, who was always well above normal intelligence for her age, knew what had happened to her. But she was also too young to remember most of the details. As such, the baby boy was considered her “brother” for a number of years until she and Gerardo were old enough to know the truth.
Once she had reached young adulthood, Lina worked as a secretary for the Lima clinic of Dr. Lozada. Her son’s namesake did everything possible to help give her an education and put her son through high school. Eventually, she fell in love….
Lina later married Raúl Jurado and together they had a second son in 1972. As of 2002, the elderly couple is currently living in the poor district of Lima known as “Chicago Chico”. Lina has declined to talk to reporters about Gerardo’s miraculous birth since she was a child.
No Scientific Explanation
By 1955, except for the basic explanation of “precocious puberty”, there was no explanation of how a five-year-old girl could possibly conceive a child. This type of extremely premature pregnancy had never been documented before. The doctors weren’t even sure at first how this type of hormonal upswing could even happen…
Several theories exist as to what might cause precocious puberty. One of which includes an increased caloric intake of foods rich in artificial hormones. Pesticides, such as DDT, could also have an effect on hormonal production. These may not have been factors in Lina’s case, however.
The U.S. press was also interested in this curious, strange, and disturbing story. Unable to contact Lina’s family, they got in touch with the doctors who had helped perform her cesarean section. Dr. Larrabure said the case was “truly astounding” and added that he hoped some United States scientific foundation would send help to the miraculous mother and her child. As it turned out, Lina wasn’t the only miracle mother of the 40’s either…
Another Child Mother…
A similar case was cited by the U.S. press about the case of a Russian girl who became a mother at the age of six-and-a-half. The physician who reported the case, a Dr. De Lee, said that the mother had the physical makeup of a girl 10 or 12 years old. No photograph of the alleged mother was ever provided.
As Young as Two
A study done in Denmark from 1993-2001 showed that there were other incidences of precocious puberty in girls less than two years of age as well, though that number was very small. About 0.5 per 10,000 Danish girls and boys had some sort of preternatural pubertal development.