A Private Matter
Once Lina Medina’s pregnancy became generally known, it caused garnered attention from all over the world.
Newspapers in Peru unsuccessfully offered the Medina family thousands of dollars for the rights to interview and to film their daughter.
Newspapers in the United States had a similar field day reporting on the anomaly while hinting at the salacious details in every paragraph.
Offers were even made to pay the family and to bring them to the United States for what amounted to a freak show, though it certainly wasn’t called that.
Medina and her family declined to speak publically.
It was perhaps inevitable, given the astounding nature of Medina’s condition and her aversion to scrutiny, that some observers would accuse her family of hoaxing the whole affair.
In the over 80 years that’s passed, this seems unlikely to be the case. Neither Medina nor her family has tried to capitalize on the story in any way, and medical records from the time provide ample documentation of her condition.
Only two photographs are known to have been taken of Medina while she was pregnant and only one of those, a low-resolution profile picture was ever published outside of the medical literature.
Her case file also contains numerous accounts by doctors who treated her, as well as clearly defined X-rays of her abdomen that show the bones of a developing fetus inside her body.
Blood work confirmed her pregnancy in the usual way, and the papers published in the literature all passed peer-review without a hitch, suggesting that contemporary researchers couldn’t find fault with the reported facts of Medina’s case.
Even with all of the documentation to back up her story, every request for an interview has been refused by Medina and her family.
In fact, she would go on to avoid publicity for the rest of her life, regularly refusing to sit for interviews with international wire services, local newspapers, and sensational television programs alike.
Medina’s aversion to the spotlight continues to this day.
Lina Medina’s Later Life After Becoming The World’s Youngest Mother
Lina Medina seems to have gotten good medical care, especially for the time and place in which she lived, and gave birth to a healthy baby boy.
Delivery was by cesarean section because, despite Medina’s prematurely widened hips, her slim frame was still not adequate in terms of passing a full-sized child through the birth canal.
The child was named Gerardo, after the doctor who first examined Medina, and the infant went home to the family’ village of Ticrapo when he was released from the hospital.
While many reporters and doctors made attempts to examine her further, the only other expert who did was Paul Koask, a specialist in child education at Columbia University.
She visited the Medina family two years after the birth and found that the young girl was “above normal intelligence” and that the baby was “perfectly normal.”
“She thinks of the child as a baby brother and so does the rest of the family,” Koask reported.
An obstetrician named Jose Sandoval, who wrote a book Medin’a case, said that she preferred to play with her dolls rather than her child.
Gerardo grew up thinking that Medina was his older sister, and only found out the truth when he was a teenager.
Interviewed for the 1955 profile on his and his mother’s life, Gerardo claimed that he wanted to be a doctor when he grew up. Despite having no known defects or other health issues, Gerardo died relatively young, at age 40, in 1979, of bone disease.
Aside from her record-breaking status as a mother, Medina went on to live an ordinary life in Peru.
In her young adulthood, she found work as a secretary for the doctor who attended the birth, which paid her way through school. At roughly the same time, Medina managed to put Gerardo through school as well.
She married a man named Raul Jurado sometime in the early 1970s, and gave birth to her second child in 1972, at the age of 39. Medina and Raul were not wealthy people, and as of 2002, the couple were still married and living in a poor neighbourhood in Lima known as Chicago Chico.
Given her lifelong attitude toward publicity and the prying eyes of curious outsiders, it may be for the best that Lina Medina’s life remains private. If still alive, she would be in her 80s today.