Children Having Babies: 10 Year Old Colombian Girl Latest
When girls as young as ten or twelve have babies and word reaches the media, typical responses include outrage and shock. Yet for the 10-year-old Colombia girl who reportedly just gave birth after undergoing cesarean section, the event is not considered unusual according to her tribal culture.
Children have babies in the Wayuu tribe
According to a report in the Daily Mail, the young girl, who was 39 weeks pregnant when she arrived at the hospital, gave birth to a healthy girl who weighed in at about 5 pounds. The young mother had not seen a doctor throughout her entire pregnancy, and thus far the identity of the father has not been revealed.
While much of the world may be upset because such a young girl has given birth, such an event is part of the cultural heritage of the Wayuu tribe to which the girl belongs. And even though Colombian police could prosecute the father of the baby for engaging in sex with a minor, the country’s constitution allows the tribe to maintain its own sovereignty and certain practices.
Other young mothers
Children having babies is certainly not the norm in most cultures, but the Wayuu tribe is not the only group of people who do not find this event shocking. In late 2010, a 10-year-old Romanian girl gave birth to a daughter.
In this case, the father of the Romanian baby was a 13-year-old boy. Both the new mother and father are Roma gypsies, and among their cultural practices, marriage at age 10 is not unusual.
Although both the Colombian and Romanian girls are well outside the normal age for becoming a mother in most parts of the world, they are not the youngest mothers on record. A Peruvian girl named Lina Medina reportedly gave birth at age 6 years 5 months to a healthy baby boy.
Peru was also the home of another young mother, Hilda Trujillo, who was 9 years, 7 months, and 28 days old when she gave birth to her daughter. Her pregnancy was the result of rape by her 22-year-old cousin.
Children having babies occurs in the United States as well. Ten-year-old Annie Epps of Chicago reportedly gave birth to a girl on April 9, 1910. More recently, an unidentified eleven-year-old girl from Mount Clemens, Michigan, gave birth to a baby in August 2011. Her mother’s 28-year-old boyfriend was charged with rape.
The Wayuu way of life
The Wayuu is an Amerindian group that occupies the La Guajira Peninsula in northern Colombia and northwest Venezuela. A typical settlement is composed of five or six houses, and the people never form towns, preferring to stay isolated so they can better control their goat herds.
In the case of the 10-year-old Colombian girl from the Wayuu tribe, Alejandro Samplayo, director of the parenthood organization called Instituto Colombiano Bienestar Familiar, noted that “Since it’s a Wayuu girl we are trying to respect all of their rights since they have autonomy and their own jurisdiction.”
Bail set at $1M in case of 11-year-old mom. United Press International, Nov. 6, 2011; retrieved April 6, 2012
Stork brings girl to 10-year-old mother. The Toledo News-Bee, April 13, 1910; retrieved Dec. 9, 2011
Image: Wikimedia Commons