On January 20, in Kharkov, Ukraine, an 11-year-old schoolgirl Alena gave a birth to a baby, making her 28-year old mother a grandmother to the newborn boy.
While awaiting the delivery, Alena was frustrated that she could not attend the school’s New Year celebration. Her mother and school teachers visited the girl in the ward of the maternity hospital where the pregnant child was placed for special medical treatment long before the delivery. The mother made both school and hospital keep the girl’s name secret. No stranger (including the girl’s friends) is allowed to the hospital.
The girl’s mother was so busy selling goods at a big marketplace in Kharkov, that the teacher was the first person to notice that the girl’s belly was too big. The doctor’s verdict was shocking: she was pregnant, and her fetus was of great vitality. The girl was immediately taken to hospital, and the best local gynecologists started treating her. It was too late to have an abortion. While academicians were thinking how to make the pre-delivery period and the process of delivery easier for the girl, her mother threatened the doctors that she … would sue them for revealing the confidential information about her daughter’s condition.
Many people feel sorry for Alena's mother. She has two daughters, neither husband nor her own apartment and has to rent a part of a cottage. The only man involved in the family drama – a 23-year-old-neighbor, Uzbek by nationality, came back to Uzbekistan feeling that his relationship with the 11-year-old girl can be qualified as crime. According to the girl, the neighbor often visited them, brought candies and toys. The girl who had no father quickly became attached to the kind neighbor. The man used this for taking advantage of her. Even today the girl is sure that this is an ordinary way of behavior the father conducts to his daughter.
Surprisingly, the girl’s mother tried neither to find the escaped man nor to report the incident to the police. She said that the girl had not been raped, she had agreed to have sex. The doctors concentrated on the girl’s treatment and did not tell much to the public about the girl. When her mother realized that any leak to the press can become the grounds for starting a criminal case where she can be a defendant, she “declared a war” to reporters.
For over a month the pregnant child did not realize what was going on. When the fetus started moving, the girl beat onto her belly. She believed the doctors “would cure her”. When the nurse tried to explain to the girl that there was a baby inside her and she mustn’t beat it, the girl started shouting and crying. Psychological preparation of the child for having her own baby was the most difficult thing for the doctors.
“She is a usual child, her organism is not more mature than of any girl of her age”, said Academician, Head of Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics Valentin Grishenko. “Her pregnancy was normal, although she would not be able to deliver a baby in the natural way and had Cesarean birth”.
There have already been similar precedents in the city. In the end of the 70s a 12-year-old girl had a baby. The baby’s father was its grandfather, that is this girl’s father.
“I can recall even a case of a 6-year-old mother”, the Academician said. “The girl’s grandfather was the father of the baby. It happened in 1935 in Kharkov. My father (who was assistant professor at that time) and Professor Kozhinsky handled the delivery. I was a child and I used to play with the little mother, we were even filmed together to demonstrate that this girl had a psycho of a child. Although the girl had a premature puberty, which attracted her grandfather. Unfortunately, her baby was born dead. But the 12-year-old mother in the 70s had a healthy baby.
Doctors believe that the prejudices about early motherhood are caused by the society morale and high degree of medical risk. However, the baby in such cases should not suffer because of the society condemnation.
Nobody can say how Alena’s child can be raised – she herself is a child. Guardianship Institutions will decide on the future of the newborn child. No doubts the child will be transferred to the orphanage after the maternity hospital. His 11-year-old mother is preoccupied with another problem – going back to school as soon as possible. Her grades were good, and she wants to continue having a good school progress record.
Marina Korets, Stanislav Prokopchuk