Mother of the 10-year-old who gave birth shocked by uproar

The Romanian mother of the 10-year-old girl who gave birth in Spain recently is shocked that people are shocked that her daughter gave birth.  (Did you get all that?)

From The Huffington Post:

“MADRID — A Romanian Gypsy woman whose 10-year-old daughter just gave birth in Spain says she’s delighted to have a new granddaughter and doesn’t understand why the birth has shocked anyone – let alone become an international sensation….”

“She also said she didn’t understand the attention the case was generating because she and her daughter are Romanian Gypsies, or Roma, and their custom is to allow girls to marry young even though that’s against the law in Romania.”

” ‘That’s the way we get married,’ the girl’s mother told reporters Tuesday outside the modest apartment building in the southern town of Lebrija where the family lives.”…

For the record Romanian law allows girls to marry at 16 with parental consent or at 18 without it.

“But arranged “marriages” between teenagers are relatively common among Roma, who make up about 1.5 million of Romania’s 22 million people. Families “marry off” daughters when they reach puberty, with the ‘husband’ usually being a couple of years older. The marriages are not recognized by the state.”

I completely understand that different cultures handle things different ways, but as the mother of a 9-year old, I can’t imagine her having a child next year.  She can barely take care of herself much less another life.

I am fascinated by the child’s mother who is happy to be a grandmother and doesn’t get all the fuss!

Could the culture be that different in Romania or is it just in the Romanian Gypsy culture? What do you make of the 10-year-old having the baby? What do you make of the mother’s comments? Are there other cultures where it’s still acceptable for girls to have babies that young?

61 comments Add your comment

YUKI

November 5th, 2010
1:06 pm

Um, sorry but I don’t care what your culture is. Ten years old is too young to have a child. It’s actually ridiculous. I don’t have a ten year old child, but I have a ten year old niece and the the thought of her having a child much less having sex is absurd.
This has to be a unique case. Certainly it’s not normal. Many girls that age can’t physically have babies anyway.

JustMy2Cents

November 5th, 2010
1:07 pm

I feel sorry for both of the children! The grandmother is an idiot. She is lucky her child did not die in childbirth. Along those same lines…why the h3ll is a 9/10 year old having sex???????? If the culture is truly that different…I am so glad I wasn’t raised there!

Jeff

November 5th, 2010
1:43 pm

Kinda puts Gloria Allred’s latest sexism claim in to perspective doesn’t it?

Eric

November 5th, 2010
1:46 pm

As a person who “accidentally” became a father at 16, I know exactly how hard it was for us. We were definitely NOT mature enough to deal with it and screwed up everything we could possibly screw up, and our son has paid the price. Fortunately he didn’t follow in our footsteps, but I just became a grandpa at 41. Looking back I realize that this accident robbed us of so much of our future potential. We were fortunate because we had parents that helped support us in every way, making our lives so much easiser than others in our situation. I can’t even begin to imagine having a child at 10 years old. There is absolutely no way this child is mature enough or prepared to deal with raising a child of her own. Not only is this new childs future in jeopardy, but the new mothers life has also been robbed from her. I agree, why are these children having sex? Where the hell were the parents, did they condone this? I understand different cultures have various practices, but when those practices continue a cycle of destroying the opportunities of generations to come, it’s time to rethink your value system.

jablonski

November 5th, 2010
1:48 pm

This is proof that the majority of the worlds population should be sterilized.

FCM

November 5th, 2010
1:50 pm

Drat I keep looking for the sexist man post you mentioned yesterday.

ON TOPIC:

Obviously this woman (grandmother) was raised in the same culture so no it is not surprising she would feel that way….By the way how old is “Grandma” she likely had children in her early teens too. Does that make all this “right” or fix all the issues the 10 yo is likely to have? No.

If it were to happen here the new “mom” would be with DFACS adn “grandma” would be up on charges. That in is the basic difference.

FCM

November 5th, 2010
1:53 pm

ooops sexiest man….but anyway

Michelle

November 5th, 2010
1:53 pm

Sex at 10?! I am SO thankful that is not our culture! That child’s body was not even fully developed in a normal sense, and then to throw pregnancy on top it! That is just crazy!

Akilah

November 5th, 2010
1:57 pm

As the mother of an 11yr old boy and 9yr old girl, I still can’t wrap my mind around the concept of a 10 yr old PARENT. I have to remind mines to feed their hamsters, I can’t fathom the thought of either of them having to be responsible for a newborn. Still in shock over this story.

EnoughAlready

November 5th, 2010
1:57 pm

The culture is very different in a lot of countries and it’s not unusual to see girls in those countries pregnant/unmarried or pregnant/married to an old man. We can’t expect all cultures to adide by our laws or morals that we hold.

We have cultures that we hold dear that others find insulting and immoral; but people don’t expect us to drop them and follow their lead.

I wouldn’t want to be a mom at 10 or have my daughter become a mother any time soon; but I do respect the cultures of others.

JATL

November 5th, 2010
2:00 pm

It’s not Romanian culture -it IS Romanian “gypsy” culture (and the don’t like the term “gypsy”). Haven’t you seen news reports about how every country in Europe runs the Roma out of town and country whenever they get a chance? They have problems just about everywhere they go because of this type of thing and the fact that they’re viewed as dirty, thieving, dishonest con artists who will trash up a place in a hurry. Are they all that way? I don’t know, but stories like this don’t shed a very good light on them. Another argument from many European communities is that they’re uneducated and don’t school their children. This case points to that as well. Regardless of their culture or anything else, any 10 year old any where who gives birth is sad and upsetting. Her mother is probably just like her (how old is she -25?) and so was her mother before her. It’s pathetic, but these ideas aren’t so far from home either. Recently on another mom-blog I visit, there was a topic about teenage pregnancy, and you would be horrified at how many nuts came out of the woodwork saying they wished there were MORE teenagers having babies -that it was wonderful and a great time to grow up and start a family! Ignorant doesn’t even begin to describe it…

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/17/world/europe/17roma.html

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/sep/16/roma-europe-pariah-people

JATL

November 5th, 2010
2:03 pm

@Michelle -you would be horrified at how many 10,11 and 12 year olds are having sex right here. It’s been going on for awhile too! I had a student 10 years ago who was 14 with a 2 year old, so she became a mother at 12. My mother was in her Gyno’s office about 10 years ago as well and he told her he had to cut it short because he had a 12 year old in labor at the hospital -and this is in a relatively small town about an hour south of here. The numbers for kids this age continue to rise, so even though your kids aren’t doing it -they may be in school with kids who are. Scary!

iRun

November 5th, 2010
2:04 pm

I’m getting sterilized on Tuesday!!! YAAAAAYYYYY!

T.

November 5th, 2010
2:05 pm

The Romany culture has been around for centuries and they keep to themselves for the most part, living a nomadic lifestyle. They do marry off their daughters very young but not usually THAT young. I’m guessing the girl ended up in a Madrid hospital instead of having the baby at home or nobody would have even known about it. Let’s hope someone checks into how the other girls in her family are faring or it could get even more horrific.

JATL

November 5th, 2010
2:05 pm

@EnoughAlready -do you also respect the cultural tradition of female circumcision? Culture is one thing, but all cultures have practices that have either been abandoned or need to be because they came out of the stone age! As far as I’m concerned, cultures need to grow and change with the times or they ought to go ahead and die out forever. Cruelty and ignorance should never be accepted under the guise of “culture.”

iRun

November 5th, 2010
2:06 pm

FYI, I believe the father of this child is of a similar age as the mother….both kids.

iRun

November 5th, 2010
2:08 pm

Eric, your story is the same as my mother-in-law’s. So, she’s 51 with a 36 year old son and a 9 year old grandson.

Considering how well my husband turned out she is to be admired.

But she’s also an example of a lost childhood.

As for children having sex…well, not to condone this, but other cultures don’t view it as strange. I have no problems with trying to change that culture but it is what it is and i suppose I’ve been around the block enough times not to be surprised.

FCM

November 5th, 2010
2:12 pm

Parts of the story left out above but VITAL to perspective:

The “father” of the baby is a 13 yo boy still in Romania. The 10 yo was with him until about a month ago—they broke up and being a 10yo pregnant person: SHE WENT TO HER MOTHER.

The real issue Spain is having: It is child abuse in that country when a 10yo is having sex. They cannot figure out/who how to charge since all this happened in Romania. I mean the 10yo didn’t have sex in Spain…she just gave birth there.

” In contrast, news about the 10-year-old mother barely registered in Romania, with stories buried inside newspapers focusing on the controversy the birth had caused among Spaniards.”

In fact the story shows that it found precedent supporting the “grandma’s” claim:

“In 2003, there was an international outcry after the European Union envoy to Romania, Baroness Emma Nicholson, demanded that a 12-year-old Roma girl and her 15-year-old common-law husband separate and cease all intimate relations until they were legally able to be married.”

FCM

November 5th, 2010
2:14 pm

One other thought….it is widely believed that the Blessed Mother was 14.

(Again, I have 2 daughters in/around 10….I tell them daily how they need to WAIT…..Then wait some more….like until they are done with Grad School)

lwa

November 5th, 2010
2:27 pm

@ enoughalready – I would tend to agree with you. A 10 y.o. is young according to the our culture but what about another. Maybe this is just their lifestyle and guess what, they are ok with it. Who are we to judge????? It just doesn’t sit well with me when “the great americans” want to push their ideals on everyone else like we are soooooo right. People have lived in other cultures for thousands of years and are doing just fine and with no worries. Is there a cause for alarm? Probably. Who is going to take up the charge? Probably no one on this blog.

However, Americans should stop acking like the “GREAT WHITE HOPE” and we have the answers for all… SMH.

bunch of yentas

November 5th, 2010
2:42 pm

It would be interesting to know how old the Grandmother is.

Nofreecheese

November 5th, 2010
2:43 pm

I can’t believe how judgmental people are. You all should be gushing about how wonderful Gypsie/Roma culture is rather than comdemning it. Who are we to impose our ethnocentric values on them. If Gypsies want to be nomadic, allow their prepubescent children to marry, have sex, and bear children, who are we to interfere. If Islamic cultures “choose” to live under Sharia and stone accused adulterers to death, who are we to impose our values on them? The UN did the right thing getting the hell out of Rwanda when the Hutus massacered 800,000 (+/-) Tutsi; it’s their internal afairs and who are we to intervene? Sadam Hussein should have been allowed to resolve his internal affairs the best way he saw fit; if he chose to gas ethnic Kurds, we should have respected their culture and not interfered. Female circumcision is a part of many cultures; we shouldn’t pass judgment.

Obviously, AT SOME POINT A SOCIETY OR CULTURE CROSSES A LINE WHICH IMPLORES BETTER AND MORE ENLIGHTENED FOREIGNERS TO INTERVENE!

fer

November 5th, 2010
2:44 pm

I hate to break it to you, but there are 10-, 11-, and 12-year olds having sex right here in good old GA! I have known of at least 3 in that age range who had babies. Wake up and don’t be so shocked.

JATL

November 5th, 2010
2:50 pm

@TWG -why is my first comment STILL awaiting moderation? Because of the links? They’re from two legitimate news sources -the UK’s Guardian and the NY Times -both on the recent push in EU countries to send the Roma back to Romania.

Nofreecheese

November 5th, 2010
2:51 pm

Fer: The difference is that even though it does happen, it’s not condoned. Women get beat by their husbands in the US as well, but they are ostracised and prosecuted (unlike some “traditional” societies).

Everyone doesn't have to be like you

November 5th, 2010
3:02 pm

Good for the mother to take such a stance. Would I want my 10 year old daughter to give birth? Of course not. But we live in this culture. Just because they are different doesn’t mean you all should force your elitist values onto them. Our society seems to be pushing to delay “growing up” more and more. Fact is mother nature alowed that girl/women/female to be able to physicaly give birth. If that girl and family is ok with it then so am I. I wish like hell our country would quit being so judgemental and mind your own buisness.

nuts!

November 5th, 2010
3:09 pm

Using this math, Grams might be 22 or 23! WOW!

Hormone Horrors

November 5th, 2010
3:10 pm

In not one of the comments do I see any discussion of the fact that this girl is able to become pregnant at such a young age. Statistically the age of puberty has been dropping worldwide significantly in the past 50 years. The reasons are many, but are primarily the massive use of growth and reproductive hormones in beef and dairy cows, the use of bis-phenol A or BPA in virtually every plastic and in the linings of virtually every canned good. This compound has a chemical behavior similar to estrogen in the human body and it is causing the feminization of boys and the early puberty onset among girls. What it is doing to the adult population is still unclear.

Children aren’t supposed to be reproductively capable at this early age. It certainly isn’t supposed to be the norm, but none of you even seem to question it. How many 10 year olds did you know that had entered puberty or had their first period? Yes, obesity can contribute as well, but the age has been dropping among everyone.

It is fine to have a discussion about kids having sex, but a better discussion would be how the worthless FDA and EPA have allowed our food supply to become so dangerous that it is altering the maturation of our children. There is no liability and the problem certainly won’t go away with the government’s help.

JATL

November 5th, 2010
3:14 pm

@Everyone doesn’t have to be like you -if thinking 10 year olds don’t need to be having sex or babies makes me “elitist” then sign me up! Because of the way nature made all of us, people can have sex with dogs too, but it’s disgusting and abhorrent to us -or are you that genius in south Georgia they arrested for that the other day?

Wow

November 5th, 2010
3:14 pm

RYOFA lady, you even said the answer to your question in it. Romania has its own laws, but these Roma do as they have done for years, and the state does not recognize it.

Kat

November 5th, 2010
3:17 pm

Why do people want to judge this grandmother and her daughter? It’s a different culture. You live in yours, they live in theirs. Why is yours right and theirs wrong? This grandmother is happy about the new baby. Why should she be condemned? If it’s not a problem for her, then why is it a problem for you?

Photius

November 5th, 2010
3:19 pm

The majority of Christian denominations concur the Virgin Mary gave birth at 14. Just and FYI….

JATL

November 5th, 2010
3:23 pm

@Kat -I don’t think anyone wants the poor baby to be shunned or anything, but people are horrified that, in 2010, it would be considered acceptable for a 10 year old LITTLE GIRL to have a baby. I love all of you extremely politically correct folks -you’re SO PC that it’s okay with your for children to be having sex and babies and I guess female circumcision IS okay as well as stoning people to death for adultery or homosexuality. They can have their “culture” out the wazhoo, but as I said before -ignorance and cruelty don’t pass for “culture” in my book. A people’s stories, music, art, food, dance, clothing -those things are culture, not systematic ignorance and child abuse.

JATL

November 5th, 2010
3:31 pm

@ Photius -that was 2000 years ago! I think we would all agree that times have changed a wee bit, don’t you think? Plus, while I hate to see 14 year olds have babies (and many do), 14 is far removed from 10. Four years doesn’t make a huge difference when you reach adulthood, but in childhood and adolescence, those 4 years herald remarkable changes in a girl’s body and maturity.

TC

November 5th, 2010
3:37 pm

My concern is for the physical health of the child mother. Recently another 10 year old died giving birth because her body was not yet physically mature enough to handle the stress and mechanics of child birth. I agree with the person who said we are seeing trends towards younger & younger pubescence because we have more hormones making them mature unnaturally. It would be interesting to see, but doubtful if there are any statistics from Romania or other “child bride” countries on “age when giving birth” now vs 10 years ago and stats on death/survival rates of these child mothers now vs 10 years ago.

And yes, it is happening here to. My mother just retired from teaching and she has had pregnant 10, 11 and 12 year olds in her class. “Precious” is unfortunately not fiction.

YUKI

November 5th, 2010
3:44 pm

I agree with JATL. 10 years old?? Come on!!! I don’t have any daughters but I have a 10 year old niece and the thought of her becoming a parent is absurd. Regardless of what the “culture” is….a 10 year old is a child and in now way responsible enough to have a baby to care for. Most girls aren’t even capable of bearing children at ten years old- I wasn’t. If the mother wanted a baby so bad she should have just had one herself!

Nofreecheese

November 5th, 2010
3:45 pm

Everyone doesn’t have to be like you: I was being satirical in my post–please tell me you were as well. We sould all believe in “live and let live” and respect other cultures (doesn’t mean we have to like them); however, there are limits. As long as the Germans limited their “final solution” to inside of their borders, should the world have stood by? Which, by the way, is what the world did.

ThisHappensEverywhere

November 5th, 2010
3:54 pm

I hate to say it but the problem with Americans..is that we are Americans…this means we expect that the WHOLE WORLD is like us..WELL..sorry..WAKE UP AND TRAVEL OUTSIDE OF THIS COUNTRY BEFORE YOU MAKE COMMENTS..sadly MOST Americans DO NOT TRAVEL to another country unless it is RESORT…there are all kinds of things happening around the world that we in our “civilized” society find unacceptable…HOWEVER..other countries find no fault..from mutilation of young girls, to child labor to so much more…yes we may be shocked and appalled but it isn’t our country or culture..just like many countries see us in a negative light as well, full of greed, drugs, violence, corruption and more. So if you are going to be shocked it should be about what is happening in your own backyard and then do something about it!

BRETT SHEPHERD

November 5th, 2010
3:58 pm

its juts a matter of time before it happens here. The problem is that when it does, the little girl will be an instant celebrity and then so will her pathetic mother and father. Next we will be reporting the story of the 18 year old grandparents…OUR WORLD IS A EFFIN MESS AND ITS ONLY GOING TO GET WORSE!

JATL

November 5th, 2010
4:09 pm

@ThisHappensEverywhere -I’ve traveled all over the world, and what I’ve found is that educated people everywhere are pretty horrified by this type of incident. This is a blog in the U.S., but the nation that is horrified and outraged about it is Spain. I think Nofreecheese summed it up pretty well -in your opinion you think we should never speak out against disgusting and atrocious practices deemed “OK” by other countries or cultures. That’s what you’re saying here. SO, if Germany hadn’t started rolling over other countries, they should have been allowed to exterminate all of the Jews (and Gypsies -this girls ethnic group was highly targeted then) and everyone else they deemed undesirable? What’s been happening in Rwanda and Darfur is a-ok, right? What about the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia? Man, there’s some culture for you! Have you seen those huge piles of skulls from the people killed there? What art! Personally, I’m a big fan of Sharia religious culture -women are nothing but the property of men and people should be brutally executed for even supposedly committing adultery or having premarital sex or God forbid being gay and a host of other issues. Hey -how about my own southern, white culture? Why, I think I’ll go buy a Klan robe, and do you think we can get some people on the bandwagon to bring back slavery? I am seriously tired of doing my own house and yard work or actually paying someone to do it for me. What a shame that “culture” changed with the times -everyone should have left well enough alone! I do plenty to try and prevent this type of thing from happening in my own backyard, but that doesn’t mean I think it should be just fine anywhere else in the world.

jarvis

November 5th, 2010
4:10 pm

Look who’s calling people ignorant.

Most Americans don’t travel outside of the country? Where did you get that statistic?
Why don’t you take out children under 18 and people with low income levels that can’t afford to travel, and then report your stats.

CDW

November 5th, 2010
4:15 pm

There is nothing wrong with Grandma. That is how she was raised, and that is how she raised her child.

There are a lot of practices in the world that are completely contrary to ours. I’m not suggesting that we should condone 10 year-old mothers here in the US, but in those places that do, the children are raised with the expectation that females will get married and bear children once they hit puberty.

Here we do our best to keep our teens from having sex at all, much less have babies, but in many places it would be bizarre and likely socially ostracizing for a girl that DIDN’T get married at least in her teens. That is what they were raised to expect. These are also not cultures that worry at all about girls getting educations. There is no “future potential” to be robbed of. The culture expects the girls to get married, make and raise babies. Period.

Americans also generally have a very low expectation of maturity from our youth until they are at least 18 but really into their 20’s (delay “growing up” as someone said). That is contrary to many Western European countries where primary education ends at 16, and if you are not college-bound you get out and get a real, honest-to-good-pay-the-bills job, not some part-time mall gig for spending money.

As for being responsible, I know several folks who grew up in situations where they had to take care of siblings when they were still children themselves. They rose to the occasion because the parents were not able or willing to do so. The cultures that expect girls to marry young are also generally extended families with several generations living together, so the grandmothers, great-grandmothers, etc. teach and help (not hard to achieve with only 10-15 years separating the generations).

So no – I don’t see this sort of thing ever being acceptable here, but that doesn’t make it anyone’s business there.

Nofreecheese

November 5th, 2010
4:20 pm

@ JATL: Oh–thanks for reminding me–who the hell are we to condemn Iran for allowing the executions of gays; they should be allowed to have a gay-free culture by any means the deem appropriate!

Katatl

November 5th, 2010
4:27 pm

I am forty and I was capable of reproducing at ten, but not physically or mentally ready. My daughter is now eleven and is capable herself. I’m not sure the chemicals have everything to do with the early on set as much as simple genetics. However, if anyone laid a hand on my daughter in that manner at such an early age they wouldn’t live to tell about it! Culture or not its sick!

Denise

November 5th, 2010
5:46 pm

@Hormone Horror – I was 10 when I became a “young lady” (that’s what we called it) and my mother was 9 (she’s 61). I was not the first of my friends So way back when there were a few girls who had their first periods very early. At any rate, I didn’t know that just because you were a young lady that you could actually get pregnant at that age until I was way past that age. I was not having sex either so I wasn’t at risk but I didn’t know the biology around menstruation then to know what could happen. That is scary thinking of how young “young ladies” are having sex; they may not even be aware that pregnancy is POSSIBLE at 10.

Beck

November 5th, 2010
5:46 pm

Jarvis – so people only count if they have enough money to travel?

Now, who is being elitist?

“According to the State Department, is 68 million, or around 22% of the population. That means roughly only 1 out of 4.5 Americans can even visit Canada, let alone travel to anywhere else in the world.”

http://www.theexpeditioner.com/2010/02/17/how-many-americans-have-a-passport-2/

with clickable links to statistics and sources.

I’ve seen statistics in the last year that stated that only about 2% of Americans EVER venture beyond the Caribbean and that most of the Caribbean trips are cruises.

Allyanaz

November 5th, 2010
6:09 pm

Why do American’s think they have the best way of living, the best customs, the best of everything…enough so that they can go around the world and change cultures and customs of others? And here we are in our own big swamp not knowing where the plug is with our teenagers sexting each other and hanging themselves and posting nude photos of themselves.

catlady

November 5th, 2010
6:10 pm

This routinely happens to the Guatemalan girls here. As soon as they are “women”, they are “given” to a man, often older, and they disappear, frequently back to Guatemalan where they will not be detained. I have lost a couple of girls already this way. It makes me sick! Girls who don’t want to be “given away”, who want to stay in school, who want nothing to do with the 30 year old their Dad has decided they will go to.

Last summer people in our system did everything they could do to save a precious girl, to no avail.

catlady

November 5th, 2010
6:38 pm

And her little sister,age 11, waits, knowing what awaits her. And while she will probably survive the rape, the impregnation/birth will kill her,as she has a defective heart *which the American taxpayers have paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to repair.

There is an even younger daughter, born in the USA of illegal immigrants, who has about 10 years till she suffers the same fate.

And why won’t the authorities step in, arrest the stepfather and mother for pandering, jail them for a while, and then deport them?

Folks, it isn’t just “over there.”

JATL

November 5th, 2010
6:54 pm

@catlady -you’re so right that it isn’t just over there! But I guess many on this blog feel that we should do nothing, lest we trample upon their precious cultural standards. Pathetic!