The world’s youngest grandmother was Rifca Stanescu, a 23 year old woman from the small Romanian town of Investi. While it’s perfectly natural and socially acceptable for women to have children when they are in their early 20’s, to be a grandmother at such a young age just burns the mind. I mean, how is this even feasibly possible, especially in an age where the trend is for women to delay starting a family until they are much older? Unfortunately for Rifca and her daughter Maria, not to mention other children in their community, it’s part of the cultural tradition.
Rifca Stanescu, the world’s youngest grandmother got her title following a series of events that could have been avoided had she been born elsewhere. When Rifca was 2 years old she was promised to a boy, with whom she would marry when she was 11 years old. She was certainly happy enough, as most adolescents are with their first loves. But as we all know, rarely does a first love last. But in her case it did. A year after she was married at 11, she game birth to her daughter Maria. The true tragedy is that the family, and cultural tradition was going to continue for Rifca’a daughter.
When Rifca’s daughter Maria was barely double digits in age, she married and fell pregnant to her new husband. Rifca had begged her daughter to stay in school and gain an education, hoping for better things for her daughter. But it wasn’t to be. Within only six months of being married, young Maria was pregnant with a son, who she delivered when she was 11 years old.
This birth made Rifca the world’s youngest grandmother in recorded history. Her own mother who was 40 at the time is now a great grandmother. That’s an age that many women in the western world have their own small children running around the house. OK, maybe not babies at 40, but certainly children under five.
But it looks like this disastrous trend for the family is set to continue. Maria’s sone, Ion, who is only two, is already engaged to marry a local girl who is eight years old. There is the distinct possibility that Rifca could become a great grandmother well before she turns 40.
I am happy to be a grandmother but I wished something else for Maria – and something else for me.
I did not try to stop my daughter getting married because this is the tradition, it’s what happens.
~Rifca Stanescu on becoming a grandmother at 23