11 Year Old Roma Child Marries and Gives Birth in the Same Day
On October 22nd, in the Roma ghetto of Sliven, Bulgaria; blushing bride Kordeza Zhelyazkova and her proud husband, Jeliazko Dimitrov, snuck out in the middle of their wedding festivities. Apparently they left in the nick of time too. Just 20 minutes after arriving at the local hospital, Kordeza gave birth to a beautiful 5 1/2 lb baby girl, the couple named Violeta.
In a county full of teen brides and young mothers, Kordeza has set a new record, at just 11 years old, she became the youngest mother of them all. According to the UK 'News of the World'.
Last year, 177 underage Roma teens gave birth in Sliven. Giving it the dubious distinction of the "underage mums capital of Europe." Sonya Mihaylova, an obstetrician at the hospital where tiny Violeta was born confirmed; "This is the youngest child who ever gave birth in our ward."
While their families support the couple, 33 year old Reina, mother of Kordeza and new grandmother, says she felt her daughter was too young and admits it is not what she wanted for her. "Kordeza is still a child and I hope to do everything I can to make sure she isn't robbed of her time."
While Kordeza's family worry's about their child raising a child. The new dad, 19 year old Jeliazko and his family have other worries. He is currently under investigation for having sex with a girl under the age of 14. If the Prosecutor's Office procedes with charges, he will face up to six years in jail, if convicted.
Jeliazko says, he had no idea Kordeza had just celebrated her 11th birthday when they met. He saw her on the playground at her school, where she was being teased by a group of boys that he chased away. "Then she arranged to meet me and asked me out on our first date. I thought she was 15." Kordeza admits she didn't tell him otherwise, for fear he would think she was too young. He says; "We didn't plan to have sex or a baby, although I fell in love with Kordeza the moment I saw her."
Kordeza was living with her grandmother and going to school, while her parents were in Spain, working the vineyards. When Dida, 55 noticed her grand daughter had put on weight, she asked her if she was alright. Initially Kordeza shrugged off her grandmother's questions and Dida allowed her to. She says, she never imagined the child was having sex; thinking she was a shy youngster who was doing well in school, liked playing with the computer and doing her school work.
Then Kordeza told her grandmother, she had met a boy. Dida brought home a pregnancy test, and it was positive. Her 11 year old grand daughter, was almost 6 months pregnant. Kordeza claims she was as shocked as everyone, when she found out she was expecting a baby in just a few short months. Saying,"I just thought I'd been eating too many burgers."
Kordeza claims she had no knowledge of birth control, pregnancy, sex or even how conception occurs. While granny hit the roof, Kordeza "cried and cried" over the positive pregnancy test.
Following up on this story, I've seen a lot of comments about the failure of the state and schools for not teaching Sex Ed. I have mixed feelings on the subject. While they live in a state with the highest incidence of under age births in all of Europe, most eleven year olds are not ready for or in need of Sex ED. This is the age they need to learn about the changes in their bodies with puberty, not pregnancy. Try telling a ten or eleven year old girl about condoms, you'll find yourself surrounded by nervous giggles and some outright laughter.
In a culture so different from that of world around them, the Roma still try to live by old ways, whenever they can. The traditional gypsy wedding lasts 3 days and has no officiant. Their tradition is as important to them, as ours is to us. Also in their culture, for the sake of a woman, the wedding needs to happen before the birth of a child.
For this reason, the Zhelyazkova Family planned the wedding the week before Kordeza was due to give birth in October. As anyone who has tried to made plans around an impending birth knows, the due date is only an estimate and babies have habit of coming when they will, usually at the most inopportune time possible. Baby Violeta was no exception to this rule.
Kordeza said she started having pains early in day two of the wedding. Two hours into the ceremony and still dressed in her wedding gown, she was rushed to the hospital. Violeta made her entrance just 20 minutes later. After a short rest with her new baby, Kordeza slipped back into her gown and slipped out of the hospital, to finish her wedding ceremony.
For the time being, the young couple will not be living as man and wife. While her husband is under investigation, for having sex with a minor, Kordeza is living in a sparse one bedroom apartment, with no bathroom. It is in an urban jungle, surrounded by other tiny apartments, exactly like it. She and the baby get a small stipend from the government each month and she has the support of her family; who just like Jeliazko want more for their daughter.
Proud of her tiny namesake, Violeta Dimitrov the original, shares guardianship of the baby with Reina, to prevent family services from taking custody. She says she is very worried for her son. "Jeliazko is a good boy and a hard worker. He wants to take care of his wife and their baby. They should let him do that and he can't do that, if he is put in prison."
Echoing his mother, "I am going to work hard and make sure we all have a good life," Jeliazko promised. "I want Violeta to be educated, to be able to read and write. She was born famous and maybe she will stay famous like becoming a doctor who invents brilliant medicine or saves lives.
Too bad he doesn't want the same for his child bride. Just days after the birth of her baby, in a voice too mature for her years; Kordeza said she is not going back to school -"I am a mother now. Violeta is the child and I must grow up." She admitted; "It feels strange to be a mum and have a baby." After saying, it is time to put aside her childhood, she sounded much more the child she is, when she added; "I used to play with my toys but now she is my new toy."
The next generation, off to a shaky start; as history repeats it's cycle of babies having babies.
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