The Age

Monday 30 August 1999

Following the grand family way


A grandmother aged 26 spoke yesterday of her shock when she discovered that her 12-year-old daughter had given birth.

The woman said she was devastated and that the birth had left the whole family deeply upset. But she promised that her family would pull together for the sake of her daughter and grandson.

Her daughter gave birth to a five-pound six-ounce (2.4-kilogram) boy on Thursday in the bathroom of their home in Rotherham, Yorkshire, northern England. She had not known she was pregnant.

The girl and her baby, who was born 36 weeks into the pregnancy, were both said to be doing well yesterday.

The baby's grandmother first gave birth at 14 and now has five children by two men. Her most recent child was born this month.

The woman, Britain's youngest grandmother, told a press conference at Rotherham police station: ``We had no idea she was pregnant. Nobody in the family did. She had put on a little bit of weight but we didn't suspect anything.

``I couldn't believe it when it started happening and I even threatened to smack an ambulance man when he said she had given birth.''

Police and social services will question the girl about the father's identity. No criminal investigation can begin until the girl has been interviewed later this week. Sex with a girl aged 12 is rape in Britain.

The girl saw her doctor in the weeks before the birth but the pregnancy was not detected. The day before the birth she was at hospital for a dental visit. Nobody realised anything was amiss.

Copyright © David Syme & Co 1999.