Lifestyle & Belief

Romania: Rifca Stanescu, grandmother at 23, speaks out


A Roma grandmother hangs out in a street of a village near Arges, southern Romania, on Nov. 27, 2009, during a visit of social workers informing people on voluntary family planning and reproductive health issues in an effort to improve awareness about choices for contraception.


Thomas Coex

Rifca Stanescu, a Romanian woman who became a grandmother at 23, has told a British newspaper how she felt about her daughter, Maria, having a child at 11.

Stanescu, now 25, from the village of Investi, gave birth to her daughter when she was 12, Britain's The Sun reported.

Stanescu's daughter Maria, whom she begged to stay in school and finish her education, married at age 11 and within six months became pregnant with baby Ion. Rifca herself reportedly eloped with her husband, Ionel, when she was 11 and he 13.

“I did not try to stop my daughter getting married because this is the tradition, it’s what happens,” Stanescu told The Sun. “I am happy to be a grandmother but I wished something else for Maria — and something else for me.”

Maria was originally pledged to another boy’s family when she was two years old, but “didn’t want that.” Two-year-old Ion has already been promised to an eight-year-old girl.

“Ion is a good boy — and he is already engaged to a girl aged eight," Stanescu reportedly said. "Boys are always good to have — they don’t have to suffer as much girls I think.”

Last month, the 29-year-old woman who is set to become Britain's youngest grandmother, Kelly John, told The News of the World that the prospect of her daughter becoming a teenage mum was her "worst nightmare."

John had her daughter Tia at 14 and Tia is now expecting her own child at the same age.

"My worst nightmare has always been that Tia would repeat my mistake and get pregnant young," John reportedly said. "[When I found out] I felt the color drain from my face and all I could do was cry."