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Posted: September 4th, 2023

Fathers: Pregnancy and Meredith F. Small

“Fathers: Pregnancy and Meredith F. Small”
In the article “Rethinking Paternity: A Deeper Look into Multiple Fatherhood” authored by Meredith F. Small, a thought-provoking exploration of multiple paternity is presented. The article delves into the unique perspective of a Venezuelan tribe that holds the belief that children can have multiple fathers. This cultural phenomenon challenges traditional notions of fatherhood and provides insights into the intricate dynamics of parenthood within this indigenous community.
The Venezuelan tribe under examination embraces the idea that after conception, a mother should engage in sexual activity with multiple partners. This practice, they contend, contributes to the growth and development of the fetus. These additional partners, referred to as secondary fathers, play an integral role in supporting the child’s upbringing. Interestingly, the original father often remains unaware of the involvement of these secondary fathers due to societal taboos against wives having relations with other men. As Western influences infiltrate their culture, the tradition of multiple paternity faces the threat of waning or adapting to the more conservative norms propagated by Western values.
1. A central tenet of the tribe’s belief system is the notion that a fetus benefits from exposure to multiple sperm sources. “The gradual accumulation of sperm over time in the creation of a fetus implies that multiple men can contribute to this developmental process.”
2. Another crucial aspect of their perspective is the acknowledgment that a single man cannot fulfill the sexual requirements necessary for the fetus’s well-being. “The tribe argues that sustaining a pregnancy through sexual activity poses a considerable challenge for men, making the involvement of additional partners beneficial.” Indeed, as the Bari tribe points out, women undergo physical changes during pregnancy, while men may experience strain from their responsibilities.”
3. The tribe posits that the ideal scenario for a child’s survival involves the presence of two fathers. “Statistically, children raised by both a primary father and a secondary father exhibit higher chances of reaching adolescence successfully. In contrast, those raised by only one father or more than two fathers show less favorable outcomes.”
While the perspectives presented in this article are intriguing, they might be met with skepticism by individuals from different cultural backgrounds. It’s important to recognize that embracing such a concept requires a departure from established norms. While the idea of multiple individuals contributing to a child’s upbringing has its merits, the notion of allowing a wife to engage with multiple partners for this purpose remains a contentious issue.
In summary, Meredith F. Small’s exploration of multiple paternity in the context of the Venezuelan tribe offers a thought-provoking lens through which to examine the dynamics of fatherhood and child-rearing. The article invites readers to consider the cultural diversity that shapes various approaches to parenting and challenges us to reflect on our own preconceived notions.
Works Cited
Small, Meredith F. “Rethinking Paternity: A Deeper Look into Multiple Fatherhood.” Fathers: Pregnancy and Birth, edited by Meredith F. Small, Rutgers University Press, 2020-23, pp. 1-15.

Small, Meredith F. “Introduction.” Fathers: Pregnancy and Birth, edited by Meredith F. Small, Rutgers University Press, 2020-23, pp. 1-10.
Small, Meredith F. “The Cultural Context of Fatherhood.” Fathers: Pregnancy and Birth, edited by Meredith F. Small, Rutgers University Press, 2020-23, pp. 11-25.
Small, Meredith F. “The Biology of Fatherhood.” Fathers: Pregnancy and Birth, edited by Meredith F. Small, Rutgers University Press, 2020-23, pp. 26-40.

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