carter, lu

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Annotated by:
Squier, Harriet
  • Date of entry: Oct-07-1997
  • Last revised: Aug-21-2006


A young woman with chronic pain associated with menses seeks sterilization, but the doctors refuse, saying it would be unethical to sterilize someone so young. Yet, this woman has known from a young age that she would not be a good parent, has little interest in ever being a parent, and feels that a parent should have ample time to be wonderful with children all the time. She simply feels she cannot take on this level of responsibility. Even though the doctor says she would have to live with her sterilization decision forever, she knows that the converse is true: having children is something she would have to live with forever, too.


This poem is a sharp look at the kinds of suppositions physicians have concerning women’s decisions for sterilization, and the ways that these suppositions impose values on women. The poem questions where the ethical issue really lies--in preventing a woman from having children, or in encouraging a woman who does not desire children to have them anyway, simply to fit a stereotype.

Primary Source

I Am Becoming the Woman I've Wanted


Papier Mache

Place Published

Watsonville, Calif.




Sandra Haldeman Martz