“Ergggh,” I groaned as I grabbed the waistband of the unforgiving undergarment that was cinched around my belly. I gave it one last yank until it finally broke free of the roll of fat that was blocking its final destination above my hips. 

I looked in the mirror and assessed my body.  True, the area under the shapewear was smoother than the Botoxed forehead of a Real Housewife of New Jersey.  But all that fat that got pushed out of the way had to go somewhere, and as a result, I now had 2 sets of knees and 2 sets of breasts. Not exactly the look I was going for.

The irony was not lost on me that I was making the same sounds putting on the shapewear that I made giving birth to the children who caused the need for the shapewear in the first place.  Sometime between child number one and child number two, the formerly flat and firm parts of me transformed into bulging and squishy parts.  Although I was able to get some of me back to my pre-childbirth state, the parts that had grown to accommodate 40 pounds of baby weight just never found their way back to my pre-baby status.  To this day, I’m not sure why my butt and thighs got pregnant too, but nevertheless, the damage was done and the only ones who seemed to understand my dilemma were the people at Spanx. They were the only ones who grasped that unwanted baby fat starts at the ankles and goes up to the chin. Or chins, as the case may be.

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Although I was thrilled that those outside parts of me that swung precariously and threatened to knock down small children could be reigned in, naturally I was concerned that the inside parts of me were being redistributed in a potentially unhealthy way.  Was it bad if your spleen was temporarily relocated to your armpits or your liver shared space with your lungs? I really didn’t know.  But I assumed that I would be no worse for the wear for a couple of hours so I could get a smooth line and not look like a captive manatee under my dress. 

In the past I had found that Spanks that simply covered my midsection were generally sufficient to get the job done.  However, when the sales attendant zipped me within a half inch of my life into a body hugging floor length gown for a formal event I was attending, it was clear that more drastic measures were needed. While the front pleated gently across my body, the three-way mirror told another story.  The unpleated back was so rippled by bra bulges, love handles and other assorted speed bumps, that I looked like I was draped in shar pei. It was clear that nothing short of a full body Spanx would do to tame the bodacious beast beneath the fabric.

Fortunately for me, such a thing did, in fact exist.  And it only took half an hour, me and three sales attendants to stuff me into the darn thing.  When it was in place I held my breath because I was sure I wouldn’t be able to take another one for the rest of the evening.

“What do you think?” asked the first sales attendant finally as I gazed at my reflection in the three-way mirror.

“It looks good,” I exhaled briefly.

The three sales ladies sighed in relief. “So you’re all set for the ball?”

“Yes,” I replied.  “Just as long as I don’t ever have to use the bathroom.”