So let me tell you all the story of how a skinny girl like me found herself purchasing Spanx. Believe it or not it all starts with my nemisis, Celiac Disease. When I gave birth to my daughter 12 years ago, I had to have an emergency C-Section. She was frank breech, which means her feet were tucked up to her head & her head was not pointing down . . . toward the natural exit. Unfortunately, although I had told my Ob-Gyn many times that I thought my baby had not turned he paid no attention. (Sigh. Typical experience.) I found myself fully in labor when he "discovered" what I had already told him & it was certainly no time to attempt trying to turn the baby. C-Sections all around!
I was a young mom though & my recovery from the major surgery was relatively easy, even quick. The years passed & the incision healed without any complications. Soon I could barely even make out the scar. Then I started to get ill with Celiac (still unknown to me). I often had an enormously distended, painful tummy. I even remember laughing through my discomfort with my husband & daughter one evening when we were first living in West Africa, because I literally looked like I was pregnant again. Soon after that, I had laparoscopic surgery for treatment of Endometriosis & chronic appendicitis. I noticed after that surgery that the right side of my C-section scar was a bit tender in a way it had not been since I had given birth, but I tried not to let it worry me.
Meanwhile, the Celiac worsened. This caused chronic, serious abdominal pressure & all that pressure pushed on the C-section scar, an area that had now been disturbed in a second surgery. This summer I noticed that a tiny bulge had appeared there & in September my doctor diagnosed me with an incisional hernia. Thanks for nothing Celiac!
Recently, the hernia has bothered me so I saw my doctor to talk about options for dealing with it, hopefully without surgery. This is what our conversation was like:
Doctor: "This is not a serious hernia & I don't advise you to have another surgery. How about you try to support the area to decrease irritation & inflammation?"
Me: "Okay. How do I do that?"
Doctor: "You wear a belt, but you are so small I don't think we can get one to fit you. Why don't you go to a maternity store & get one of those post C-section belts."
Me: "Um . . . okay."
I went to the store that evening with my 12 year old daughter & sheepishly told the sales lady that I was "very postpartum," but that my doctor had recommended this product. She showed me one & I bought it. At the register she offered me advice:
Sales Lady: "I had my C-section six months ago & I am still healing. Don't worry. You'll recover. How old is the baby?"
Me: (Suppressing a laugh.) "Uh . . . (pointing to my daughter) this is the baby. She's 12." (Internally my dialogue was, "Yeah, I'm 144 months postpartum." LOL!)
Sales Lady: (Looking very surprised.) "Oh! Okay. Well if this doesn't work for you, I really recommend Spanx. That might give you the support."
Me: "Okay, thanks." (Internally my dialogue was, "Do they even make Spanx for women like me? Where do you think I'm going to get a pair of super skinny Spanx girlfriend?" LOL!)
Well, I gave it a try, but the C-section belt didn't work, plus it made me feel totally silly. But I don't like to be in pain & I really want to avoid surgery . . . so I gave in & went to buy some Spanx. What. The. Hell.
I shopped around & got the smallest pair I could find & then tried to throw a few other needless items in my cart. I headed to the check out hoping the cashier wouldn't look at me, look at the Spanx & assume I had body dysmorphic disorder. I stood there wishing he'd check me out faster & thinking:
"I swear this is for medical purposes. I think Spanx are a totally legit thing for ladies to smooth out all the curves, but I fully realize I have no curves to smooth. You see, it's just the thing from the maternity store didn't work . . . no, I did not give birth recently, but I have this issue . . . " Ugh. I'm such a weirdo. Inside I completely felt like I had to justify my Spanx purchase & simultaneously be in solidarity with ladies who heart Spanx.
I took them home, then literally wrestled my way into them & gave it a whirl. Spanx are HORRIBLE. It felt like I had a rubberband around my middle. Apparently I got alot of butt lift (I unwittingly bought the tummy flattening/butt lifting pair & my husband thought the butt enhancement was hilarious), but the rest of me felt like a human sausage, a very tiny sausage, but a sausage all the same. It seemed like my circulation to my thighs might get cut off. The whole time I kept thinking, "How ridiculous do I look? How long will it take to peel these puppies off if I wanna' take a potty break? I wouldn't mind putting on some weight & maybe getting a little muffin top, but I think these things are squeezing any fat I do have in my mid-section up to my collar bones."
Sigh. In the end, Spanx neither worked for my hernia, nor made my small frame look more shapely. And wearing a maternity belt 12 years after giving birth didn't really do it either. I congratulated myself for trying anyway. I am working hard to figure out how to best care for myself, despite lots of unforeseen challenges. I'm trying to do it without hasty surgeries or poisonous medications. Sometimes . . . even skinny girls have to try Spanx.