Having a child changes your life in so many ways. A tiny human who poos nine times a day is your responsibility forever and your vagina has turned into a human departure lounge.
What I also found however, was that it has given me a stomach that happily keeps said vagina warm 365 days a year, having destroyed any sense of muscle tone that was ever there.
I see people on You Tube with a stomach so contoured, it’s as though my child has performed a pencil shading session on them. There they are doing sit ups with their 7 year old and new born baby hanging off each arm in place of a dumb bell whilst wearing a thong, instead of the yogurt stained t-shirt and pyjama bottoms that I use as workout wear. What is also amazing is that they have no stomach hanging into their vagina or flapping them in the face every time they perform a jumping jack. All I have to do is roll over in bed and my stomach follows 3 weeks later whilst covering my face. And then I put on a dress for a special occasion and find said stomach isn’t flat like the You Tube person but instead resembles a horizontal camel – all lumpy and bumpy with water retention whilst also feeling the effects of the last seven years of doughnut eating.
So how does one turn this lump of skin that resembles unbaked bread into something as flat as an ironing board whilst still eating cakes and only lifting a glass of wine as exercise? And when liposuction isn’t an option due to not being a millionaire? Well my friends, this is when we enter the holy grail of control pants. Pull in pants. Suck in knickers. Whatever you want to call them but they are all the same thing – pants the size of potato sacks made out of doubled up magic fabric that pulls up stomach off the floor giving you the silhouette of a supermodel.
These magic pants come in quite the variety of styles – some look like big maternity knickers that pull up to under your boobs, some resemble your gran’s cycling shorts from when she attempted yoga and some are all over bodysuits making you look like an Egyptian mummy on the Atkins diet.
I have approximately 18 pairs of these pants in all of the above styles. Some claim to suck the stomach in whilst others claim to lift your bum high into the sky. Marvellous I hear you say – no need to chuck out the dress you bought when you were 16 as these wonders will make you fit into it, no problem.
We went to America the year before I fell pregnant. I look at photos now and wish I was now as fat as I thought I was then. But for the entire holiday, in the seeping heat, I wore suck-in pants. They were so tight that I found myself walking like a plank of wood and still couldn’t get into my jeans without laying in the bed and pulling the zip up with a coat hanger. When I eventually stood up , I found my lower gut was flat but that the pants had dragged all my excess skin up and made it splurge over the top of my jeans. Meaning I then wore a jumper to cover up the tyre residing around my waist.
One epic night, we went to a bar in Baltimore. Husband went to the loo while I attempted to climb on a bar stool. Except this didn’t go quite to plan. As I attempted to climb in the seat, I slid off. My pull in pants had mixed with sweat and turned me into a human oil slick and I couldn’t breathe enough to bend from my back to sit. Two college boys took pity on me and came and picked me up, one each side and plonked me in the seat. Husband returned from toilet looking very confused as to why his wife was covered in sweat with her arms around two 20 year olds with big muscles whilst laying straight on a stool. Then the burger arrived and I couldn’t swallow my food and the man shape said, “you’re wearing those bloody pants aren’t you?”. I nodded as much as you can when your circulation is almost cut off and he instructed me to go to the toilets and remove them.
He pushed me off the chair as I couldn’t get off it myself and I slid off , literally, to the loo. After much tugging, rolling the waist down , yanking one side and then the other times approximately 876 times , I emerged from the loo, my newly cut fringe curling from my extreme body heat and felt so full of joy at being able to breathe that I yelled “Baby, I got no cracker jacks on”. I ran back to the table and ordered a pint of Blue Moon and a double brownie, full of relief that I wasn’t cutting myself in half any longer.
We then went to a glamorous caravan park a couple of years ago, which was about as small as a tent. I went into the bathroom and attempted to take my control pants off and fell over in the tiny space that only Barbie could fit in. I banged my head on the shower and my little boy ran in with a potato gun firing shots of raw spuds at my head, laughing at me as I lay on the floor. I instructed him that now he was here , he had to help mummy get up as my hands were starting to tingle and the inability to breathe properly was making everything a bit blurry. It is most unfortunate when you have to rope your five year old into helping you out of a Lycra unipant.
I think my main issue with these bloody things is, they don’t melt the fat or send it away to space. It’s still there on your body – it just pushes it somewhere else. The pants that pull up to under your boobs, also increase your bra size by 3 cups as your stomach ends up spilling over the top of your bra and up to your neck. My boobs are already bigger than my head. Combine my stomach with them and it’s like a row of mountains has taken up camp on my chest. I could become a human national park.
So with control pants, stomach fat becomes back fat. Back fat then becomes neck fat. And control pants for necks to pull that fat in haven’t yet been invented. And if you wear the ones that masquerade as cycling shorts, they push your thigh fat to your knees. I might as well sellotape a bread roll to each knee and be done with it as they have a similar effect. A loss in one place is a gain in another.
And let’s it talk about how the full body ones give you fat where it doesn’t even exist – in your ARMPITS. Yes my stomach is having an airing but that’s because it’s hanging over the side of my bra strap, a foot up from where it usually is.
I also found it was impossible to go to the loo with them on. Since having a child, I have lost my capacity to hold any wee. It just comes whenever it likes and when the desperate urge hits you, you can’t just go to the loo and slip your knickers off and feel the light relief of a much-needed wee. No. With control pants, you need to roll the things down, which takes about an hour and then pull them back up again , which takes another hour. Imagine being on a date with your Tinder fella? Your quick nip to the loo which ends up lasting nearly an hour might make him think you have done a runner and make him sob into his cream of tomato soup.
This means I may have, one sorrowful day, decided to forgo pulling them down and just sat on the loo and weed through my pants. And let me tell you, I am not a lone ranger in this. I know others who have done the same. It’s actually then really disgusting to walk around in wet pants smelling of a urinal, so as soon as you pee through them, you make your excuses and go home and then hack at yourself with a pair of scissors to shred them off you. Oh thank God – as doctors have now said control pants can give you burny wee and thrush. Ouchy. Crushed organs , a hot fandango, and a potential walking yeast infection? No thank you. If I can’t even get the bloody things off, I don’t want my vagina being eaten alive.
You can get control pants where they have a specially made wee hole so you don’t have to perform a one woman get-out clause but I found I had to move the hole around to give the wee an escape route and ended up weeing all over my hands. And a blast of cold wind on a winter’s night on your nether regions isn’t fun.
And even worse than this? Attempting to get them off for a night of passion. Date night means you want to look like a supermodel so you spend all night unable to breathe, eat or drink so you can lure hubby to bed once you get home – once you’ve paid the baby sitter, changed the sheets where your kid has wet the bed and waited for the husband to do a poo. While he is doing that, you are enrolled in a game of bedroom aerobics that doesn’t involve a penis as you attempt to get the bloody things off.
There is nothing more romantic than your husband walking in to see you bent over the bed with your dress over your head brandishing a pair of kitchen scissors as you cut yourself out of a pair of knickers that cost 45 quid and have left your naked body with a sweat rash and lines all over you.
I’ve decided to no longer wear these man-made fat redistributers. From now on, I’m going to wear prom dresses forever and eat cakes and pretend that if I can’t see my stomach, it doesn’t actually exist. I can always use the leftover pants to make a tent or something when we go camping.
Control pants won’t be controlling this stomach any longer.
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Eve is 37, is mum to her son Joe who is 7 and in her proper job she does important government work whilst clad in pink stilettos and a rara skirt. A postpartum psychosis survivor, she is a mental health campaigner and blogger and can usually be found brewing homemade limoncello whilst drinking a double gin and bitter lemon.
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