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How Not to Dress for a Wedding Three Weeks Postpartum

My sister in law got married on New Year's Eve, three weeks after our seventh baby was born.

If that sentence right there doesn't strike fear into your heart, then you will not understand the rest of this post and you are probably one of those people, and by people I mean aliens, who gains 18 pounds your entire pregnancy and complain about those pesky five pounds that are still hanging on at the six week postpartum check up.

Let's just say, I am not one of those. I gain between 40 and 50 pounds each pregnancy and for someone who is 5'1" that is not a pretty profile. I look something like a potato with feet.

Needless to say, it takes pert near a full year to shed all that weight, and going to a country club wedding three weeks after delivering a baby was going to present some wardrobe challenges, to say the least.

I was nursing a newborn for one thing, so I needed to consider that. I didn't think any of my stunning denim maternity wear would be appropriate so I figured I would need to buy something new for the occasion, but I hated to spend good money on an outfit that would hopefully be too big in no time at all.

That's when I had the genius idea to buy something that would be a touch on the snug side and wear it with the proper *foundation garment. That way, I would be able to wear the outfit as I slowly lost my baby weight. *(My mom used to call this a girdle, but "foundation garment" makes it sound so much more upscale, doesn't it? I think I shall purpose to use the word "garment" as much as possible this week.)

So I buy the smallest size skirt and top I think I can squeeze into and a teeny tiny rubber lined torture chamber foundation garment that looked like it might fit a six year old. I believe it was made of industrial strength rubber bands and bamboo.

In another stroke of genius, I never tried on said outfit until the weekend of the wedding.

Word to the wise: Never wait until the day of  an event to try on an outfit!

That undergarment was lined with rubbery strips which were meant to keep it in place. The thing is those strips made getting it in place a lengthy and arduous process.

It didn't help matters that during the half hour I was holed up in the bathroom trying to get that sucker on, my two year old wandered in and went from mesmerized to terrified with all the jumping and heaving and contorting I was going through that would have rivaled any Chinese acrobat.

By the time I got it on, I was sweating bullets and still wasn't completely dressed. The rest of the family was already waiting to get in the car, so I took a shallow breath, which was all the undergarment would allow and forged ahead with the skirt.

Have you ever tried to put on a skirt without bending from the waist? Very difficult. I don't recommend it at all if it can be avoided. That undergarment was so tight that I absolutely was incapable of bending over, so I finally decided to put the skirt on over my head. I hurriedly threw on the top and fanned myself, hoping the sweating would cease and desist, pronto!

When I got to the car everyone was waiting and I climbed in stiffly. I could see that sitting was going to be a challenge, so I went with the lounging posture. My husband looked at me skeptically and asked if I was okay. "Yes-sure-great-everything'sfine." I said, wide eyed and smiling a leeetle too widely.

During the wedding ceremony, I managed to actually sit fully erect, but it was the most miserable hour and a half I have ever spent, not counting those hours with my legs in the air with various strangers yelling "PUUUUSH!!!"

I was certain my ribs were perilously close to puncturing my left lung.

Oh! How I could not wait to get home and rip off those clothes so I could throw on my trusty old maternity standbys.

Little did I know I was not through paying for my vanity. That undergarment was not giving up its hold on me without a fight. Remember the rubbery strips? That thing took on a life of its own and veritably clung to me like a parasite clings to its host.

For a moment I panicked and wondered what I would do if I couldn't get the thing off. Would I have to call for assistance and a sharp pair of scissors? Oh no! Not if I could help it! I refused to let the undergarment get the best of me and with one mighty tug and some Lamaze breathing techniques, I finally loosed that stubborn garment from my person and breathlessly vowed to never again let my vanity bring me so close to utter embarrassment and a team undressing event.

And that is the end of this tragic and dangerous "buy it too small and hope you can squeeze into it" story.

Don't let this happen to you, friends. Dress safely.

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  1. What? No pictures!?!?

    Just reading this makes my ribs hurt, lol!!

  2. Lora Lynn @ Vitafamiliae says:

    Ah, yes, the "foundation." That's what they call it in the bridal stores, too, so brides can squeeze into their dresses when the stress makes them eat too many Little Debbies before their big day. :-)

    I hate those things. And the rubber on there? Taken out way too many leg hairs that way.

  3. Oooch. Memories of struggling my way out of a nursing bra three days post-partum are flooding through my mind. Ugh. I could hardly breathe as I read your struggle.

    And seriously, the main thing that stuck in my mind is 5'1". You are teeeeeny. My sister in law is 5'1" as well.

  4. I agree–no pictures? :)

    I am not one of "those people" and right now being 2 weeks post-partum, I can so relate to not wanting to dress up to go anywhere!!

  5. And why do they think rubber is the key to making it stay in place? Don't the unwanted rolls and such just keep it there? You are funny! I love your wit!

  6. You know those email stories that get passed around and make you laugh so hard you cry? Well, this reminded me of one – I'm still cracking up!

  7. RaisingOlives says:

    "…not counting those hours with my legs in the air with various strangers yelling "PUUUUSH!!!"

    Really LOL and I RARELY LOL. I'm more of a smiler. There is not much that is more uncomfortable than that!

    Thanks for the laugh Connie.


  8. That's what I was thinking, Connie. Pictures! I need graphics! :)

  9. Smockity Frocks says:

    Okay, you people are going to be sorry. I'm going to dig out a picture. Shield your eyes…

  10. Dana~Are We There Yet? says:

    Words to the wise, my friend. Words to the wise. Thank you for saving us from ourselves. I'm just hoping to live long enough to see the muumuu become a fashion staple.

  11. Mrs. Huse Clifton says:

    Yup I know that story al to well.

  12. OK–that is a great phrase. Foundation garments. THAT'S what I wear under my skirt every Sunday. But not the kind you described. Yikes.

    Imagine the age of the corset! I honestly don't know how women did it.

  13. been there. done that. and decided I'd rather be flabby.

  14. Heather L says:

    LLLOOLLL! That was the most relistic telling of a foundation garment I have ever read! After having 5 kids I know that post partum 3 weeks the tummy wasn't helping either, they get all doughy about then and have only a playdough aquished shape. LOL I hope those pesky pounds runn for the hills and fast!
    God bless
    Heather L

  15. Ohh, I'm laughing so hard. I remember being determined to slip on my pre-pregnancy jeans soon after my first was born. I seriously thought I was going to have to call Scott home from work to get them off!!

  16. mamazee says:

    so… did it work? did you look beautiful? this made me want a "foundation garment" :) – just to see, if after seven children, i too could have a firm, smooth midsection :) LOL! soooo tempted, and even your hilarious story didn't sway me… But we only have a walmart and a mark's work wearhouse in town so no foundation undergarments to be bought for love nor money… sigh…

  17. TammyIsBlessed says:

    Pictures would definitely complete this post! Thanks for giving me a laugh :)

  18. This made me giggle and giggle as I recall I have done the same thing after having a baby! I love how you wrote this…exactly as we all feel in those moments!

  19. Oh my! ROFLMBO!!!! I so need a picture though. 😉

  20. The Happy Housewife says:

    I am laughing so hard! The funniest thing is that I bought one of those foundation garments for BlogHer. Unlike you, I decided to try it on before I went (with the tags attached, just in case). My big mistake was trying it on in my bedroom, with my husband looking on. After about 15 minutes of me heaving myself around trying to squeeze my thighs into the rubber band lined spandex torture device he looked over at me and said… "Is this your new form of birth control?"
    I about died. I would have loved to run away but I couldn't and decided that these were not for me! After taking another 15 minutes to remove the device I put it back in the bag where it still sits waiting to be returned…

  21. Raising Arrows says:

    Oh my! I think I own the exact same "foundation garment"! I hate the thing, but w/ the huge muscle split I have after 6 kiddos…well, let's just say I NEED it.

    Great story!

  22. "Dress safely"

    Bwahahahaha! I think I just found my new favorite phrase!

    (and I'm 2.5 years post partum and still haven't lost it all!)

  23. I laughed so hard I was almost in tears, thank you for sharing. I totally see your logic it made perfect sense. Why try it on before, you were still loosing baby weight and nursing so the pounds would have been coming off.

  24. I am 4 foot 11 inches. . .I know exactly how you feel. . .and they do not make clothes for us do they? I have huge boobs (38K) and a fairly small waist and big hips. I have been losing weight and now am wearing a 38J bra, but really need a 36K…..have you ever seen a 36K????? LOL I am going to take darts in the 36K’s.
    I keep telling my husband that I am going to get my boobs made smaller. He says a DD would be OK. I keep telling him that if I do it. . .I will make them a B or C at the largest. . .you should have seen his eyes the first time I said that. Priceless.

  25. AH!!! Man! Where’s the pics?

    My wardrobe is a daily fashion disaster. I lost all fashion sense and good hair somewhere about the same time I put on the hospital gown to deliver my first born.

    How ’bout this…. I had ‘the baby’ (sounds so much better than preschooler since that makes it obvious it’s not baby weight but just ..WEIGHT!…) and since she was born I have worn only my husband’s shirts as all of mine, even the new ones, are not made for short busty women. I’m 5 1 too and I’d have to see your potato and raise you one spud. And, since I’m no longer nursing I really have no use for a nursing bra but I’m still wearing them because it’s too depressing to wrestle the girls into submission. So…hubby’s shirts, flip flops, and ok…this is bad…I just realized I have Bens boxers on and I’ve been wearing them all day. I did just buy a pair of crocs a few days ago as my middle said, “Honey…your shoes are really old and well…they look like they should be thrown away.” She’s 9 and giving me fashion advice.

    But, the best fashion disaster? My girls like doing hair…especially mine. So about everyday I end up with a migraine because I’ve an almost 3 year old and a 9 year old doing my hair. A little over 2 weeks ago the girls were doing my hair and Ben hollers out ‘let’s go!’ I realize Sunshine is still naked so I grab her up and we rush to get dressed. Now you’d think as I was combing her hair and putting it up into a pony I’d remember my own hair…but nope!

    I take her outside after getting our shoes on and away we go to run errands. About 3 hours later after a trip to Walmart, Krogers, Health Foods Unlimited, gas station where I ran in to get something to drink and a stop at the post office to pick up a package we come home. As I’m walking past the armoire I see my reflection. The girls had my hair twisted up in braids, bright clips/bands and stretchy things like a crown on my head.

    I asked Ben why he didn’t say anything and he said…I thought you were just wearing it since the girls did it. A few things I learned….1. The putting kids first thing….it may be going too far 😉 2.I’m really oblivious to my appearance and 3. What’s the world coming to when no one bats an eye at a rainbow of junk and hair on top of a persons head?


  26. I laughed so hard at reading this, that I had to leave a comment. My favorite part was when you “went with the lounging posture.” Whew, I am going to be thinking of this story all day. Thanks!

  27. I call those foundation garments “structual engineering”.

    Great story!

  28. Heather says:

    Oh. My. Goodness. Too funny! Even the comments had me laughing waaaay out loud! My sister-in-law got married 6-months after our baby was born and I wore a maternity dress because none of my “real” clothes would fit. And used the baby as an accessory/shield to hide my big old tummy :) LOL Alas, my plot was foiled when another young relative (who’s got the figure of Kate Moss) said she almost bought a dress just like it a few days before, so of course my eyes got super huge and I was all like, you better not have–it’s a maternity dress!!

  29. Oh Good Lord!! How funny! I once had a friend who did the whole “foundation garment” and control top pantyhose. She said she popped open like a can of biscuits when she tried to take it all off…..haha!

  30. Oh my word, you tell the story so well. I can SO relate.

    I’ve gained some pounds over the years and at 5’2″, I totally get the potato shape comment. I needed to dress up to go to a fancy work banquet with my husband and thought a foundation garment would help me not to feel so frumpy.

    Yes, getting it on was embarrassing. Even harder was getting it off since I was all sweaty and wondering if the rubber elastic really going to cut my legs apart from the rest of me. But you want to know the worst?

    *blushing* I had to go to the bathroom during the banquet. With that foundation garment mashing my tummy, there was no waiting to get back up to our room. So I went in to the ladies room. Unsnapping was no easy task. Snapping things back up? Almost impossible!

    I must have been in there forever weighing my options: just leave it unsnapped and hope it doesn’t conspicuously roll up and show out the top of my skirt, keep working on trying to get it snapped (at least one snap) Just imagine how quietly I was trying to maneuver, holding my breath and trying not to grunt and groan from within that stall. Or just take the whole thing off, throw on my jacket and tell husband that we have GOT to go. Oops, only problem was that said fancy outfit didn’t have pockets and I hadn’t brought a purse.

    Never again, I say, never again!

  31. I tried something like that once, back when I was young and far more vain. My foundation garment actually rolled down to my middle making me look like I was smuggling an inner tube. It looked far worse then my fat!

  32. Charlene Carter says:

    Oprah told one time that she wore a full body under garment suit and would not be without one.

  33. I never had that problem-probably becasue I have never been pregnant. Of course after Christmas eating it’s always a challenge to fit into some of my slimmer clothes. Can’t say no to chocolate chip cookies!

  34. Lindsey Swinborne says:

    This sort of thing happened to my mom. She is normally a size 12. She went into a thrift store quickly after school to find an ugly prom dress for a Tacky Dress Tea Party at her church the following weekend. The clerk showed her a bright, neon orange number with rhinestones. She said it looked a bit small but they looked at the tag, which mistakenly said 10 and she figured it would probably fit. Little did she know she was actually squeezing into a size 2 (based on later checks of the actual fabric tag on the dress). Once she got it zipped up, she COULD NOT FOR THE LIFE OF HER get it off! She struggled and sweated and banged around in that lil’ thrift shop dressing room something fierce. She checked the clock and began to panic. She was due for a parent/teacher conference back at the Christian School where she works. She tried and tried to get it off, but it would not budge. So she begged the clerk to come in with a pair of scissors and they cut the dress off and she bought it for $3 and gave it to me to let my daughter wear it for a dress-up. The thing was so ugly and sooooo weird that we just threw it away!

  35. I don’t think I actually have one of those things… I did buy a kind of foundation something at Wal-Mart to wear under my wedding dress–just to smooth things a bit. Then I actually weighed 5 pounds too little before the wedding and hoped the garment would fill the slack! What I have noticed, though, is that most of those tight undergarments (I’m thinking specifically of control top pantyhose here) just redistribute the fat around. So if I wear it around my hips, it pushes the baby fat up above my waist, filling in the waist that I have and making me look fatter than I am–or think I am. If I just wear a skirt that fits comfortably at the waist, the fat stays down below it, and I can use a top with a nice shape to give the illusion of slender. That’s my approach, and I’m sticking to it.

    I will say, though, that if you have to attend a wedding, do it 3 weeks before your due date instead of 3 weeks postpartum! I did. I got to wear this cute maternity maxi dress, modified with a sewn-in dickie for modesty, and I looked fabulous. Funny thing was, I was sister of the bride, so I got seated first. But my son, who was the Bible boy, didn’t want to walk down the aisle alone (even the promise of allergy-free jelly beans wouldn’t convince him to do it), and Daddy was a groomsman, so he had to go before him. So I got up watch him and walk down with him a little while after being seated. During the reception, I got several comments that people thought I was leaving because I was going into labor! Until they saw me a few minutes later walking the Bible boy down the aisle! That was a hoot!

  36. Oh. My. Word. That was hilarious!!!!!

    I do not know how all of you gals managed to get said “foundation garment” on…I couldn’t get it past my thighs and rear! 😉

  37. Oh, man! This brings back terrible memories of an incident where I thought a strategically placed safety pin and a cardigan would make a dress with a slightly too low neckline work for a wedding. Let’s just say I was nursing at the time, and some of my anatomy was more prominent than it is under normal circumstances. It worked great standing up straight looking in the mirror…not so much for chasing a two year old, with a baby on your hip. Why didn’t I just go get a new dress!?

  38. Seriously THE funniest thing I’ve read in a long time. I’m sitting at my daughter’s work (waiting for her to clock out) and trying to contain my laughter. It’s not working very well.

    I experienced something very similar this week. Stripping my “foundation garment” off in the driver’s seat in a dark parking lot was quite an experience. Thanks for letting me know I’m not the only one!!

  39. I was really waiting for you to say you had to try and pry that contraption of a outfit off in the middle of the ceremony to breast feed. I’ve been there, done that. It’s awful. Thanks for the laughs. Keep it up.

  40. I was waiting for your need to visit the restroom arise…let’s just say I was there last year at my husbands Christmas party, and yet another time (I don’t remember the occasion), but lets just say those little ‘bra’ hooks down there are not the easiest things to fasten when you are already stuffed like a sausage into the darn thing!!


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