Alaina Caskran (24), Isla (3.5), and Sadie (14 months)
Photographed in Tampa, FL
Alaina shares -
"Being a young mom, it has been difficult not to fall victim to the expectation that I should "bounce back". I've had a terrible body image since I was 15, and "baby weight", and the way my body has changed and shifted, have certainly made that harder. But it has also given me a much greater appreciation for what my body is capable of.
I would tell 15 year old me not to listen to what I was being told about my body. That I was beautiful and not overweight. That it's more about being strong and taking care of your body than being skinny and hating yourself. That my worth was not determine by the scale of the number of calories I ate and burned in a day.
I struggled with an eating disorder from the time I was 15. It was actually my own mother who decided that I had put on too much weight after a break up and put me on a "diet". My caloric intake was strictly monitored and I was limited to only very low calorie foods, and sent to the gym to spend hours doing cardio to burn off even more calories. Then I was weight every week to see if I was "sticking to it". I was told my friends were embarrassed of me because I was heavy. At 142 lbs, she stood me in front of the mirror and I was told "If this is what you look like at 142, imagine what you'll look like at 150 lbs". I've gained 20lbs since then so it is incredibly difficult for me to see myself as beautiful when I was constantly told I wasn't beautiful 20lbs ago. I now have not one but two beautiful daughters and I now know that I need to learn how to love myself and think of body in a positive way if I'm going to teach my girls to love themselves. I think participating in this project will really allow me to see myself from another point of view, and give me the next confidence boost I need to continue to stop those self deprecating voices in my head and change them over to something positive and empowering."