Author Cindy Kaplan’s ‘Freefall’ Shares Her Journey as a Mother Raising a Child With Special Needs

By Chris Olsen

When Cindy Kaplan’s second child suffered a brain injury during birth, the shock and despair of her new reality hit hard. Her expectations of who her daughter might become and the fantasies she’d had about mothering her felt as if they’d been yanked out from under her. Cindy’s reaction was to fall back on a role she’d long been familiar with—the responsible one, the one who would fix everything, the one who would somehow make everything “normal.”

In her memoir, “Freefall: One Mother’s Journey Raising a Child With Special Needs,” Cindy conveys her first days, months and years as a mother to her daughter with humility and honesty. As she struggles to navigate the uncertainty, she finds comfort in yoga, a practice she’d started years earlier during graduate school. Cindy’s life transforms as she embarks upon a journey to learn how to parent her differently abled daughter and become a yoga practitioner for children with special needs. Cindy shares how the process precipitated her own awakening and taught her the power of stillness, what acceptance truly means, and how to shift her own definition of parenting.

“Freefall” is for any parent who has a child with a disability, and it is also a book for any parent. It’s about understanding how expectations shape parents’ relationships with their children, and with themselves. It challenges the cultural belief that “typical” is ideal and illustrates the transformational shift that comes from letting go. It’s about finding strength in self-compassion and the beauty of experiencing life in the present moment.

A certified Conscious Parenting Coach, trained yoga practitioner for children with special needs, and former family therapist, Cindy has dedicated her career to helping individuals and families communicate, connect and grow. Twenty years ago, after her daughter suffered a brain injury at birth and was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, Cindy realized the cultural constraints parents often blindly follow. Over time, and with the practice of yoga, she discovered that parenting from a centered place enables parents to interact in ways that simultaneously support their own personal growth and the development of their children. Today, she guides parents in finding compassion, confidence and joy through her coaching practice and community.

Cindy lives in Newton, Massachusetts, with her daughter, Mira, youngest son, Micah, two dogs, and her husband, Marc Weisskopf, a professor at the Harvard School of Public Health. Her adult son, Noah, lives in Boston.

To learn more about Cindy’s business, visit cindykcoaching.com and follow @cindy.kaplan.parent.coach on Instagram.

Her book is available at Publish Her, Bookshop.org and Amazon.

Photo credit: Krista Guenin/Krista Photography

About the Author

Chris Olsen is a broadcast media veteran turned communications consultant, educator and the author of “Whyography: Building a Brand Fueled by Purpose.” The founder of Publish Her and Publish Her Story, Chris has helped thousands of women tell their stories and publish their books.

About Publish Her

Publish Her is a female-founded independent publisher dedicated to elevating the words, writing and stories of women. We are passionate about amplifying the voices of women of color, women with disabilities and members of the LGBTQ+ community. We aim to make publishing an attainable, exciting and collaborative process for all.

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