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. Kaplan’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,” Kaplan 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. Kaplan’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. Kaplan 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.