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Time to Heal


Alice C. Bateman

My heart had been broken just once too often, and I needed time to heal, time to gather my own forces together and piece a whole woman from the parts of the puzzle lying on the floor around me.

This required solitude and courage, and solitude was a difficult thing to find in my busy household; one mother {myself}, two little boys under eighteen months old, two pre-pubescent girls, and one frequently-staying teenage nephew. 

My only peace and quiet came late in the evening, when all and sundry were safely tucked into their beds for the night.  Or more often, until one of the little boys woke me up again sometime during each night.

I was a mess, men had used and abused me too many times; the little boys’ father had not seen us since I was three months pregnant with the youngest boy, and had just up on me the last time I’d tried to contact him.  My self-esteem, after two solitary pregnancies and births thirteen months apart, with the accompanying hormonal, bodily and emotional changes, was at an all-time low.

I needed time to regroup and heal, time to find myself and nurture my self for a while.  The four children at home at the time are the youngest of seven; I’d already been divorced twice and never married to the little boys’ father, guilty of having two unwed children at the ages of forty and forty-one.  Something drastic needed to be done to lift myself out of the emotional morass I found myself in, so that I could continue to be the strong and supportive mother my children needed in a single-parent household.

One day I read on the Internet about a self-hypnosis technique designed to go into yourself and go back to meet your child self at different ages throughout your life, to see how she was doing at any given time, and to see if there was healing that needed to be done from childhood.

This struck a chord within me, and late that night, when the kids were asleep, I retreated to my bedroom, which I had made my own personal safety zone; I had a ‘magic lock’ on my door for when I needed time during the day, when the little boys were napping. 

In my room I had arranged my waterbed frame so that the shelves rested on the floor at the foot of the bed, allowing me to see my nightly candles reflected in the mirrored headboard.  Each night I would light incense and burn a candle, and this night was the same, but I put myself into a meditative state and began to inwardly go back in time to the little Alice I once was.

At ten, I found her in the school playground, agonizing as usual over the fact that none of the other kids seemed to like her, but I had learned later in life that this was based on religious prejudice because I was a Catholic in a large Protestant community, and had nothing to do with me personally.  I gave the young girl that was me a hug and reassured her that there was absolutely nothing wrong with her, that it was the kids around her that had the problem, and that there was no longer this kind of torment to us as an adult. 

I reassured her that we had grown tall and strong, and had children of our own now, and left her there in the school when she seemed to be fully satisfied that life would turn out all right for us.  The problems of the school grounds would end, and we would grow to be a strong and good woman and mother.

Encountering her at the age of five, I found the young Alice cuddling a kitten, frustrated with trying to watch over her baby brother, just learning to walk, and resenting the baby for the attention that had been taken from her, formerly the youngest of eight children. 

Again, I talked to this little person who used to me, giving her comfort and letting her know that she would grow up and have her own children, and that everyone in the family still loved her just as much, even though there was a new child in the household.  Content that she was reassured and comforted, I gave her a big hug and left her with her kitten, sitting on the lawn under the big pine tree that used to grow beside my childhood home.

Some instinct told me to continue going back into my own past, to my baby self.  When I did, I found the baby Alice alone in her crib, huddled against the end of it, afraid and crying.  I have no idea what had frightened her, because she couldn’t articulate it to me, but I sensed her fear so strongly that it was all I could do to try to calm her, and then give her a hug and leave her there, as the information I’d read about this process had instructed.  It broke my heart to have to leave her huddled in her crib in apparent misery.

All the next day, it bothered me terribly, the image of that little curly-haired baby girl afraid and alone in her crib.  That night, I repeated the process of regression, and, against the rules, went straight to the baby me, took her up from her crib, cuddled her and brought her with me.

The following afternoon, as I was resting in my room, I could feel the baby girl beginning to wonder what her new body was all about, how big it was, what she could do with it…  Suddenly, it was as if she stretched out to make use of my hand, and with my fingers folded in half to emulate baby fingers, she ‘walked’ my fingers over the width and breadth of my abdomen.  She was amazed at how big we were!  But thrilled at the same time – she no longer felt helpless and alone.  As the hours went by, she stretched and stretched until she reached the outer limits of my frame, and we became one integrated whole.

This helped me a great deal in my own personal growth and peace of mind.  I still have no idea what terror faced little Alice that day I encountered her in her crib, but I thank God for the strength that allowed me to go in and bring her with me!  This part of my own healing journey took me a long way on the path to being a more integrated and complete woman and mother.  The restoration of that smallest part of myself healed a deep rift within me that I hadn’t even known existed!

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